WTB a heat treating oven

Goot

Active Member
I'm a new knife maker with a limited budget working with a two brick forge. My 1x30 is hanging in there, so instead of saving for the 2x72, I'd really prefer to buy a used 110v heat treating oven. If anyone out there is looking to upgrade their shop and sell an old oven, please let me know.
 

Goot

Active Member
Lol I hear ya bro. I'm basically lacking everything, but I'm doing good work currently with the grinding tool I have. It certainly isn't a long term solution, and I agree with you. But as my other post shows, I'm not doing good work with my heating setup. Gotta fix one thing at a time.

I plan on picking up a 2x72 soon. Just need to find one with a low profile, like a KMG, but doesn't break the bank. I have limited space in my shop and a certain height clearance I need to adhere to.

And sending knives out during the covid slowdown is painstaking.
 

latticino

Member
If you are handy, and on a budget, it isn't too difficult to turn an old enameling kiln or dental oven (though these may be 220V) into a heat treating oven. You can even add a PID controller, though for rough and ready you can certainly do without for simple steels. Keep an eye out on Craig's List and the like.
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
Reconsider the H/T oven, the 2x72 will be a better investment. I built knives for 4 years before buying a H/T oven and for simple 1 off builds of Hi-Carbon steels I still use my 1 Brick propane forge to do the H/T! I started having customers wanting SS knives that and going for my ABS JS endorsement is what really prompted me to invest in the oven. Keep an eye out on Craigslist for a used one also, there are a lot of tutorials on the Web on building your own too. Don't know how "HANDY" you are? An option I considered was an old pottery kiln (Look at the Jenn-Ken oven). I see these pottery kilns regularly come up on Craigslist really cheap or even free. Some new wiring a PID, will get you a super inexpensive H/T oven. Problem is they are usually good size and wiring demands can be hi!
 
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Goot

Active Member
Reconsider the H/T oven, the 2x72 will be a better investment. I built knives for 4 years before buying a H/T oven and for simple 1 off builds of Hi-Carbon steels I still use my 1 Brick propane forge to do the H/T! I started having customers wanting SS knives that and going for my ABS JS endorsement is what really prompted me to invest in the oven. Keep an eye out on Craigslist for a used one also, there are a lot of tutorials on the Web on building your own too. Don't know how "HANDY" you are? An option I considered was an old pottery kiln (Look at the Jenn-Ken oven). I see these pottery kilns regularly come up on Craigslist really cheap or even free. Some new wiring a PID, will get you a super inexpensive H/T oven. Problem is they are usually good size and wiring demands can be hi!
Thanks for your reply. After making the initial post, I have been going back and forth quite a bit. I was about to buy an Ameribrade, actually. As far as the heat treat goes, I just don't have a lot of confidence in the overall hardness when using such rudimentary equipment like a MAPP torch forge, canola, and a toaster oven. I've always leaned more towards being data-driven and precise with my work, so it bugs me when I give a knife to someone and then provide an iffy reply about the hardness.
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
Thanks for your reply. After making the initial post, I have been going back and forth quite a bit. I was about to buy an Ameribrade, actually. As far as the heat treat goes, I just don't have a lot of confidence in the overall hardness when using such rudimentary equipment like a MAPP torch forge, canola, and a toaster oven. I've always leaned more towards being data-driven and precise with my work, so it bugs me when I give a knife to someone and then provide an iffy reply about the hardness.

You and I both. Consider some Rockwell files. They won't give you an exact number but it will give you a range. Then you can play with your heat treat to get the result you want. And they are under $100.00.
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
Certainly you know what you want, so if you feel you want an oven then go for it. But I'll be another in a long line of saying this: for a guy trying to build out a good shop the oven is about the last thing I'd buy. I really mean that- the very last thing I'd buy. I know sending knives out is a little bit of a pain, but an oven does one thing and one thing only... get hot. A grinder makes money. A good 2x72 will PAY for everything you want. You can send knives anywhere to get heat treated, and you only need to send them out if you're using high alloy steels. A $250 Atlas forge will heat treat simple steels as good as anything else, and you can forge with it.

Not to beat a dead horse, but buying a small, cheap oven is a gigantic waste of money. If you're going to get an oven, get the one oven you'll ever need. Abandon any notions of "working your way up" in knife making. That's a just a different way of saying "I think I'll buy everything two or three times, because I don't have money." It's not rational at all when you think about it in the long term. The mantra that you'll hear from experienced makers is BUY ONCE, CRY ONCE. You will be years and money ahead if you heed that advice. Nobody gets into knifemaking because they're rolling in dough. (Ironically, because it's crazy expensive to start) Most of us started on an absolute shoestring budget and embezzled money from the family bank account on the down low for a couple years until we got the knife gig to become self-sufficient. Trust me when I say we all feel your pain when we recommend spending a pile of money on something.
 
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Goot

Active Member
Certainly you know what you want, so if you feel you want an oven then go for it. But I'll be another in a long line of saying this: for a guy trying to build out a good shop the oven is about the last thing I'd buy. I really mean that- the very last thing I'd buy. I know sending knives out is a little bit of a pain, but an oven does one thing and one thing only... get hot. A grinder makes money. A good 2x72 will PAY for everything you want. You can send knives anywhere to get heat treated, and you only need to send them out if you're using high alloy steels. A $250 Atlas forge will heat treat simple steels as good as anything else, and you can forge with it.

Not to beat a dead horse, but buying a small, cheap oven is a gigantic waste of money. If you're going to get an oven, get the one oven you'll ever need. Abandon any notions of "working your way up" in knife making. That's a just a different way of saying "I think I'll buy everything two or three times, because I don't have money." It's not rational at all when you think about it in the long term. The mantra that you'll hear from experienced makers is BUY ONCE, CRY ONCE. You will be years and money ahead if you heed that advice. Nobody gets into knifemaking because they're rolling in dough. (Ironically, because it's crazy expensive to start) Most of us started on an absolute shoestring budget and embezzled money from the family bank account on the down low for a couple years until we got the knife gig to become self-sufficient. Trust me when I say we all feel your pain when we recommend spending a pile of money on something.
You bring up a lot of good points and the previous suggestion of getting a hardness test kit makes me feel a bit better about leaving the oven until the end. Thank you very much for the feedback. Good thing it's tax return season!
 

latticino

Member
Well, I'm not sure I'd call it a "gigantic" waste of money to get a small oven. I paid $50 for the used enameling kiln I bought from a fellow student (though admittedly that was some years ago). Then I built my own larger one with a used programmable PID, some kiln elements I got from a kiln that was being scrapped, cheap ceramic board insulation and a mercury contactor that got from a liquidator for under $100 total cost. I agree that it is more than possible to heat treat simple steels in a forge and will do it myself when I have a blade that doesn't fit in my oven.

Still, if you have the funds by all means get a new unit with a programmable controller, SSR and argon purge. Someday I hope to upgrade to one like that also. I agree with the others that a good 2 x 72 is much more needed.
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
Latticino makes an excellent point. You can save a lot of money building equipment and finding great deals on used equipment. No doubt. My point was meant to say that it’s money wasted to buy something that doesn’t actually suit your needs. For example, if your goal is to make big kitchen knives and bowies, don’t buy an oven that you can only fit small blades into just because that’s all you can afford right now. Don’t buy an 8” drill press just to discover it doesn’t have enough power. In short, don’t buy anything that you already plan to replace later before you’ve even bought it.
 
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