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Thread: anealing and tempering metal for a knife

  1. #1
    Ron is offline

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    anealing and tempering metal for a knife

    I'm looking for information as to annealing, shaping then tempering a circular saw blade the will become a leather working circular knife like one I saw here a couple weeks ago. Thanks in advance. Ron Frost

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  2. #2

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    Jan 2015
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    Just search the google machine and youtube. TONS of good info.

    Some tips from my experience.

    Really try and find out what kind of steel you have, will help alot. Get yourself some MAP gas, the stuff in the yellow bottle, if you do not have a cutting torch setup already. Try not to get the steel too hot when shaping it, I used my plasma to cut my blanks and this was too hot. I could give you a full step by step but there's a thousand of those out there already and you'll develop your own method as you go, if your first blade is a good one, then you are already better than most people. It is a bit tricky.

  3. #3
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    Eagle_view's Tools
    I have used a circular saw blade for this type of knife also. I used a well used (dull) high speed steel saw blade without and carbide tips. I drew the temper from the whole blade by heating it in a charcoal fire with a blower pipe in the center hooked to a small vacuum cleaner in the blow mode. I put a damper in a connection pipe so I could control the flow of air and therefore the temp of the fire. I heated the blade to a bright orange and then buried it in a bucket of old sandblast sand that we had not dumped yet. I put about 4" of sand in a plastic 5 gallon bucket and as soon as I dropped the hot blade in flat on the sand, I poured another 4" of sand on top of it and let it cool all night. Taking it out of the sand the next morning, I was able to easily file it and cut it with a hacksaw to shape. I filed my bevels on the edge and polished the blade before coating it with Dial soap as a paste to keep the surface from oxidizing. While the soap dried on the round knife I fired up the home made forge again and opened the 5 gallon bucket of waste oil. I covered the firebox of the forge with firebrick to make an oven like opening. I evenly heated the blade to a bright red through and through, I picked out the blade with a pair of vise grips with a welding glove covered hand. I Rapidly dunked the blade in the oil and kept it moving through the oil until it was no longer smoking when I lifted it out of the oil. I then left the blade in the oil until I could handle it comfortably with my bare hands. I cleaned the soap of the blade and shined it up until it was what I refer to as white bare metal. Taking a hand held propane torch, I started heating the handle end of the blade while holding it with the vise grips. You can watch the temper colors run ahead of the flame. I follow the dark almost black color into the actual blade and then sweep the torch back and forth on the back of the blade staying way from the outside points of the cutting edge. I look for a dark straw color starting to turn purple to hit the edge at the same time (that's the tricky part of this process) then dunk it into the oil again. This will give you a strong but flexible handle and back edge and a cutting edge that may be a little tough to sharpen but will hold an edge for quite a while. After removing the blade from the tempering oil an clean and polish again. Then I rivet two slabs of hardwood to the handle and shape that down with a belt sander until this is comfortable in the cutting positions. You might want to make more of these knives of different sizes and you may find one very handy in the kitchen too.

    Good Luck


  4. #4
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    Great post, Eagle_view! This will help not just Ron but other members as well.

  5. #5
    Supporting Member Moby Duck's Avatar
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    Moby Duck's Tools
    Eagles method is how I would do it. You can also anneal saw blades or files in a fire. Place it in a fire and leave it to cool in the ashes overnight. Some do the fire outside and when the steel reaches cherry red, bury the fire with earth. When cool it will be workable with hand tools. The important thing here is to cool the blade slowly. Or just buy a $10 Ulu, probably made in China but the one I have as a kitchen knife is made from 440c and holds an edge very well.

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