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Thread: Tempering help for a new starter

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    Tempering help for a new starter

    Hi all. I am just starting out. I have been blacksmithing for a while, just hobby level, charcoal fired. I am used to tempering anything by watching the colour change, and stopping it where I want.
    Now, I am moving, and setting up a new workshop, making my own gas fired forge, and plan to do a bit of blade work. All the youtube videos show tempering via a small oven. I can find the temperatures and times on the net easily enough.
    So my questions are:
    1. what does everyone recommend
    2. is a cheap toaster oven stable enough
    3. will I need to calibrate it, I have an IR thermometer if needed.

    Cheers, Glen

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    I got a fan forced toaster oven. I got it from the God Guys at least five years ago. You will need a reliable thermometer, the numbers on the toaster oven are only an optimistic wild arse guess, on their best days. You may not get the stability that you can get with one of the Gameco furnaces, but I have noticed only a small temperature swing while tempering knives (and setting cactus juice, and setting coatings on bullets, etc.). All in all, I think that at the very least, a reasonable toaster oven with a good thermometer, is always going to be better than a forge using a mark one eye-ometer.

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    Knifemaker Tarrabah's Avatar
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    Being self taught before the interweb, I committed the 3 whole paragraphs on heat treating in the Blacksmith book to memory, for the first few years, I used Blacksmith tempering on my blades, which sounds like what you're doing ie. polish the hardened blade, and reheat sections and watch for the colour change to achieve the right temper.

    Nothing wrong with that for plain high carbon or spring steel blades, that's how it was done for centuries, after I'd been making for a few years, and reading in the US knife magazines, I bought a small toaster oven from the local market, and along with another thermometer inside, plus lots and lots of destructive testing, I settled on a recipe I was happy with, that toaster oven died a few years ago, so being the tight arse I am, I just use the oven in the kitchen, with some spare thermo's inside, I take an average of the readings(same on my quench tank, I use two digital thermos, no real reason...ocd maybe.

    Best thing I can suggest is, which ever tempering(or any process) you choose, test your finished blades after any changes, this will help you learn what works and what doesn't, rather than hearing about it, something I always thought was obvious, was destructive testing, whenever I try a new HT recipe or new steel type, I destroy the blade, I do have some method to my madness, I go through the same routine each time, and have done since I started, not real scientific, but, if anyone ever brings a buggered blade back to me, I'll have a damn good idea of what it took to bugger it.

    Good luck, and welcome to ABF,

    Scott.
    Last edited by Tarrabah; 21-09-2018 at 16:20.

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    Thanks Scott. I just picked up a small oven pretty cheaply and I really like the idea of destructive testing to get an empirical idea of a particular steel and HT. I can see myself spending a bit of reading on this site. Thanks for the welcome too.

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    Knifemaker Tarrabah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor62 View Post
    Thanks Scott. I just picked up a small oven pretty cheaply and I really like the idea of destructive testing to get an empirical idea of a particular steel and HT. I can see myself spending a bit of reading on this site. Thanks for the welcome too.
    No worries, here's some 3V destruction https://www.australianbladeforums.co...aiken-wip.html

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