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proper heat treatment

Chris Cramer

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Vendor
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I just purchased a plate of elmax stainless steel that I plan to make into a good meat cleaver. I had no trouble cutting it with my plasma table and shaping the rest with a grinder, only I'm not very confident attempting to harden it with my propane forge as the uneven heat would most likely ruin the blade. I want to find a place in Calgary that could heat treat the blade so I can get the most out of the steels high properties. I tried contacting Alberta basic heat treatment, but they told me they would not be able to do it, because it required a temperature up to 1920 F. Would there be another place in Calgary that offers heat treatment for non commercial customers?
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Chris, this bladesmith fellow (Sundre area) heat treated the A2 cam plates on my radial engine. He was very knowledgeable & did a great job for reasonable price. I never visited his shop, I just mailed them & he mailed them back. But that was in 2018. I recall his name was Rob. The home/shop address looks about right but when looked online I wonder if something has changed because he references knifemaker.ca which is out of BC. Anyways his ph# is there & looks like he is still taking business. The website looks a bit simple but I don't judge the book by the cover LOL. I'd be surprised if he couldn't guide you on materials. From what little I've learned on blade heat treating, its kind of niche knowledge. Especially challenging is typical shape factor f blades (warping potential). He had molten salt bath & all that good stuff. Let us know if it works out.
https://heattreat.ca/index.php/shop/

https://heattreat.ca/
We grew from Canadian Knifemaker Supply. http://www.knifemaker.ca which continues to serve the supply and machinery needs of custom knife makers across Canada. The heat treat part of the business – being rather technical was spun off on it’s own. We’ve been heat treating blades for something like 17 years – carbon steel – tool steel and martensitic stainless blade steel. Computerized Kilns – Heavy Quench Plates – Cryogenics – Rockwell Testing.
 
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Chris Cramer

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Vendor
Premium Member
Thanks, for the information. It does look like this company that has come from canadian knife making supplies is a good choice for accurate heat treatment.
However I'm beginning to question whether I should bother doing this anymore, because I finished the knife. It still has a removable handle made of marcita so it is still an option; but it already holds a very sharp edge with quite a bit of durability. The intended purpose is only for cutting meat, so a higher Rockwell hardness may not be necessary.
 

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PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Recognize I'm no bladesmith but it might be worth a discussion with him. The first issue is whether your choice of material lends itself to heat treating and to what degree. For example if its lower in carbon, there may only be so much hardening it can achieve with conventional heat/quench/temper. I think there are ways to add carbon to localized area for hardness gain, but I think that process is more for wear parts. It has shallow penetration & probably not suitable for an edge that will be resharpened, thus exposing softer core again. Generally strength is also increased with HT but again a function of material & HT process.

I bought one of those basic How-to books on blade making & they kind of walk you through the blade material choices but as I recall always assumes some kind of heat treating. I think Rob even sells steel blanks so might be a good connection for your next project. Start out with a specific material, develop your blade & get him to do the HT. I think that's essentially his business. I would actually like to make a knife one day myself just for kicks, but I think a belt grinder would be in order.

I heard that the Reynolds museum in Wetaskwin is planning to open again if the pandemic trajectory continues to behave itself & they are planning their fall (Sep/Oct?) show. If its the same format as prior years they have some metal artisans show up in table booths. Some knifemakes show their goods & others use it as a business exposure. I chatted a few guys & even among the makers, many did not have their own HT facilities. They outsource & just factor expense it into the price. HT is a specialized field & can be spendy depending on how much you do, accuracy, consistency etc.
 

Chris Cramer

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Vendor
Premium Member
I decided to purchase an evenheat kiln for heat treatment. After working with elmax, nitro v, and S35vn stainless steels I've come to appreciate the benefits of these added elements, and I feel it would definitely payoff to learn to do the heat treatment myself.
I finished making a survival knife with nitro v stainless steel and etched it with ferric chloride.
 

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PeterT

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Premium Member
WooHoo! So I don't know any of these alloys, are they liquid or air quench? Are you foil wrapping your blades during HT or? Which model Evenheat did you get & where did you find best price/delivery?
 

Chris Cramer

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Vendor
Premium Member
I decided to bite the bullet and purchase an LB 22" with a SS relay and a tap controller for the long run. The elmax and nitro v alloys need to be wrapped, and both can be plate quenched, or oil quenched; but plate quenching is recommended to prevent warp. Both those alloys have excellent edge retention and toughness as well as high corrosion resistance.
 
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cuslog

Super User
Premium Member
Just curious;
I've done a bit of my own "seat of the pants" fire brick / tiger torch heat treating / tempering. Got the stuff hard but a terrible amount of scale. I've thought about buying or building a heat treat oven - I've wondered about purging with Argon - practical ?, prevent scale ?
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
I'm interested in this too. Its been a while since I was lurking on some blade forums but I've read where some people have installed inert gas inlet flow line. I've also read it can adversely affect the life of the heating element. Unless I missed it, it kind of looks like EvenHeat doesn't offer this as an option? They sell a salt bath unit though.

https://www.evenheat-kiln.com/knife-heat-treat-ovens
 

Chris Cramer

Super User
Vendor
Premium Member
I don't know much about other techniques of preventing oxidation, but I decided to purchase an LB kiln instead of the salt bath because I know it would be useful for other purposes like glass, and jewelry.
 

Chris Cramer

Super User
Vendor
Premium Member
knife maker direct here in Calgary sells even heat kilns for a good price, but you still need to wait the 10 - 12 weeks for it to arrive. However Canadian knife maker supply from BC is the only company that stocks the kilns. I was lucky that they had the same build I had first ordered from knife maker direct in stock, so I canceled my order from them and placed an order with Canadian knife maker supply after negotiating for the same price as KMD so I wouldn't have to wait 10-12 weeks.
 

Janger

(John)
Vendor
Premium Member
I decided to purchase an evenheat kiln for heat treatment. After working with elmax, nitro v, and S35vn stainless steels I've come to appreciate the benefits of these added elements, and I feel it would definitely payoff to learn to do the heat treatment myself.
I finished making a survival knife with nitro v stainless steel and etched it with ferric chloride.

Nice work Chris.
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
I think their site changed from when I last looked, but that was quite a while ago. Good to know there is somebody local who is a dealer. I guess you cant blame them for not having one sitting on a shelf, I think that's small business reality these days. The Evenheat line seems lower cost than Paragon but I also see you can configure it different ways so might not be accurate without more investigations. The touchscreen sure looks nice.
https://knifemakerdirect.ca/
 
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