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Anyone tried using oil to quench stainless ???

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Robert Dark, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. Robert Dark

    Robert Dark KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 27, 2004
    I tried searching the forums, but for some reason, the search function and I don't see eye-to-eye.

    If you look at Crucible's data sheets, lets say for S35VN, one of the recommended quench media is listed as "OIL".

    Quench: Air or positive pressure quench (2 bar minimum) to
    below 125°F (50°C), or salt or interrupted oil quench to about
    1000°F (540°C), then air cool to below 125°F (50°C).

    What it does not tell us is the type oil, nor does it say anything about atmospheric protection when austenitizing and quenching in oil.

    Have any of you tried Oil?

    Anyone tried a wash coat of Satanite rather than fooling with foil envelopes?

    If so, what oil ???? I have Parks 50 and AAA.

    I have been using aluminum quench plates ( 1 1/8" X 6" X 12"), foil pouches, and an Evenheat oven. Although I have been getting good results, I still worry that on pre-ground blades, the distal taper and bevel portion never touches the plates. I blow compressed shop air between the plates during the quench process.

    I suppose that I spent too much time oil quenching 1095. W-2, 1084, 5160, O1 and some others. I knew that when the cutting edge hit that oil, the heat was being transferred as designed.

    What say you? Tried it? Results?


  2. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
  3. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    The thinner bevels should cool faster than the tang in air.
    I have wondered about the rate of cooling of the blade vs. the tang when plate-quenched both in and out of the foil.
  4. Robert Dark

    Robert Dark KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 27, 2004
    Perhaps I should have been more specific......... The search function doesn't seem to have a "B.S." filter. I found posts from people who obviously had no clue. I found posts from people, even well respected makers who, for one reason or another, no longer post here. (I am beginning to understand why they may no longer post here) I found cat fights. I found reprimands. I found....... never mind......... I didn't find what I was looking for even with the souped-up Google-de-do search.

    Condensed Version:

    A. Anyone tried using OIL to quench stainless?

    B. Anyone tried a wash coat of Satanite on stainless rather than foil?

    C. If the answer is yes to "A", what oil did you use?

    D. If the answer to "B" is yes, how did it work?

    In theory, you are correct. I am only tossing out a few simple questions. If one makes a good product, could he, by asking a few simple questions, gain insight on how to make it better, or am I doomed to filtering through meaningless posts?

    Robert (Who needs to get off this forum and start back to work)
  5. Troop


    Oct 26, 2006
    I use Houghton Mar-Temp 355 @ 375-400 degrees F to oil quench S35VN. Comes out great; hard and tough.
  6. Robert Dark

    Robert Dark KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 27, 2004
    Now that is an option I hadn't considered. You are quenching in 375-400 degree oil. MMMMM...... food for thought.

    Are you using foil envelopes or something else. If foil envelopes, are you quenching while still in the envelope?


  7. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    From what I have heard from folks who have done the oil quench in stainless or other high alloy steel, they use AAA or something similar. #50 might be a tad violent.
  8. Troop


    Oct 26, 2006
    Real men don't use envelopes. :)
    I just make sure I grind off any decarb. I have had nothing but success when I mar quench certain steels. A2, CPM S35VN, AUS-8 (re-HT), and CPM M4 have all come out great. All the air quenching steels that I have worked with have responded excellently to marquenching.
    I wouldn't mar quench 52100, 1095, 5160, etc. ... too slow to get past Ms for me.
  9. mete

    mete Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    Mitch , I'm glad to see you're doing interesting stuff .
    How did you arrive at that temperature for the oil ? What's the flash point ?
    Some stainless steel should be oil quenched to get decent properties and is recommended by the company . IIRC 12C27 is one of those .
    A couple of numbers I have --Cooling rates
    Oil, 410* C/sec
    Copper plates , 220* C/sec
    Iron plates, 100* C/sec
  10. Troop


    Oct 26, 2006
    Hi Robert. The flash point of the Houghton Mar-Temp 355 is 440 degrees F, with a working range of up to 400 degrees F. For all practical purposes, and,(since I'm using a weed burner to get the oil up to temp), anywhere from 375 - 400 F gives me very good results. I'm looking to hit right around Ms. I leave the piece in the hot oil for several minutes, making sure everything is nice and equalized. I then remove it from the oil and let the magic happen.
    When I marquench, I rarely get even a little warping.
    Thanks for those numbers; I'm going to have to write them down for future reference. When I mar quench air-hardening steels, man do they get hard.
    I've noticed something strange. When I marquench O-1, I get the best results with the oil at 275 F. I don't understand why, but I've proven it time and time again.
    Go figure.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  11. Robert Dark

    Robert Dark KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 27, 2004
    I hear ya Troop. Since I have never heat treated stainless without an envelope, is the de-carb layer similar to, say O-1 in a forge? I assume we are not talking major grinding here.

    That is strange indeed. Leads me to believe we haven't quite discovered all the answers.

    These are the kinds of responses that I appreciate. Thank you guys.

  12. Troop


    Oct 26, 2006
    Robert, no. No major grinding...scale and a little decarb. I would definitely say much less than O-1 in a forge. Very minor, in my opinion.
  13. Robert Dark

    Robert Dark KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 27, 2004
    Gonna try it............. Thanks for the responses............ I knew that my brothers would help.

  14. Brian Ayres

    Brian Ayres

    Feb 4, 2011
    Cool! I'm glad you got some answers Robert. Please let us know how it turns out??

    I always appreciate it when guys who've been around awhile take the time to answer questions. There's a lot of "What's the best steel for my first knife" questions and 99% of knifemakers can answer that question. Having someone who's been making knives awhile step in and answer questions about marquenching stainless steels in oil is just awesome..my thanks to you Troop!

    To further the question for my own knowledge do you then allow the blade to cool to room temp after pulling it from the oil then do a sub zero or cryo treatment?
    I need to do some more reading on martensite and retained austentite transformation in stainless steels....
  15. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    People "mar quench" deep hardening carbon steels like O1, 52100, L6 and 5160 in low temperature salt all of the time. Shallow hardening steels like 10xx, W1, W2 don't work, but those others work quite well.
  16. mete

    mete Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    Are you saying that something like S30V will have minor scale ?The soak time will be at least 30 minutes and at 1900 * F that 's a lot of time for decarb to occur !
  17. Troop


    Oct 26, 2006
    Thanks for the info. I've never felt comfortable, except for O-1, with mar quenching oil-hardening steels.
  18. Troop


    Oct 26, 2006
    Yes, there's scale and decarb, but not as much as austenizing in a forge. It has never bothered me, because I grind the scale and decarb off. I start out with thicker stock to take this into consideration. All of my blades turn out great.
    Will envelopes help prevent scale and decarb? Absolutely. It's just not for me.
    I'm sharing with the people here what I do. If they don't like my methods, they are not bound to use them. I'm just stating what works very well for me. No complaints from me or my customers.
  19. Robert Dark

    Robert Dark KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 27, 2004
    And certainly no complaints from me Troop. I appreciate the no-nonsense answers you provided and I thank you for sharing your methods of doing things.

    Personally, I hate the foil envelopes, but because I had never tried heat treating stainless without them, I thought I would ask a few questions here. I'm glad that I did.

    Sometimes when one asks questions here, he may seem to come off as a complete "DUMMY", and not get any responses, or even worse, get some responses from other "DUMMIES". :) I still consider myself a "Noobie", and sometimes I have questions burning a hole in the side of my head, so I take the chance and ask those questions.

    Again, I appreciate the positive input from my fellow forum friends.

    I still wonder IF you did a wash coat with satanite would it help with the scale and decarb? I'm gonna try it just out of curiosity.

    Robert (The sometimes DUMMY)
  20. mete

    mete Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    The day you say you aren't going to learn anymore is the day you should pack it in !!!

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