Accidentally water-quenched medium carbon steel

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Curse The Sky, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. Curse The Sky

    Curse The Sky

    Nov 4, 2015
    I had a piece of 4140 slip out of my tongs and land in an ill-placed bucket of water. I had drawn it out to about 1/8" thick, and the overall piece was approximately 2" x 8", fairly flat and uniform. It was bright red / orange when it went in, and the bucket was deep enough that it fully cooled to a hand-safe temperature before I could fish it out.

    My hope was to turn it into a small leaf spring for a hardy tool, or at least experiment with it. I heated it back up to normalize it, for what it's worth. I couldn't see any visible cracks, but I also haven't cleaned any scale off yet. Should I bother working the piece anymore and hope for the best, or is it likely a lost cause?

    It's not an expensive piece by any means, and I don't have a ton of time into it (mostly the time involved in drawing it out from a round bar), but I'd love to salvage it for something if possible.
  2. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    It’s probably ok. I would heat it up again and draw the hardness out if it. Then clean off the scale and check it. Normally we would water quench thick sections as oil was only good up to a inch thick or so.
  3. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    I don't think 4140 will make much of a spring.
    Drew Riley likes this.
  4. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

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

    Aug 20, 2004
    You would be better with 5160.

    4140 is normally quenched in water, BTW.
    Drew Riley and Ken H> like this.

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