Heat Treat Oven - Build vs Buy

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by ThomStewart, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. ThomStewart


    Nov 1, 2015
    So, I'm thinking I'd like to do my own heat treatment of stainless steel knives. I can afford an oven to buy, but wondering how difficult it is to build one of my own? Where to get the bricks? I know the elements can be had from the knife making and other kiln shops. Wondering about the control units and where to get them.

  2. Jason Volkert

    Jason Volkert

    Nov 25, 2018
    I was asking myself this same question like 3months ago. I figured for the extra 1000 that a premade 1 would cost was worth me not spending god knows how many hours to build the thing and if it would even work when I was done. So I just bought 1 and couldn't be happier with it.
  3. steve in sc

    steve in sc

    Feb 14, 2014
    I’ve got maybe 3-4 hours in my 120v build so far. The oven is 4”x4.5”x11”. I’ve just been piddling around with it though. When I’m done, it’ll be a little over $200 spent on supplies. I don’t have the money to spend on a commercial oven so it’s a no brainer for me. When I get 240v in my work area I will be building a larger oven and it will go much smoother after this build. If you can weld and have what you need, it’s not that complicated. Wiring is my biggest hang up at this point but I think I have it figured out.
  4. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero Triple B Handmade, Custom Knives Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 22, 2014
    Buy, I wanna make knives not tools
  5. DevinT


    Jan 29, 2010
    I’ve done both several times. There are a few out there that are a good value and they have support behind them.

    The next one I build will be a specialty furnace.

    Pinoy Knife likes this.
  6. John mc c

    John mc c KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 23, 2018
    I can't get my simple mind around complicated electrics but couldn't afford to buy my own so I bought and built everything myself but I bought my controller local here so the guy done all that part for me,cost me about 150 extra rather than total DIY but well worth it
  7. Marc Cooper

    Marc Cooper

    Apr 7, 2019
    I asked myself the same question a month or so ago. In the end I would up buying and am very glad I did. I went with the Evenheat KO 22.5" and it seems to be a well built unit.
  8. scott kozub

    scott kozub Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 1, 2018
  9. tattooedfreak

    tattooedfreak Steel mutilater is more like it.

    Mar 12, 2010
    I plan on building one within the year, at least I can buy bits and pieces when I have the money. I cant put out the 2k + it would cost to buy new, ship and set up. At least building I can make it to the specs I want (right now) and then change later if I need to. I will also know how to fix it if it breaks down. Same as my forge. Once you look at the plans and have it all ready, it doesn't take months to build.
  10. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

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

    Aug 20, 2004
    If you need a special size/shape oven build it. If you want a reliable oven with time tested controller made to do knives, buy what you need.
    A factory oven costs roughly double what a home built one costs. If you are handy and don't count your time as a cost, it is maybe only 1/3 the cost of a pre-made oven.

    It is also important to remember -
    There is no warranty or tech support for a home built unit.
    The people who build commercial ovens ( Paragon, Evenheat, etc.) have built tens of thousands of them. They have already gone through the learning curve and made improvements. They have the right parts, the right controllers, and the right software installed.
    I have seen some nice home builds, but none really looked or worked like a factory unit.
    If you get tired of making knives or doing HT, you can sell your factory unit for a reasonable percentage of the cost. Home built units often end up in yard sales.

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