Tempering small tools by monk


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Feb 11, 2007
washington, pa
you have to first know your alloy to do the job correctly. some steels are water quenched. some are oil quenched. and lets not forget our favorite quench, good old fashioned brine. if the tempering process yields a tool thats too soft, or too hard, most of the alloys can be heat treated many, many times, without undue damage. one must be careful to avoid overheating, for this will drive carbon out of the steel and you're gonna lose the game at this point. there is an excellent paperback book by a guy named weygers, or something close to that. this book is truly gospel for people wanting to learn this procedure. it's actually about blacksmith work, but goes into detail about home heat treating.
heat tool to read heat, let cool as slowly as possible.
rough shape tool the way you want it.
re-heat to red color and quickly quench in proper fluid- usually water. tool is now hard & brittle.
polish off firescale till tool is clean.
heat tool about gently about mid shank you'll notice a color band start to move to the tool tip. when the straw color gets to the tip, quench immediately & you're in business.
if for some reason the tool isn't quite hard enough-- simply repeat entire procedure.
Last edited:


Jun 18, 2016
Also an Option i have learned in machining industry:heat the tool till it has red/yellow (it has to be in between)colour.then quench it in vegetable oil a leave it there for a while,wait till its cool and put it in oven for around 45 minutes in 200 degrees celcius.Its so far the best way to harden steel i have tried

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