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Brandon Cotter

Location: Alachua Florida
Joined: 23 Oct 2013

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed 23 Oct, 2013 10:07 am    Post subject: Hardening steel         Reply with quote

Hey all, I've been hanging around this site for awhile now but this is my first actual post. As it were I'm working on a little project, namely fixing up a deepeeka sword so it isn't butter soft. I originally got the sword because it was dirt cheap and I wanted the fitting for another project I'm working on. But then much to my surprise when I got the sword (the cocked hat pommel sword intended for stage combat) I discovered I actually liked its weight and dimensions. In fact it was actually pretty decent....except for the fact that the steel is softer than thanksgiving butter. I've already gone ahead and cannabilized it for the parts but the blades still intact and I figured I'd try my hand at hardening it to see if I couldn't turn it into a decent stage sword later down the road.

Now here's the question part. Anyone got any pointers? I know it's en45 steel but that's about all I know about it. A friend of mine said a blowtorch and a quenching tub would do the trick but I was hoping someone on here might have a better idea of the process.

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Ian S LaSpina

Location: Virginia, US
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Oct, 2013 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote gives specific temps for hardening and tempering EN-45.

I don't think using a blowtorch will yield the required even heating of the entire blade you'd need.

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Dan Howard

Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Wed 23 Oct, 2013 1:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wouldn't bet on it being EN45. One of the problems with Indian manufacturers is that the quality of the metal is essentially random. Most of it is recycled from unknown sources.
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Jeroen T

Location: Holland
Joined: 23 Oct 2013

Posts: 56

PostPosted: Thu 24 Oct, 2013 12:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello fellow forummites,

My first post here....

To anwser your question, yes it is possible but....

If the sword is sharp you'll have to dull it till the edge is at least 1mm thick.
Then it's a matter of heating the entire blade till redhot and let it cool slowly.
This is to relief any stress in the steel, this has to be done 2 or 3 times.

Then you have to heat it up again and harden it, then tempering.

So basically it's a job for a blacksmith, or hardening company that has experience with swords.
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Daniel Wallace

Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Sat 26 Oct, 2013 9:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

a tuff thing to do - heat treating a blade and not have experience doing it can cause some serious woe's. for one, you can cause the blade to stress to the point that it cracks during the quench.

yes there is plenty of information around that will give you the proper steps for HT - but it would be best if you had a piece of metal of similar structure to test before you attempt a sword blade. a sword blade in general takes an entirely different kind of forge to heat properly because it must be done evenly. a torch just won't be able to do this alone.

first step is ti anneal the steel by releasing all the carbon in it as you can. this is done by heating the steel to non metallic (depending on the alloy non metallic is different temps) most just judge it by red hot, and allowing it to air cool.

once the strength is released from the steel, you have to reintroduce it. by again heating to non metallic and quenching.

after the quench, then you draw the temper to again alleviate some of the strength by the time of the quench the metal is so hard its brittle.

the process is not easy - as many professional smiths still get a broken blade from time to time. but even before you think about this, take into mind that what steel you have, may be as strong as it can be already. like posted above, if its a mystery steel, made with junk impurities it may never harden like you want it no matter what process. attempting it could cause some serious damage.
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Isaac H.

Location: Northern California
Joined: 06 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Sun 27 Oct, 2013 2:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Brandon.

Questions like these always tend to attract a bit of negativitiy . People will tell you that you don't have a good understanding of the techniques,that you don't have enough experience, that you lack the proper equipment,etc, etc. And they are in all probability correct . It's a realistic way of looking at things.


What is incorrect is the conclusion that you CAN'T do it.

You can.

It will take investment , research, and especially patience and determination. But if you really have the desire , you certainly can quench and temper the blade with good results. Even if you try your hardest, you can have bad results... even professional swordsmiths have bad results . But my point is that there is no reason why you shouldn't try. You said the blade was dirt cheap, so even if you fail it won't represent a large monetary loss. And the amount of learning that you will acquire in the process will be worth it alone.

To start , I suggest cutting a small chunk of steel from the end of the tang and and experiment with it. Start by normalizing the "test" steel, then try quenching in oil (I recommend canola) Most production swords are oil hardened steel (5160, 1080,1075, etc) . With such a small piece of steel, you can do all the neccesary heating with a torch. The results of the experimenting will tell you how you should proceed.

Let me touch again on what said about posts such as this causing negativity. I don't want anyone to be offended by me saying that. It was very much a generalization. All these chaps here on this thread have indeed shared with you some excellent information already to give you an idea of the process. There are other forums I belong to in which such a question would immediatly be responded to in a demoralizing and critical way. The members here have much better manners Happy I just didn't want you to be daunted and ultimately discouraged from trying it. You can PM me if you want.

All the best...

Wounds of flesh a surgeons skill may heal...

But wounded honor is only cured with steel.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good ,to build him up.
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