Forging: Quenching and Tempering



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Quenching and tempering are important steps to forging a good knife in order to increase hardness, tempering reduces brittleness, slightly reduces hardness but improves durability.



The two major processes of hardening and tempering can be broken down into four major steps. First, a piece of metal is heated gradually until it reaches a high temperature. When the entire sample reaches a high temperature, a great heat intensity is applied to the area that will be hardened. When the steel reaches a temperature that causes it to turn red, it is time for the next step. Next, the piece of metal is removed and placed directly into cool water. The steel is now very hard, but as discussed above, very brittle. At this point in the process, the hardening has completed and it is time to move onto step three and the second phase of tempering. Step three involves reheating the steel in the end which received the most intense heat in step one. The metal is heated until it turns the indicative blue color, which means tempering has occurred and the heat source is cut off. The last step is to allow the new hardened and tempered steel to cool on its own. After that has taken place, hardened steel has been synthesized. A visual representation of this process may make the concept easier to understand.






Please read the following to learn more about the process:

We'd probably need to add a bucket of water to perform this operation so we might need buckets and the ability to put water in them, even hot water such as intended for wolf defense for example. We might also want to add an anvil and of course, you would need adequate ambient light in order to safely perform any actions with hot metal. Tongs would also be important.It might be nice to have the player watch the steel to see when it reaches the right temperature. Hammering and shaping could be a multi-step process of about 10 minutes for each step. The final tempering step you'd have to carefully watch the metal heat up to just the blue stage (no glowing). Overheat and you've ruined the hardening.

Additional steps in forging a blade include the shaping process, hammering while red hot and then filing the annealed steel while its soft, prior to reheating, quenching and hardening (last heating stage). The final step is honing which has to be done with a whetstone. Prior to honing, the blade is not sharp at all. Typically honing is done with a progression of three stages of coarse, medium and fine carborundum whetstones. A diamond hone speeds the process.

I think it would be beneficial to harden and temper our existing tools such as wood saws, hatchets and knives.

It might be nice to have a forge and anvil at the fishing camp on CH.

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Until we know the exact carbon content of each piece of scrap steel we "forge", quenching and the accompanying tempering would be little more than a grand waste of time. Different grades of steel temper differently.

Personally, I think the forging mechanic is useless, and actively avoid it whenever I play. Somehow, our characters know an art that is basically dying out in the Western world? Suuuuurrrreeeeeee.....

SteveP........ ALL of the metal tools we have in-game are already tempered. Heating them up will RUIN them. They are already hardened for the specific tasks the tools are intended for.

"Don't try to fix what isn't broken", as it were.

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@Boston123, yes however various tools have specific grades of steel from which they are made. If one found a rusty saw blade outdoors, the case hardening of the teeth could be compromised. I wasn't sure if it was done; we have a throw-away modern culture.Seems like most recommendations are to buff away the rust and apply oil. Honing would be a very common need. If a tool ends up on the grinder, it would loose it's temper through over-heating.

I guess you read the part about tempering temperatures given in the link above! :big_smile:Tempering to blue is very common for things like a saw's tooth. I don't guess there is much application aside from the improvised knife and hatchet. Interesting that axes are only heated to 270'C


The table opposite shows the temperatures and the associated colours required when tempering steel for particular uses. For instance, when making wood turning tools, they must be heated to a brown colour, whilst tempering.


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