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Old 03-01-2016, 04:24 PM
hilldweller hilldweller is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 2
annealing an old file.

Hi all, I want to anneal a big old farrier's rasp, I have a single burner propane forge, but I do not have a pile of ash or a container full of vermiculite or perlite. most suggestions are to heat to critical, soak a little further, then bury in a good insulating material & let cool slowly for a long time. in lieu of a good insulating material, right after taking it off the forge, could I set it in a preheated electric oven and leave it in there at a lower setting for several hours? or would that not be similar enough to an overnight cooling in ash/vermiculite?
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Old 03-01-2016, 04:36 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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QUOTE: I do not have a pile of ash or a container full of vermiculite or perlite

Well then, go get some. You can get vermiculite at any place that sells gardening stuff and its very cheap. Wood ash is better but vermiculite will work if you use a LOT of it.

An oven would work but only if you have one with a ramped controller and you programmed it appropriately for the steel you are using. Just putting it in a warm oven won't do it.

I have to assume you plan to work the file by stock removal in which case you want it as soft as you can get it. If you do plan to forge your blade to shape then you don't need to anneal.

Since you asked these questions it seems likely that you are very new to knife making or at least the heat treating part of knife making. In that case, your learning curve would be better served if you put the file aside for now and bought yourself some 1084. Make a few knives from 1084 and learn to heat treat them properly and when you are done you'll know what to do with that file ...


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Old 03-01-2016, 06:30 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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One, actually a couple, of problems using your propane forge to anneal in is that if you heat up your forge to austinize the rasp in is that 1) the whole rasp may not fit into the forge, and 2) soaking the rasp in a hot forge as it cools off can lead to grain growth.

Then you have the problem that the rasp might be case hardened and not have enough carbon in it to make anything better than a butter knife. I echo Ray's suggestion that you get some known steel, 1084 or 1080 being some of the most forgiving when it comes to heat treating, and start with one of them.


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Old 03-01-2016, 06:52 PM
jmccustomknives jmccustomknives is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Alabama
Posts: 554
In lew of some of the other stuff you can use oil dry or kitty litter for annealing. Test that rasp, as stated they can be case hardened.
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Old 03-01-2016, 07:38 PM
hilldweller hilldweller is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 2
ok, the best course of action seems to be to ####can the file idea for now, and get some good, new, known material. later on, if I get anywhere with the known material, I will try to use the files. they are very old, and made in USA, so I suspect that they are not case hardened junk. I have an open style free standing forge designed more for blacksmithing than knifemaking, so evenly heating an old file should not be a problem if I get there. thanks for your time and patience!! yes, I am sort of thick!!
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:29 PM
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BCROB BCROB is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: BC
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try it , what have you got to lose ? a file ? gain some knowledge out of it , win win giv'r and post some pics

what I do , seems to work
to anneal heat up to 1550 degrees and hold for a few minutes.
Stick in a bucket of sand or vermiculite let cool slowly.
To heat treat heat up to 1550 and hold for a few minutes. Quench in canola oil heated to around 125-130 degrees. Once cool, wipe off oil and place in oven for 1 hour at 425 degrees. 2x if you prefer
I usually get around 60rc hardness

raise lower temp to your hrc liking

B.C. Canada
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