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How to heat treat quench and temper a railroad track knife

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Quinnshield, May 12, 2019.

  1. Quinnshield

    Quinnshield

    12
    May 9, 2019
    Whats up guys, I've recently started a new knife forged from a piece of railroad track. I've read that railroad track steel is similar to 1080 with a little extra manganese for crush strength and abrasion resistances. The more I work this steel the more I feel like it will make a great knife. What I would like to know is the details of the heat treatment process for this particular steel. If anyone could please provide the temperature ranges for Normalizing, heat treat, oil temp for the quench, and tempering including hold times it would be much appreciated? Thank you all in advance!
     
  2. Ken H>

    Ken H>

    Dec 31, 2011
    Not sure where you heard a RR spike was like 1080, but from all the places I've read there is a "high carbon" version of RR spike that runs around 1030 or so. For all practical purpose a RR spike is more like mild steel. You can sharpen and they will get sharp (somewhat) but won't really hold an edge. About your best bet for HT'ing and quench is with "magic quench" from this site:
    http://magichammer.freeservers.com/robb_gunter.htm

    You can make a RR spike from 1080 and have a good knife.
     
  3. Quinnshield

    Quinnshield

    12
    May 9, 2019
    Not railroad spike, its railroad track.
     
    bike4fun919 likes this.
  4. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

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

    Aug 20, 2004
    HT it like 1080 and it should be fine. Austenitize at 1500F and give it a short soak if possible, and don't overheat. Quench in fast oil. Temper at 450F twice.

    If you use the custom search engine you will find several older threads on RR track steel with lots of data.
     
    bike4fun919 likes this.
  5. Ken H>

    Ken H>

    Dec 31, 2011
    Darn, another case of me reading too fast. You said very clearly "railroad track". Totally different matter than a RR spike. Sorry about that.
     
  6. Quinnshield

    Quinnshield

    12
    May 9, 2019
    Hey no worries, stuff happens man!
     
  7. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    I also read spike lol.

    Yeah treat like 1080 and it will heat treat fine. But not all track is the same so be forewarned. Also do a few break tests to check heat treat and grain structure.
     
    Ken H> likes this.
  8. butcher_block

    butcher_block KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 6, 2004
    i flinch railroad ... spike . track is diferrent but in some ways the same least its hardeneble. while much betterr controled steel it can sorta still range a bit so make sure you have test samples and a good supply to make from
     
  9. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

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

    Aug 20, 2004
    RR track has very tight metallurgy. It is alloyed for toughness and the sections are different depending on whether it is a for a curve, straight section, or grade. Older track was 1080M (modified with varying alloy and high MN) current regulation is 1084 modified. HT it like 1080-1084 and it will make a fine blade. I would do a full thermal cycling to reduce any grain and stress issues.
     

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