The age old accepted recipe for quenching 1095 High Carbon Steel calls for a fast quenching media such as Parks 50. Can Canola be used instead?
Pictures and video below.
READ VERY CLOSELY!
I am not a scientific researcher, research scientist, grad student, doctor, physics student, physicist, English or grammar teacher, fireman, doctor, lawyer, well endowed male model, or used car salesman. I heat Steel in a home made, forced air, propane gas forge that I built myself. You know like one that the large companies paid design engineers millions of dollars to design, test, and fabricate for them. To make sure they get the exact dimensions, appropriate thermal insulate, precise oxygen to propane mixture, and nozzle design among a mountain of other design considerations.
Well I decided I was smart enough to do that myself and spent a month researching commercial propane forges and built my own. It can reach forge welding temperature in just a few minutes. Anyway, I still don't claim to know anything about how to research Steel grain growth, Austenite, Martensite, how to spell Austenite and Martensite, the female psyche, or other areas of research. But I do pound Steel like a caveman and shape it into sharp things that stab and slash. These sharp things have never broken and tend to be of top quality because I have practiced over and over and when something has failed I look at what went wrong, test, and fix it. One might call that research but I don't have a piece of paper that says I'm qualified to do any sort of logical research.
So if you look at my results and do anything on your own or recommend to someone else they do anything based off of what I have done, then your stupid. I'm not and will never be responsible for your stupidity because I just told you that I'm not a qualified researcher or whatever you would like to call it.
After multiple questions by beginner Bladesmith's and Knifemaker's who want to use 1095 blade steel but have shied away due to horror stories of finicky steel and massive grain, I have decided to perform a series of tests of my own.
I'm not sure why there is a need for these tests, I mean to be certain your comfortable you have enough quenchant on hand vendors sell Parks 50 in a 5 gallon pail. Parks 50 is the recommended quenchant for 1095 blade steel. Canola oil is for cooking food, it generally only comes in a quart to 1 gallon container. Why on Earth would you search a grocery store for a $6 gallon of Canola oil when you can get a top quality quenchant made specifically for the job like Parks 50 at almost $60 a gallon.
Personally I can't say whether or not you can afford sixty dollar gallons of oil, but I can't. I can barely afford the six dollar gallons toward payday. So I found it in my best interest to do some initial testing and then some followup testing. Especially given the (knife snob) I mean discerning collector who only collect 1095 or 80crv2 etc.
This is just an initial test on a piece of 3/16" of 1095 bar stock. It is about 4 inches long and was cut from a 6' bar of 3/16x2x72" 1095 High Carbon Steel, sold by Valley Steel in Dailey West Virginia. They dont disclose where they order their blade Steel but I have been told it is likely from the NJ Steel Baron.
I am using a pyrometer from Amazon with a Type K probe.
Brought it to 1575 for 2 minutes and let it air cool. Rest of normalizing cycle was 1525 then 1475. On quench I heated to 1450 and checked with a magnet, put it back in for a minute exactly and quenched in Canola that was heated to 135 degrees with a couple railroad spikes I had heated before hand.
It skated a file great but was a bit harder to break with a hammer than I thought, but it isn't blade thin it was still 3/16. This was the first test, I will test again with a blade sized piece of steel or a blade I scrap. I believe the grain is very nice in these pictures and video but I am not yet a professional.
Further tests coming.