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Old 10-21-2018, 09:54 PM
Steeveedee Steeveedee is offline
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Default Forming Steel

I do a fair amount of wood carving, and have a need for a shape of tool that isn't available except in a size larger than I can use for a carving that I want to make. I watched a few videos about the annealing, quenching and tempering process, but want something a little more basic. I have some questions about the forming process. I have some O1 steel rod that I want to form into a "dogleg" shape. It seems the least expensive material for making a decent carving chisel from. It won't be subject to use with a mallet, just by pushing by hand. I want to make a shape as shown in the attached link, with different possible extensions in the middle part, and possibly different lengths (and shapes) in the cutting end of the tool:

https://www.woodcraft.com/products/p...ight-full-size

I want to form this stuff to shape cold, since it is supposedly fully annealed when I purchased it. Do I need to heat it to form the two 90° bends with a 1/4" inside radius, or can I just bend it cold? I don't have a forge, so I'm wondering about strain relief afterwards, or am I needlessly worried? They can't make a gradual sweep like a spoon to get in where I want to do the carving, so I need the 90° bends, or at least close to that.

Thanks!
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Old 10-22-2018, 12:32 AM
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GWIZ GWIZ is offline
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I say go for it, I don't recall bending O1
I would think you can bend it once. but trying to bend it back if you made a mistake I would guess it will snap.

Once you got it bent the way you want you should not have any problems heating it just above a cherry red with a propane torch and then quenching it in vegetable oil away from all flammables and wear a safety shield.
likely hold it just above cherry red for 20 seconds, guessing 20 seconds will make it fairly brittle and hard all the way through.

Just above cherry should be around 1500 degrees.
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Old 10-22-2018, 01:43 PM
Steeveedee Steeveedee is offline
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Thanks! What I've read elsewhere is "Can be formed using the usual methods", which doesn't help a whole lot. I know O1 is really hard after quenching. Given that these tools won't be under a lot of stress, I may be over-thinking it. I'd like to have a die to form it the way I want, but I'd likely have to heat it to do the bending, and I'm not set up for that. I have a garage with wood working tools and lots of wood, so any heating activities will be done outside.
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Old 10-22-2018, 02:00 PM
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I would just clamp it in a vise and bend it, maybe use a hammer to get a tight bend.
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Old 10-22-2018, 03:18 PM
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Unless it is very small diameter, get a decent propane torch and put a wee bit of heat in the areas to be bent. Maybe just dull red. It will be a whole lot easier to bend into a tight radius.
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Old 10-22-2018, 04:10 PM
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O1, as long as you don’t quench it, should stay somewhat soft. Try to be setup to do your bending as quick as possible, to avoid heating any more times than necessary.

When you are ready to harden it, have a METAL pail with your quench oil that’s big enough to hold the part, and move it around in the oil. Use long handled pliers, tongs, whatever, and wear leather gloves. It will flash a flame off the part, so quench quick and fully if at all possible. Try to go straight in lengthwise to minimize warping.

After it’s hardened, post heating for tempering can usually be done in a kitchen oven or toaster oven.

The temperature during tempering is what actually determines final hardness.


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Old 10-24-2018, 03:08 PM
Steeveedee Steeveedee is offline
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All good suggestions; I appreciate them! I'm going to try to bend the metal over a form that will give an inside corner radius of .125". That's a .25" radius at the center of the rod, and would likely require heat. That should be good enough. I have a propane torch, which is good enough. Need to make something (table) I can work on. Most of my stuff is for wood, and I don't want to "smoke" any of it.
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Old 10-24-2018, 06:02 PM
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O1 will not like to be bent cold.. Especially if you are going to be hardening it after the fact.. It will create hairline fractures..

Ideally a vise with a shim bent over with the correct radius is the best way to do such a thing and at about 1800-1900F..

for hardening go non magnetic and then hold it at his temperature for a little longer and quench in oil till it loses all color then correct any small warping until it goes below 400F..
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Old 10-27-2018, 02:39 PM
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Thanks! I'll make a couple of blocks with the inside radius of the rod on their edges to form the rods over. I have both 3/16" and 1/4" rods to bend.

I'm not too worried about them being brittle. These are hand tools only; they will not see any strikes from a mallet. If people want to buy them, they will be warned about not using a mallet. Some people in my wood carving class have expressed an interest, but I'm not in any hurry to set up a production run- I'm retired!
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Old 10-27-2018, 03:05 PM
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With them being relatively small, a good round of heat and a single bend should do what you need. Good luck, and share some pics of the process and finished pieces!


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