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dommekracht / jack


Oude techniek en werktuigbouw,
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© AdO 1998 ... 2004


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Balfour's praktische staalwenken

Tempering of hardened carbon tool steels

Temperatures, colours and uses

In the present days of high-tech carbides and cobalt-enriched high-speed steels, the humble carbon tool steels (say 0.4-1.6% C and little else in the field of alloying elements) are no longer commercially used for toolmaking. Nevertheless, these simple steels can very effectively and easily be hardened (quenched and tempered) to fit them for all kinds of heavy use. They are (in my opinion) still very useful, particularly in "low-tech" surroundings.

OK. So carbon tool steels are attractive. Well-tempered, they can exhibit just that combination of hardness and toughness the job reuires. Low tempering temperatures result in quite hard steels; higher temperatures give a more tough though less hard steel.

This is not all. Hardening and tempering a piece of polished carbon tool steel, will give it an unrivalled finish and glorious colours. Blueing weapons is an old art.

I came across a nice colour-chart illustrating the various tempering temperatures and their effect on the superficial colour of the tempered steel. The chart also gives various uses in the tool field that hardened carbon steels, tempered at different temperatures, can be put to. It formed part of a little (Dutch) booklet: "Practical tips for practical steel users", published in circa 1920 by a Dutch steel importer, Van Eyle & Ruygers, Rotterdam (Suppliers of Fine Steels and Tools).

tools tempering colours more tools

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