Best choice of steel for color case hardening?

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Rwilliams
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Best choice of steel for color case hardening?

Post by Rwilliams » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:51 pm

I have made many parts out of different grades of steel in the past but never with color case hardening in their future. With many choices of steel to work with on this future project, I would like to make the best choice that will respond well with good color when completed.

So far I have considered regular 1018 CRS, 12L14, and Starrett low carbon free machining #498 ground flat stock. Which of these materials would yield the best color case hardening when properly prepared?

Robert

N.R. Davis
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Re: Best choice of steel for color case hardening?

Post by N.R. Davis » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:54 pm

I heard 1018 works fine. Any way you can do some Test Pieces?

Rwilliams
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Re: Best choice of steel for color case hardening?

Post by Rwilliams » Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:26 pm

With over 200 views and no responses until recently, I began to wonder if color case hardening was a well kept secret.

Sorry, I do not have a way to do test pieces. Without a good temperature controlled furnace, quality heat treatment is out of my league.

I do have options for the variety of steel and was wondering what knowledge might be out there in regards to something other than regular 1018 steel.

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GlennW
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Re: Best choice of steel for color case hardening?

Post by GlennW » Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:50 pm

Try contacting Turnbull.

He knows a thing or three about color case hardening.

https://www.turnbullrestoration.com/
Glenn

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WesHowe
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Re: Best choice of steel for color case hardening?

Post by WesHowe » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:33 pm

I am not an expert on case hardening, by any means. One thing I know is that 1018 is harder to get a good finish on than something like 12L14 or 4041. I would think that maybe anything you are color case hardening might also have good looks as an objective (as opposed to just case hardening it with some Cherry Red and a torch).

I have blued 1018 and I can tell you that all the machining marks are still visible afterward.

tetramachine
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Re: Best choice of steel for color case hardening?

Post by tetramachine » Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:34 pm

Case hardening refers to adding carbon to the outer surface of steel, which allows it to be harder than normal. So it takes low carbon steel which would not be hardenable, and causes the areas that are now higher in carbon to get hard.

To induce carbon into the surface, the work is heated to it's Curie point, stuck into a carbon Rich bath(many kinds) until cool. Now it's surface is very hard, too hard to be used without cracking, it is now brittle hard. So it needs to be tempered. The work is now an ugly black color. It is polished, and the art of color comes into the work. There are compounds that brushed on leave surfaces tinted. Now the work is heated again, to tempering temperature 400-900 F. Let to cool on air is when the colors come out. They are caused by the reaction with oxygen and surface coating.
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