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Heat treating dies

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  • Mark M.
    Hello everyone, I m new here, having been doing a great deal of metalwork, including mold and sand casting various pendants and coins for other venues. I have
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 4, 2008
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      Hello everyone,

      I'm new here, having been doing a great deal of metalwork, including
      mold and sand casting various pendants and coins for other venues. I
      have decided to start trying my hand at die making and perhaps
      finally finding a niche for me in the SCA.

      I have read most of the material that you have links and files on and
      I was curious about something. I am using some mild steel to make my
      first die with - figuring I'd take it easy on my hands, tools and
      time to practice things. I have seen many discussions about how to
      make your own tools for die carving and they talk about the heat
      treatment process to make them harder. I was wondering if there was
      anything preventing me from heat tempering my dies once completed.
      Would the heat distort/damage the finished carving and therefore it's
      not recommended?

      Thank you for your time.

      Sincerely,

      Mark
    • Brian Ferguson
      Hi Mark! One of the big problems with heat treating dies is fire scale. Simply put, you don t want any of it on the face of your die, as it can completely
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 4, 2008
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        Hi Mark!

        One of the big problems with heat treating dies is fire scale. Simply
        put, you don't want any of it on the face of your die, as it can
        completely ruin it. Most of us don't take the risk of hardening dies
        that we've put many hours of work into. Besides, dies made out of fully
        annealed tool steel will last many thousands of strikes; well beyond the
        usual order size.

        However, it can be done. Some steels are better than others. IIRC
        Alexsander in the An Tir guild has recently had some good experiences
        with air-hardening steel.

        I don't think the softness of mild steel vs annealed tool steel will
        make much of a difference on your tools. But if you've got it around,
        it's a place to start!

        -Derian, MGoAT

        > Hello everyone,
        >
        > I'm new here, having been doing a great deal of metalwork, including
        > mold and sand casting various pendants and coins for other venues. I
        > have decided to start trying my hand at die making and perhaps
        > finally finding a niche for me in the SCA.
        >
        > I have read most of the material that you have links and files on and
        > I was curious about something. I am using some mild steel to make my
        > first die with - figuring I'd take it easy on my hands, tools and
        > time to practice things. I have seen many discussions about how to
        > make your own tools for die carving and they talk about the heat
        > treatment process to make them harder. I was wondering if there was
        > anything preventing me from heat tempering my dies once completed.
        > Would the heat distort/damage the finished carving and therefore it's
        > not recommended?
        >
        > Thank you for your time.
        >
        > Sincerely,
        >
        > Mark
      • Jim Gerlinsky
        Mild steel does not have enough carbon in it to harden. In period the teeth were kept from burning off files, when heat treating by coating them in a thick
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 4, 2008
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          Mild steel does not have enough carbon in it to harden.  In period the teeth were kept from burning off files, when heat treating by coating them in a thick paste of flour and clay.
          Just back from Quad War (what a way to play) where I struck all but 120 of the gate tokens on site!(no pictures of me doeing that I know I know bad schmett)
          Schmett/jim
          Mark M. wrote:

          Hello everyone,

          I'm new here, having been doing a great deal of metalwork, including
          mold and sand casting various pendants and coins for other venues. I
          have decided to start trying my hand at die making and perhaps
          finally finding a niche for me in the SCA.

          I have read most of the material that you have links and files on and
          I was curious about something. I am using some mild steel to make my
          first die with - figuring I'd take it easy on my hands, tools and
          time to practice things. I have seen many discussions about how to
          make your own tools for die carving and they talk about the heat
          treatment process to make them harder. I was wondering if there was
          anything preventing me from heat tempering my dies once completed.
          Would the heat distort/damage the finished carving and therefore it's
          not recommended?

          Thank you for your time.

          Sincerely,

          Mark

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