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Thread: Determining hardness on older knives

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    Determining hardness on older knives

    This is being probably overly curious but is there a non destructive method one can use at home to determine (roughly) the HRC of an antique knife?

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    sachem allison's Avatar
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    Ray rogers has some schematics on his site so, that you can make your own hardness tester, for cheap. sometimes I see them on the bay used for a couple hundred bucks.
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    They do make special files but, they are expensive also http://www.amazon.com/industrial-sci.../dp/B001CTI7TE
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    If you know what kind of edge is taken, what is the grain size, and what edge is hold, you have an idea. Should work for old carbons.

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    Yep it is some old carbon. I'm ust curious because they seem harder than the wusthof and henkels knives I started with (which are 54 or so). They seem almost as hard as some of my softer j-knives 58-59. Is this possible???

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    They seem almost as hard as some of my softer j-knives 58-59. Is this possible???
    yup. i've heard of older carbons to be about that hardness. =D

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    alot of that old carbon can have pretty good harness. Those guys new what they were doing and that virgin carbon steel was amazing stuff. too think all of it was eyeballed back in the day, no pyrometers and heat treat ovens. just experience.
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    Those guys new what they were doing and that virgin carbon steel was amazing stuff. too think all of it was eyeballed back in the day, no pyrometers and heat treat ovens. just experience.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sachem allison View Post
    alot of that old carbon can have pretty good harness. Those guys new what they were doing and that virgin carbon steel was amazing stuff. too think all of it was eyeballed back in the day, no pyrometers and heat treat ovens. just experience.

    The problem with production knives is probably that the heat treatment computer will be set to the steel manufacturer's (or whoever's) "optimum" temperatures, which means optimum rate of non-breakage, not optimum hardness.

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