So, I don’t often toot my own horn about stuff like this, but I pulled off something I thought was pretty cool while teaching a class this weekend.
I usually do a heat treatment demo on grain growth where I snap a file (Nicholson in this case) to show the grain, then I blow the grain up with excessive heat and quench from a really high temp, then snap a piece off, then normalize to reset grain, quench properly, and snap another piece off to show the effects of grain refinement.
I do all of this during classes by eye in a dark room, with a coal forge, using a muffle. It’s great because I also get to demonstrate decalesence/recalesence while I’m at it.
So, why was this weekend special? Because using simple tools, my eyeballs, and a little Parks #50, I *BEAT* the factory HT for grain refinement.
In this picture, the top piece is broken off of a stock Nicholson file. The bottom piece is from after I blew the grain up, and the center piece is after I reset the grain. It was a little hard to get all 3 in focus because of the angles, but it’s pretty clear that I got the grain more refined than Nicholson does in their factory.
This just goes to show that with simple tools, proper steel selection (and no, don’t ask me what a Nicholson file is. I’m not paying to have one tested…I could do the same with 1084, but don’t have a “factory HTed” piece to work against), some skill, and some patience what can be accomplished.