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Posts: 132

Location: United States Sharpsburg, GA
Occupation: Retired Programer
Age: 67
#1111   2018-01-24 04:36          
I think you were right the first time. In order to quench the steel it must be to the temperature at which austenite forms, critical temperature. The quenching causes the martinsite to form and thus the hardness. The normalize is a slow cooling in air that relieves the built up stress caused by the forging or machining and leaves the steel in a softened condition. Not quite as soft as annealing but not hard either. The quench is a very fast cool from the critical temperature that locks in the martinsite crystals and cause the steel to be as hard as its chemistry will allow.

I've also read that the tempering should be as soon as possible after the quench, but I don't believe that is true. The guys on Forged in Fire say the one of the judges, Jay, takes all the knives to his shop to be tempered at the end of the first day. So obliviously those blades are long cold before the tempering process.
Cal Kohler
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