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Re-heat treating a knife

Posted by chiseen 
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Re-heat treating a knife
October 27, 2014 02:11PM
Hi everyone,

I read some threads on this forum that the 12c27 from Bark River was, shall we say, less than optimal. Well I dug around and found a few knives that I have that are in that steel. What to do?? Can I get the knife heat treated by a reliable vendor? Or does the Bark River spa treatment take care of the fixing some of the issues?

Thanks for the input, and I really enjoy learning from everyone here!
Re: Re-heat treating a knife
October 27, 2014 02:42PM
It is possible to reharden a steel, however it is not trivial and the person doing it needs to understand what they are doing. I doubt that Bark River would even consider it as they don't agree there is a problem.
Re: Re-heat treating a knife
October 27, 2014 03:08PM
From what I can tell from videos and secondhand evidence, the issues come from grinding more than heat treat.

From what I can tell most issues go away after the damaged metal is sharpened away. Wako always grinds a lot of metal off to remove the microbevel, which would help explain why he doesn't see some of the poor initial performace that a lot of people note.

There are still lots of reports and evidence of extreme damage to the point of the primary grind being blown out under light use. Which does indicate the issue might be more than poor grinding.

Good luck asking bark river to warranty or fix anything, their customer service has been noted as less than good on multiple occasions.

If you want decent 12c27, opinels and Moras both use that steel, without major reports of breaking and bad customer service, for about 10$.
Re: Re-heat treating a knife
October 27, 2014 07:56PM
Quote
chiseen
Hi everyone,

I read some threads on this forum that the 12c27 from Bark River was, shall we say, less than optimal. Well I dug around and found a few knives that I have that are in that steel. What to do?? Can I get the knife heat treated by a reliable vendor? Or does the Bark River spa treatment take care of the fixing some of the issues?

Thanks for the input, and I really enjoy learning from everyone here!


Would the potential cost of removing the handles, putting new ones in, etc. be worth it to you?

Also, what Cliff mentioned about overheating is important, as it's a common issue with Bark River knives. Try sharpening them a few times, see it that improves it. And have you experienced any damage or poor performance yourself? If so, in what manner? I'm asking this not because I doubt what you're saying, but to get a better picture of what you're saying. From what I've seen of Bark River's stuff, they're very far from fault-less.
Re: Re-heat treating a knife
October 28, 2014 12:59AM
I almost started this same thread a couple of times, but ended up figuring it's probably not worth it, otherwise there would be lots of threads about it by people who've done it or had it done.

Specifically, I wondered if I could do something like optimize the grind on a Buck Vantage Avid in 13c26, then take out the blade and send it to Peter's to have it run at full hardness. Maybe do something similar to a fixed blade with removable scales. Like thin out an ESEE-3 and have it re-hardened to 65 hrc. Or might even be interesting to take something like an M-Tech and see how good you can make it.

This sprung mainly out of wanting to see how a low carbide steel run hard and optimized for cutting really performs first hand. This type of blade seems hard to find in the wild outside of customs. I guess customs are the next step in the knife nut progression for me anyway though...

-Nate
Re: Re-heat treating a knife
October 28, 2014 01:20AM
If you are going to do this then do the grinding after the hardening as it is very likely the hardening will damage the edge of the knife. Not as well there is no guarantee the knife will get near maximum performance as you don't know and neither does the guy doing the hardening as to the state of the knife now. The approach he is likely to take is just run a hardening on it and see what happens. This would not get good results for example if the steel had a lot of secondary precipitation, or if the grain was coarse, or any number of other factors. The ideal way is to just assume it has a poor micro-structure and just start over and fully recrystallize however the cost of doing that and then refining the grain would be more than the knife itself.
Re: Re-heat treating a knife
October 28, 2014 02:38AM
Thank you for the explanation.

-Nate
Re: Re-heat treating a knife
October 28, 2014 10:09AM
Wouldn't you/Peter's have to anneal it before you do anything HT wise

_______________
Coffee and Blood
Re: Re-heat treating a knife
October 28, 2014 11:08AM
I believe Cliff was describing the annealing process in his reply, just as hardening is made up of several underlying steps.

I didn't know if there would be cases where the blade could simply be rehardened vs. also needing to be annealed. Sounds like the trouble is, neither would Peter's. I also never got so far as to look at the cost, but it sounds like it would be pretty significant, assuming they were even willing to do it. By that time you could just have a good maker craft exactly what you want, rather than dumping more $$ into something that isn't.

-Nate
Re: Re-heat treating a knife
October 28, 2014 06:57PM
A knife can be hardened without a full recrystalization, just basically soak, quench and temper, in fact Phil Wilson did his work that way when he rehardened blades. The problem is that if you don't know the condition of the micro-structure going in then you don't know it coming out. In most cases like that you basically have a knife you are not using and therefore decide to chance it.
Re: Re-heat treating a knife
October 28, 2014 07:08PM
Quote
Luisknivacc
...
Would the potential cost of removing the handles, putting new ones in, etc. be worth it to you?

Also, what Cliff mentioned about overheating is important, as it's a common issue with Bark River knives. Try sharpening them a few times, see it that improves it. And have you experienced any damage or poor performance yourself? If so, in what manner? I'm asking this not because I doubt what you're saying, but to get a better picture of what you're saying. From what I've seen of Bark River's stuff, they're very far from fault-less.


Peter's HT charges something like $25 per knife, but yeah it might be a pain to disassemble a knife. I haven't used the knife so I will try sharpening them first to get rid of the burnt edge. Then I will try the chopstick test.