How to Harden Steel in a Kitchen Oven

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Hardening steel is an important skill in metal working. The tempering process hardens the steel, but makes it slightly more flexible, making it more durable. You can temper steel in less than half an hour using your kitchen oven. Tempering usually works best after the metal has been heat-treated. Using a blank that has been hardened in this way greatly improves the tempering process.

Things You'll Need

  • 1095 carbon steel
  • Steel wool or fine sandpaper
  • Clean your steel blank using steel wool or fine sandpaper. Remove any dirt and corrosion until the steel is bright and shiny.

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place the steel directly on the oven rack or on a baking sheet.

  • Leave the metal in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove it from the oven. Allow it to cool slowly at room temperature.

  • Inspect the steel for quality. You may notice some slight yellow discoloration on the steel's surface, but corrosion or slight cracks indicate weakness in the metal. Steel with these flaws should not be used.

Tips & Warnings

  • Adjusting the amount of time the steel is in the oven will affect its temper. If your steel does not hold an edge after tempering, leave the steel in the oven slightly longer.
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