Heat treating video

I have an opportunity to interview the owner of the heat treating firm that I go to.A very knowledgeable gentleman that has been in the business for over 30 years. That being said I have always found heat treating to be one of the mystic black arts in the metal working trade. They do ferrous and non ferrous heat treating.  And they do terrific work. I have used them for years.

So here is my request. What questions would you like me to ask him?

We have an opportunity to learn a great deal, lets take advantage of it.

14 comments to Heat treating video

  • Steven Adair

    I would like to hear about the process of heat treating and an explation of how it actually works. Also, can/should any of this be done be the home gunsmith?
    Thank you,

  • Gary

    The most common need for heat treating recently seems to be AK receivers. A review of that would be great.
    Next would be hardening homemade tools. I don’t know if that would be as critical but maybe it would be. Any tips on that would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Chuck

      Because most of what we build is from scratch I need to harden bolts, bolt carriers, hammer, trigger,sears and barrel I will ask about the AK as well

      • Gary

        I haven’t gotten that far into making parts but I am thinking of doing that. There are probably hundreds of videos and articles on heat treating AK receivers so I’m not asking for a whole treatise on the process, more his opinion on what is the best way to do it.

        I’ve been thinking of making some tools and considered hardening them so I have interest in that also. I do work on cars and motorcycles so some applies there. Thanks

  • Dean

    Does he ever do case hardening on any of his projects?

  • John D.

    The best general reference volume on heat treating is the ASM Metals Handbook, Volume 4. The current 11th edition is pricey, but you can usually find used copies for $ 25 or so on eBay and Abe’s. Any copy from the 9th edition on is perfectly satisfactory, the earlier editions are somewhat dated and miss a lot of current heat treating technology. If you have a general familiarity with metals, you won’t find the ASM Handbook difficult to absorb – it is really well edited and intended for nonmetallurgists. You can see the current edition at:

    Just go to the store and click on ‘Handbooks.

    The problem with small batch heat treating is surface chemistry control. Unless you are pack carburizing, you have to leave a lot of stock on parts for later removal when you perform ‘open fire’ heat treating. Sheet steel hardening, such as AK receivers follows the normal processes of quench & temper heat treating, but the trick is avoiding distortion. Generally you have to fixture the sheet metal parts and manually quench them. I have it on good authority that the Soviets used press quenching systems on their sheet metal firearms receivers. This gets expensive in a hurry for short runs. In the US, press quenching is mostly used for larger precision gears.

  • John D.

    Chuck –

    ASM Handbook Volume 1, ‘Properties & Selection, Volume X ‘Forming’ and Volume Y ‘Machining’ (various numbers as the editions increased) should interest you as well. Might have extra copies of these volumes in the ASM Handbook 9th edition series. Send me an eMail.

  • Chris Bailey

    I am curious of differential heat treating. By this I mean, when a part has different levels of heat treat in different points, to make it work. A BAR receiver is a good example of this, as I recall. Some parts are hard, some are soft. How is this done?

  • juver

    do they reheat treat anvils , a hear that that’s a hard job

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