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Making your own case hardening compound.

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The Merry Miller23/01/2012 20:08:30
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I know that "Kasenit" isn't around anymore (I think) but even if it was it would be still be pricey.
I propose making my own style of Kasenit from pulverised lumpwood charcoal and another magic ingredient.
I believe it may have been covered before on this forum but sod's law being what it is I can't track it down.
Can anybody remember what the additional substance or substances is or are?
 
Len P.
 
 
 
 
Stub Mandrel23/01/2012 21:02:56
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Apparently anything high in carbon will do - charcoal, sugar. I hear scorched leather chippings work well for the 'pack in a tin with the work' approach as the protein contains lots of nitrogen which gives a nitriding effect as well - that's a gunsmith's appropach I think.
 
I keep meaning to experiment.
 
Neil
 
 
Bazyle23/01/2012 21:06:29
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Chalk. CaCo3 Probably mostly as a binder but in heating it gives off CO2 which can keep oxygen away from the surface. If it has been partly 'burnt' the CaO produced might help bind the mix if fresh.
And I think it is bone charcoal so that there are no stray acids from the wood burning. Now I think of it the calcium connection there might be what gave them the idea of adding chalk.
You could probably try adding anything that might be lying around in a 19th century workshop. Honey decomposes via sugar to carbon.

Edited By Bazyle on 23/01/2012 21:23:18

JohnF23/01/2012 21:42:42
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Bi-carbonate of soda is one "accellerator" there are others but I will have to look up--memory a little hazy! If you want me to do this please email me. Somewhere I have a formula. It will work without the addatives but takes longer to achieve the same case thickness. I use bone charcoal for large items and Kasenit for small items .
 
Just one thought are you wanting to use in similar manner to Kasenit or are you going to ue a muffle furnace? Different additives are used in Kasenit some being cyanide compounds and you will have difficulty obtaining them and I would not recommend for home use-pretty obviouse why.
 
John
 
David Littlewood23/01/2012 23:13:20
533 forum posts
Len,
 
Also this thread.
 
It seem the company which made Kasenit went out of business. There was a lot of concern expressed about it containing "cyanide" but as far as I can make out it was actually sodium ferrocyanide (sodium hexacyanoferrate II) which is fairly harmless; the equivalent potassium salt is sometimes used in photography, though not as often as the ferricyanide (hexacyanoferrate III). Either of these hexacyanoferrates will however release highly toxic HCN if you heat them with aqueous solutions of acid. Ensure good ventilation and don't put it with any acid! Might also have contained some charcoal, I'm not sure.
 
If you look in one of the Guy Lautard books (The Machinist's Bedside Reader) - can't remember which of the 3 it was - there is a very good discussion of the process, including how to get the very decorative finish often seen on high-grade firearms.
 
David
Steve Garnett24/01/2012 00:13:41
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Posted by David Littlewood on 23/01/2012 23:13:20:
 
There was a lot of concern expressed about it containing "cyanide" but as far as I can make out it was actually sodium ferrocyanide (sodium hexacyanoferrate II) which is fairly harmless; the equivalent potassium salt is sometimes used in photography, though not as often as the ferricyanide (hexacyanoferrate III).

That was my understanding as well. If you can find a bulk food manufacturer you might find a way to obtain some - it's additive E535 in the current EU-approved Food Standards Agency list.

_Paul_24/01/2012 01:36:48
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Blackgates do their own brand of case hardening powder i've been using it for a while now with good results, it seems identical to "Kasenit" in it's application and results.
 
Regards
 
Paul
Terryd24/01/2012 07:16:53
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Posted by _Paul_ on 24/01/2012 01:36:48:
Blackgates do their own brand of case hardening powder i've been using it for a while now with good results, it seems identical to "Kasenit" in it's application and results.
 
Regards
 
Paul

Hi Paul,

Do they have an online catalogue, I couldn't find one on their site, or do we have to buy a printed one?
 
Regards
 
Terry
JasonB24/01/2012 08:21:52
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Paper catalogue only Terry but I have just sent e-mails of what I want and got it no problem or phone them
 
They do a 400g tin for 11.75 +VAT
 
Or Chronos do it in IKG tubs if you want to order online and it will last several lifetimes
 
And EKP do 50g and 100g pots
 
J
Ian S C24/01/2012 10:00:03
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Been looking in my old books again. Found a couple of recipies. (1) bits of leather and hoof cut in 1" squares, adding 3 layers of salt. Proportions; 4 Lb of salt to 20Lb of leather and 15Lb of hoof, adding about 1 gallon of urine after the box is packed. The box is well sealed, and placed in the furnace for about 12hrs, it is then taken out and quickly put in water length wise to prevent warping.
(2)Directions to make Sheehan's patent process for steelifying iron.
1. Common salt, 45Lb.
2. Sal soda disolved in about 14 gal water.
3. 3 bushels of no.3 hardwood charcoal, sifted through a no.4 sieve, put the carcoal in a water tight box.
4. 5Lb black oxide of manganese, and 5Lb common black rosin, pulverize to a fine powder and mix with the charcoal.
5. Take the liquid made by dissolving nos. 1 and 2 and thoroughly wet the charcoal, and mix well.
Use a wrought iron box. That would make enough to keep most of the model engineers in UK, or most any were in case hardening material for years. Ian S C
The Merry Miller24/01/2012 10:18:51
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That sounds just the job Ian
 
Len. P.
 

Clive Hartland24/01/2012 13:47:28
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I have read the details with some interest, I have at times used leather shards as a case hardening compound.
Small pieces of leather from an old shoe is fine and put the item (small) into a piece of tube and cook in a flame or fire for an hour or so. The result is very good hardness on the surface and it is blemish free.
It is good enough for wear resistant parts and they do not become brittle.
 
Clive
colin hawes24/01/2012 15:11:36
495 forum posts
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I have had great success using charcoal from a bonfire and slivers of leather from an old belt to case harden a roller bearing race for an ancient vehicle. The part was packed in a tobacco tin and sealed with yellow clay from my garden. It is important to seal the tin. I can't remember how long the tin was kept at red heat but I got a deep enough case to grind the part in my lathe after hardening.
_Paul_24/01/2012 18:01:46
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Posted by Terryd on 24/01/2012 07:16:53:
Posted by _Paul_ on 24/01/2012 01:36:48:
Blackgates do their own brand of case hardening powder i've been using it for a while now with good results, it seems identical to "Kasenit" in it's application and results.
 
Regards
 
Paul

Hi Paul,

Do they have an online catalogue, I couldn't find one on their site, or do we have to buy a printed one?
 
Regards
 
Terry
 
Hi Terry,
 
Jason has answered your query the catalogue was £2.00 with my last order, you could give them a call the lady I spoke to was very helpful.
 
I am also told some advertised case hardning powders aren't the same as Kasenit inasmuch as they dont adhere to the metal and produce the familiar "sticky" coating also results seem to be less consistent/reliable.
There was another post about the success (or lack of) of certain suppliers powders a little while ago.
 
Regards
 
Paul
 
 
Stub Mandrel24/01/2012 19:14:15
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I agree nitriding is a different process, but I can't see any reason for why high-protein substances (bone, leather) or adding urine if not to add nitrogen to the mix?
 
It seems that the 'tufftride' type processes use ammonia and don't appear to need special steel alloys to work... see Wikipedia "ferric nitrocarburizing"
 
Neil

Edited By Stub Mandrel on 24/01/2012 19:24:06

jason udall24/01/2012 19:33:00
2008 forum posts
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..urea...etc.
This like any protein will produce ammonia on heating..less nitriding more a reducing atmoshere..might also keep carbon as carbon not as carbon monoide and carbon dioxide thus you should get carbon as vapour and no iron oxide (even brightening metal further)...
Btw japaneses swords are case hardened by adding rice straw between layers..then beating out and folding again...carbon folded into metal in very thin layers...7 folds means 128 layers...working at 1/2" would yield layers 4 thou or 100 mirons
John C25/01/2012 10:36:40
243 forum posts
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Also info at:
 
 
John
Ian S C25/01/2012 12:35:30
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I'v been looking on google, and Kasenit no 1, still seems to be around, its still available in NZ, and USA.
Found a supplier of a substitute in UK Knighton Tool Supplies (est 1979)
(1) Case Hardening Compound Beta No, 1. 1Kg UK Pound 39.05
(2) Case Hardening Compound Beta No. 1. 5Kg UK Pound 139.90
Ian S C
Doubletop12/02/2012 09:58:34
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"Posted by Ian S C on 25/01/2012 12:35:30:
I'v been looking on google, and Kasenit no 1, still seems to be around, its still available in NZ, and USA."
 
Ian
 
Any clues please where you saw this advertised in NZ?

Edited By Doubletop on 12/02/2012 09:59:14

Ian S C12/02/2012 11:26:02
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I saw it in George Henerys In Christchurch, they may have just had stock they hav'nt sold, next time I'm in town(maybe the end of the week), I'll check it out. I,v still got more than half a tin, so I won't bother about getting any more, but the old tin is getting a bit rusty, might need to get a new container before the bottom falls out. Ian S C

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