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topic 18577

Hardening 440 stainless


I'm in the process of making a center punch out of 440 stainless but, I'm not sure how to harden this metal, can I get it cherry red and quench it in oil or water, please help!

Gordon Mooney
- Billerica, Massachusetts

First of two simultanneous responses 2002

I think that there are better grades of SS for use as a center punch. As a faint memory serves me, you need to go hotter than a bright cherry which would be a lighter color. It will scale quite a bit also. They make special ss foil baggies and sheets for wrapping SS to keep the O2 off of it and thus a significant reduction in scale. Oil is better than water.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

Second of two simultaneous responses 2002


1) you download MIL-H-6875H, HEAT TREATMENT OF STEEL at A brief synopsis: 440C shall be hardened by austenizing (1900-1950 F)*, quenching (in oil, air, or aqueous polymer) and tempering (at 325 to 450 F, dependent on Rockwell Hardness). *the heating medium shall be so controlled as not to produce excessive decarburization. Of course, it shall also not produce carburization or nitriding.

2) find a qualified heat treater. Proper tempering is an essential safety consideration for items such as chisels.

Ken Vlach
- Goleta, California
contributor of the year honored Ken for his countless carefully
researched responses. He passed away May 14, 2015.
Rest in peace, Ken. Thank you for your hard work
which the finishing world continues to benefit from.

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