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Tutorials - Case Hardening a Hammer
Case hardening (or surface hardening) is the process of hardening the surface of a low carbon steel, by adding carbon into the material's surface, forming a thin layer of a harder/hardeneable alloy. This way we obtain some 1/10s of mm of hardened steel, without modifying the core hardness.
For this example I'm going to use to hammers my nephews made in high school. Since I'm they favorite uncle, they gave them to me to use. (Picture 1)

This method allows us to make manual tools with relatively ease by using a softer steel or to get new life to older tools that already lost their original supericial hardness.

To start I'm gonna need a container, so I use this square section iron pipe. (Picture 2)

I add powdered vegetal charcoal mixed with 10% of regular kitchen salt. (Picture 3)

Then I put one hammer head inside. (Picture 4)

Some more charcoal/salt mix. (Picture 5)

Then the other head. (Picture 6)

And keep adding powder til the pipe is filled. (Picture 7)

Then I weld close the cannister. (Pictures 8 and 9)
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After the can is closed, I put it on the oven at 900C for 2 hours. (Pictures 10 and 11)

Once the 2 hours passed, I retrieve it from the oven and open the welded end. (Picture 12)

As they come out of the can. (Picture 13)

After I get the surface carburized, I HT at 850C, with a second HT at 350C. (Pictures 14, 15 and 16)

The used steel was SAE 1030, and after this entire process I got an aproximate hardness of 56Rc
Tutorials - Case Hardening a Hammer   Tutorials - Case Hardening a Hammer   Tutorials - Case Hardening a Hammer   Tutorials - Case Hardening a Hammer   Tutorials - Case Hardening a Hammer   Tutorials - Case Hardening a Hammer   Tutorials - Case Hardening a Hammer   Tutorials - Case Hardening a Hammer
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Finished Hammers
Hardened hammer heads. (Picture 1)

Installed on the handles. (Picture 2)
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