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This tutorial deals with the heat treatment of scorpers after grinding to shape and fitting the handle.

For anyone who does not know how to harden and temper tool steel here is my method of tempering scorpers. I first grind them to shape with a cutting bevel at the tip. Then I prepare a jam jar of water beside my torch for quenching, some prefer using oil, but I don't.

Then I heat the cutting end of the scorper so that the front half an inch glows red hot and immediately quench it in the water. Dry it and then rub the fire scale off the tip of the scorper so that about 1 inch of the cutting end is back to steel colour.

Then get a small pointed flame on your torch and direct the flame about an inch from the cutting point and watch the colours appear. They will travel along the blade tip and when the cutting tip is a light straw colour or pale orange, quench it in the water. If you miss the correct colour and it gets to being a blue on the tip you will have to repeat the whole process again, which is, red hot/quench/clean off scale/heat until straw colour and quench.

Rub all surfaces with emery paper and sharpen the cutting point on a fine stone, if needed I then polish the cutting surface with 4-0 grade emery paper, which will give a bright cut when the scorper is used.


Ready for hardening with a jar of water ready for quenching.



Heat the scorper to cherry red.



The tip is now red hot and ready for quenching



Quenched after heating.



Polish off the firescale after heat treatment.



The heat treated scorper is now polished and ready for tempering.



Gently heat the scorper to temper.



The scorper has achieved the correct colour and is now ready for quenching once again.



Polishing the scorper cutting surface



Scorper cutting face polished and ready for sharpening.



Sharpening the cutting edge.



An example of bright cutting using the newly hardened and tempered scorper.



Author:  James Miller FIPG



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