I am planning to make a blade for a handplane. It is my first time making a blade, so I have looked through Google and other resources and developed the following plan. I hope I have the sequence right; I would appreciate any wisdom, critiques or suggestions anyone can offer.
I have already purchased O1 tool steel from McMaster-Carr. It is 1/4" thick x 1-1/4", which will be the blade dimensions. It is cut to length at 4-1/2" (it can be shortened if necessary, that's not a critical length.) I have put a bevel on the blade with a grinder and belt sander.
I am planning to build a "coffee-can forge" based on Jim Wilson's economical design ---For safety's sake, I'll probably set the forge up on my ashphalt driveway so it's outside.
I'll stick the blade in the forge and heat it all up until the blade turns cherry red. I have read that wrapping it in stainless steel foil can reduce scale, but I really have no way to tell whether the steel is to temperature other than to look at it, which the foil would prevent. So unless someone says otherwise, I'll leave the foil off. Once it's cherry red, I'll use a magnet to ensure there's no pull. I'm not sure what kind of magnet to use --- I have one of those telescoping magnets that you use to retrieve nuts and bolts from tight workspaces; will that work? I could pick up a more substantial magnet cheap from Harbor Freight, but I am concerned that it will attach to the hot metal and I'll have a project trying to get the magnet to separate from the blade.
As soon as there's no magnetic pull, I'll dump it in the quench, blade tip first and straight down. I'll probably pick up a one-gallon metal bucket and fill it with used motor oil or some canola oil. (I know it needs to be heated to about 120 degrees; can I just do this on a stove top with a candy thermometer?) I know I need to move the blade around in the oil --- should I swirl it around, or just dip it up and down in different places?
I know I need to get the blade down to around 120 degrees; how long will this typically take?
Once the blade is cooled down, I'll clean off the oil and then stick it in the oven at 400 degrees for 2 hours. Then cool. Then rinse and repeat (the oven process) a couple more times.
I have read that the scale can be removed at that point by boiling some vinegar, from heat, and letting the blade soak in it for a couple hours, then brushing it off.
Then it's down to sharpening and honing.
Does that sound about right? Also, where's a convenient place to get a set of tongs? I know, I know, I should probably make some myself, but unless they cost a lot, I'd rather make blades than tongs.