I have been making knives as a hobby mostly for myself and friends for some time now. I have been using mostly carbon steels such as UHB20C/1095, O1, 5160. I want to step up my game with more exotic steels such as AEB-L, RWL-34, ELMAX, D2 and N690Co.

Due to lack of dedicated equipment I found a Steel Heat Treatment company that will help me with quenching, cryo, and tempering. The only problem is that they only offer 'pressurised nitrogen quenching'.

Could you please tell me which of the stainless steels above can be quenched this way?
I could not find any information on Bohler and Uddeholm websites regarding this method.

  • Welcome to Arts & Crafts! Please take the tour and have a look at the help center. Unfortunately I cannot help you with your question, but have you contacted the company about it? With some luck they can provide you with a substanciated answer. If you do, you can post the result as an answer to your own question. That helps future users who have the same question and is very much appreciated.
    – Elmy
    May 13, 2020 at 10:38
  • Are you forging the steel or just shaping it? From what I have seen it is an involved process to make a forged steel knife with the repeated heating and quenching and hammering and so on... very different from industrial finishing of metal products.
    – rebusB
    May 14, 2020 at 17:50
  • Check out this link as it goes into the science of quenching and may provide some answers...Gas Quenching - an overview...
    – rebusB
    May 14, 2020 at 17:55
  • The blade not be forged, just cut to shape from a piece of steel May 15, 2020 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


Any martensitic stainless ( all cutlery grades ) can be cooled / quenched in nitrogen gas. I presume it is gas and has significant circulation to speed cooling . The cutlery grades are all have very good hardenability and do not need rapid cooling. In my experience , nitrogen gas cooling would be very unusual ( not needed ) for martensitic stainless. It would be useful for quenching titanium ( type 5 , 6 Al , 4 V ). If you mean liquid nitrogen , no problem , probably . The very rapid cooling can cause cracking of complicated shapes. Various claims are made of the advantages of cryogenic cooling, some are true . But the possible advantages would not show up in a personal knife; they would show up in an industrial application cutting many tons of material per day. HOWEVER , heating / austneitizing in a nitrogen atmosphere can be dangerous. Nitrogen can be absorbed into the metal and stabilize the austenite phase producing a soft surface.

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