Why Byington

Why should I go with Byington for heat treating my blades?

Byington Blades is the leader in the greater bay area for experienced heat treating, and has been so for over 60 years. In that time, we have developed a variety of heat treatments and services as well as worked with multiple alloys and materials for our customers and their parts to get them the results they need. We know the materials, we know the heat treatments, and we know how to give you quality results in a short amount of time.

How does shipping and handling work with your website?

Getting your blades to us is easy, we have worked out the following system for getting your blades to us and back to you as quickly as possible.

  • You package your blades and ship them to us through your choice of carrier.
  • Please watch the instructional shipping video for the correct way to package and ship your blades.
  • It is required that you DO NOT give your blades a sharp edge prior to heat treat. We can not process blades with a finished edge. Rough ground blades only. This not only prevents damage during shipping but the thin sharp edges of a blade can be subject to micro cracks during heat treatment.

  • Please print your receipt and include it in your package that is sent to us, so we can easily identify your order and process it in a timely manner.
  • Return shipping will be done through the USPS and that cost is covered by you at the time of checkout.
  • Extra shipping insurance is available at the time of checkout for an additional charge.
  • Our lead time is the time you can expect your blades to be in our shop and does not include the time in transit through the mail.

Process Information

Do you only do Air and Oil hardening steels?

No! We heat treat all sorts of materials, from standard carbon steels, to high alloy steels, aluminum alloys, titanium alloys, ceramics etc. We pride ourselves at our facility to be able to provide heat treatment for all sorts of materials. Currently Air and Oil hardening steels are the only ones listed due to the high demand from our customers.

Does it matter what I use to quench my blade?

Yes. Temperature and time at temperature are the two critical things to control in heat treatment, and quenching the blade is one example of that control. A quench medium (such as water, oil, air, etc.) extracts heat at a certain rate from the blade (i.e. Temperature and time at temperature). Every possible quench medium out there has a unique way of how it quenches each specific alloy out there. We at Byington Blades know what quench method works best for every alloy out there to get you the results you need.

Home Heat Treatment

Is using the “Color at Heat” method enough for my own at home heat treatment?

The two critical aspects of heat treating blades are TEMPERATURE and TIME at temperature. Staying within the right temperature range for the right time is important for steel and other metals to ensure they have the desired properties. The standard practice most blade makers use is home built forges to get the blade to a certain color at heat, then quench or forge and so forth. The difficulty in this is that it can be very difficult to ensure that the whole blade is getting the right temperature for the right time, such as knowing when the blade has been the right shade of red/yellow for the right amount of time. As an aerospace heat treater, we are responsible for ensuring that our furnaces account for these variables that can affect the outcome of the parts, such as a tight temperature tolerance, advanced temperature timer control, temperature uniformity in the furnace work zone, and so on. We can offer aerospace and defense industry level heat treatment for your blades by accounting for all of these factors.

Why do my blades keep breaking/snapping?

Usually when a steel alloy blade snaps or breaks it is due to the blade being in an unstable condition, containing untempered martensite. Martensite is very hard and strong, but also a very stressed out phase the steel gets in following a quench, making it very brittle. The tremendous amount of internal stress makes the blade very susceptible to breaking, even from the slightest pressure or force. Tempering is the main way to stabilize the material while keeping many of the beneficial properties of martensite. We at Byington take proper care to ensure the heat treatment and handling of your blades is done correctly to ensure they do not break.

Technical Data

What do martensite, pearlite, bainite, ferrite, austenite all mean?

Steel is an allotropic alloy, meaning that it can exist in different phases and is not limited to just one. That is why steel is able to be heat treated softer or harder, because temperature and time cause the steel to shift from one phase to another. Without getting too technical, all you really need to know is that each phase has its own characteristics for steel, and for blades you ideally want tempered martensite.

What is decarburization?

Decarburization is where the carbon atoms that make up a steel diffuse out of the surface and into the atmosphere at elevated temperature. This can lead to a loss of strength, cracking, and corrosion for a blade. This occurs due to the heated gases from the air reacting to the carbon in the steel, creating bi products that steal the carbon and move out into the atmosphere. At Byington, we protect our blades from decarburization by using furnaces that control their atmosphere, preventing any gases from entering that can contaminate and decarburize your blades.

What is retained austenite and why does cryo treatment help?

Retained austenite is the result of steel not fully transforming into martensite from a quench. This can make the blade softer or more prone to lose its shape over time from use. Cryogenics is a way to continue the quenching process, and draw out even more heat from the steel to transform the remaining austenite to martensite. It usually needs to be done rather quickly, otherwise the retained austenite will stabilize and the steel will need to be reheat treated.

Material Identification

What if I do not know my blade material?

No worries! It is something we run into very frequently. That is why we have our advanced method of material identification that uses electron spectroscopy to help our customers with this issue. It is a fancy way of using electromagnetic waves to read what alloying elements make up the material, and from there define what steel alloy it is. We can even provide a certification for the material identification if needed.

What other services do you offer?

We perform various forms of heat treatment, such as induction hardening, carburizing, nitriding, carbonitriding and almost any other heat treatment that involves a metal alloy. We also perform hardness testing, metallographic analysis, material identification, surface blasting and much more!


Here at Byington Blades we have developed custom fixtures and racking techniques to maintain tight tolerances for blade straightness. We can guarantee .030” on all blades that we heat treat. We pride ourselves on giving your blades the best treatment available.

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