This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Heat the steel to a brown red and plunge into soft water, river water being the best. Care should be taken, however, not to heat over brown red, otherwise it will be hard when immersed. The steel will be soft enough to be cut with ease if it is plunged in the water as soon as it turns red.
First heat the steel lightly by means of charcoal until of a cherry-red shade, whereupon it is withdrawn to be put quickly into ashes or dry charcoal dust until completely cooled. The steel may also be heated in the forge to a red cherry color, then hammered until it turns blue and then plunged into water.
To accomplish the object quickly, a drill of cast steel should be made, the point gradually heated to the red, the scales taken off, and the extremity of the point immersed at once in quicksilver; then the whole quenched in cold water. Thus prepared, the drill is equal to any emergency; it will bore through the hardest pieces. The quantity of quicksilver needed is trifling.
Dissolve in 150 parts of vinegar, sulphate of copper, 30 parts; alum, 8 parts; kitchen salt, 11 parts. Add a few drops of nitric acid. According to whether this liquid is allowed to act a longer or shorter time, the steel may be engraved upon deeply or the surface may be given a very ornamental, frosted appearance.
Take a very clean file and file over the flame of an alcohol lamp. If the filed piece is made of steel, little burning and crackling sparks will be seen. If it consists of iron, the sparks will not crackle.
STEEL, OXIDIZED: See Plating.
STEEL PLATING: See Plating.
See Cleaning Preparations and Methods.