Just a little reminder to all about the above....be very
positive that your have annealed the tool before 'striking it
gently with a hammer'. The bead block nipples are very brittle and
will easily break of if the tool tip is not very soft.
Until recently, I have always had trouble annealing steel. It is
hard to know what temperature is best and heating to cherry red and
air cooling seems to cool the metal fast enough that at least some
hardening occurs. I can tell when I made a boo-boo by the way my
files and sawblades bite or do not bite.
Some time ago, I purchased some "garnet sand" from Rio for holding
small pieces for soldering. It did not work for me (perhaps that is
why I can't any longer find it in their catalog) however, I tried
using it as a quench for annealing with great results. I just heat
my steel to red hot then poke it into the dry sand for two or three
minutes. The sand acts as insulation allowing slower cooling. I
suspect that the pumice powder (502-048/3) that Rio presently lists
in their catalog would work as well. I have no science or citations
to support this, but it works for me.
Howard Woods Eagle, Idaho where another spectacular sunrise is still
about an hour and a half away.