What type of steel do you use for your tools?


Hand tools?

I have only made a couple of hammers, both were 1045. Seems pretty nice :slight_smile:

For tools I have used 1045 too but I find I have trouble getting them hard enough sometimes. What do other people use?

To be honest I find it hard to find Tool steel suppliers where I am.
So I’ve had great success using quality scrap, by that I am talking about, spring steel, drive shafts, fork lift tines etc.
Getting the grips of heat treatment has taken a while but mainly I oil quench.
I always wear safety glasses (at least for the first few hits until I’ve given the new tool a good hammering).
I’ve made some fab punches, fullers and various power hammer tooling using the above steels. I’ve no idea what grade of steel I am using but as long as I am careful when using the finished product, Its cost next to nothing to forge these tools and if they break or wear out I will make some more!
I expect I will be told this should not be done because its dangerous etc but it works for me!!!

When I was blacksmithing more or less regularly I made punches, drifts, and some small forming dies. I used A-1 & O-1 as it was cheap and the store I bought it at had many profiles. I also used old rod bolts from motor rebuilds, concrete nails, railroad spikes, and leaf springs to do the same. I have no idea what steel those were though.

Hey Johnnie - So do you primarily oil quench first with your scrap, or go through the cycle of different heat treats if the oil doesn’t work out (like if oil doesn’t harden, try a water quench next, if that doesn’t work, try a air hardening next).

I got some mystery steel lying about the shop, spark test shows some good carbon in it. I was thinking the route I’d go was oil, water, air (since air takes the longest) for quenching to try to see what works.

Hey Dusty - what rockwell does the A-1 and O-1 get to? Speaking of A-1 too, I got some in my shop… How did you go about your hardening process with it? Just lay it out?

I can’t answer for johnny but I get 01 up to 62 Rockwell then tempered to 58 usually, the air hardener I use is always KE960, the KE stands for kayser Ellison, comes annealed and gets to about 48 to 50 ish straight out the fire with no heat treatment needed, its a tungsten chrome vanadium, very good hot-worker, farriers use it as stamping steel, we get it here in 1 inch round from farrier supplies,

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