Got an excellent deal today-
At work, there's a new punch operator that is not very experienced with the machines, and he mangaged to damage a whole lot of HSS punches and dies over the last two or three months. The owner goes south for the winter, and the vice president wasn't looking forward to the hassle of explaining how all that tooling got damaged (evidently, the owner is understandably touchy about things like that.)
Knowing that, I figured it couldn't hurt to ask if she needed someone to make all that stuff go away quietly- since it was only worth the value of regular scrap steel to the company (and a tiny fraction of what we toss out anyways,) she let me take it home for making my turning tools.
So, I've got a 5-gallon pail about level full with about 200# (just an estimate, of course) of used HSS. About half of it is punches about8" long, and ranging in diameter from 1/2" to 1" round, and the rest are heavy solid HSS dies about 5" in diameter and 2-3" thick. There are a few odd heavy-duty springs and assorted tubes as well. With a total cost of... absolutely nothing. And I got the boss out of a potential jam as a bonus. I figure the punches will make good chisels, and the dies could be used for any number of things, even if I end up machining them rather than whacking them with a hammer. Some of the oddball punches might work nice for forming hot metal as well.
Now I just need to learn how to forge it- but there's plenty there to account for even a fairly steep learning curve.