Tools where cutting action would cause normal carbon steel to heat to
point where temper is lost.
(high) carbon steel is used for hand tools
HSS is used for power tools
The above is probably mostly wrong - someone better informed will be
along in a minute
BE, you actually got it exactly right. :)
The higher speed at which they could run their cutting tools was so
much higher they friggin named it after the action. :) Back around
1900 "big sales talk" was the -in thing- to do too tho. ;)
Guy, narrow down what it is you want to know.
Alvin in AZ (a tool-steel freak;)
First time for everything
funny thing is, I can pound heavy enough to ruin temper of cold chisels
(cutting 1/2" plate), and my drill press runs slowly enough to use
carbon steel bits (converted to chain drivc at c. 60 rpm - I feed
Sloooww and drill through pretty much anything)
 OK, you got me. not quite, but still gets plenty hot.
~somewhat HSS is also commonly used for hand tools these days (just
not the good ones). As you rightly say, the defining factor of HSS is
that it still holds temper when it's hot. So if you take a Cr-Vn steel
and grind it quickly and crudely to sharpen it, it will still hold its
temper when a plain carbon steel would have gone soft. So cheaper
woodworking tools may be made this way, just because it reduces the
time to sharpen them and thus the manufacturing cost, even though
they're nominally a more expensive raw steel.
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