18 years ago
punch a hole, and ended up having to make a punch out of mild steel.
Those books are sure right when they say that such punches do not last
long even when they are cooled frequently. I really missed my alloy
steel punches (made out of salvaged 8 pt bolts). It would be nice to
have some junk punches that I could just carry with me in case I get
stuck without any.
So, there don't seem to be any more bolts available since there have
been no large car crashes recently in my neighborhood. Guess I have
to buy something :-). Someone referred me to the
Poor-Boy-Blacksmith-Tools store on E-bay, and there are old GM coil
springs for sale for $2.49 for 10" of 1/2" round or 8" of 5/8" round,
with a $1.00 handling fee, plus USPS postage. It states that these
pieces might be 5160, but the seller did not really know except that
they seemed to work well for punches or chisels. Then, I noticed that
Harbor Freight has a 12 punch and chisel set for $8.99 with their
standard low postage (HF shipping), but with sales tax. These are
assorted sizes in the correct size range. Obviously, I can reshape
some of them to square or slitting punches. Again, HF is unknown or
lower quality, but is their steel as (more?) reliable than the old car
coil spring? Is it safe (safer?) to reforge and reharden them?
Somebody in this group mentioned that it might be dangerous to use old
car springs for hand tools, since they may have residual cracking.
Might the Harbor Freight cheap chisel and punch set be a better deal,
despite the unknown steel pedigree? I am fairly certain that they are
better than mild steel, since my experience shows that to be marginal,
and only suitable for emergencies. Anyone tried those HF tools?