Yeah what Trevor and the caffiened-up cat-guy said. ;)
Mostly so far they are thinking in terms of getting all that M2 has to offer. If you'll settle for not getting anymore out of the HSS than you could get from 1080 (or less sometimes?) then that's a different story. Many are doing HSS that way and claiming they can "forge it and heat treat it" etc but they aren't telling the whole story just repeating the good sounding parts IMO. ;)
M2 HSS is a high alloy steel, in that sense it's like D2 or 440C only more.
My personal example is, it's posible to get more from A2 than you can get from O1 but "not me" because I don't have the equipment to do that. I'm better off with O1, since I can get all O1 has to offer and that's better than half-assed A2. :)
Did you know-ed that already? :) A2 can kick O1's butt. A2 is based on Cr and O1 is based on Mn is the main reason.
I got lots of books including two versions of Tool Steel Simplified, you got any specific questions?
The problem with the books and mostly what I know about it too, is limited to what industry wants to know and they want "all they can get from it or nothing". TSS makes a big deal about switching steels to get what you need rather than to leave a steel too soft or too hard to make up for picking the wrong steel to start with.
Industry information not scrounger information. :/
There are guys out there "blacksmithing" the stuff, they would be your best source of information, I'd guess.
Would be kind of interesting to know just how much they really are able to "get out of M2" using modified blacksmithing techniques! :)
If you get some stuff figured out, get on here and tell us about it. :)
I noticed your post before about getting a shitload of M2 HSS and was wondering what you were going to do with it. :) Any of it thin enough for knife making "as is"? If so, that could be sold on rec.knives.
BTW, when the factory "does it" they do it good!... :)
Rake that knife through the hair on your arm in "mid hair" and it'll leave a bunch of them laying on the blade. Factory heat treated M2 just sharpens up real nice like that, given the chance.
Alvin in AZ (not a blacksmith, steel metallurgy for a hobby)