M2 Steel

I am a armature wood turner and a armature blacksmith. I wanted to take a try at making my own turning tools does anyone know a good source of m2 tool steel and good resources on how to harden it properly?

Reply to
Mark Russell
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Cool. :)

Man you gotta know I'm all-for guys doing stuff themselves, got my rear axle on my pickup apart right now, gonna replace all the bearings by myslef, if posible, with help, only if I need it.

But heat treating your own high speed steel ain't gonna pay off unless you got a lot of money to spend on equipment. Me, with what I have to work with, I can't even heat treat A2 tool steel and get it to be better than plain ol' O1, because A2 needs a half hour soak at a very specific temperature (1750 to 1775F).

All A2 needs is a temperature controlled electric furnace. (i got the parts just haven't got around to putting it together)

But that's only good for A2, won't even come close to what's needed for HSS.

The best edge holding knife blades to be had are those made from the "all hard" type power hacksaw blades. .100" are the thickest I know of in the US, but 3mm and 3.5mm are sold in Europe.

Too thin huh? :/

There's a "used tools" store in town and they've got what you could use, I bet, large lathe bits and all sorts of odd HSS and WC tooling, maybe check into a place like that in your area?

They are under "tools-used" in my local yellow pages.

Just to hold the wolves at bay... ;)

Yes, you -can- heat treat HSS with a torch.

And yes, it won't be any better than a really well done "torch heat treated and cold treated" hunk of old file (1.22%C steel).

To get the medium and high alloy steel's "increased potential" you need some fancy heat treating equipment. :/ That's a fact. :/

Adding a cold treatment to some plain high carbon steel can work wonders tho. I make knife blades that can "cut into stuff" like the teeth on a tap do.

Home heat treated F2 or O7 tool steels, since rounds will prob'ly work for you, will prob'ly beat just about everything shy of professionally heat treated HSS in edge holding. It's what they used for "finishing cuts" before HSS and WC got so cheap and plentiful.

I've been wanting to make some knife blades from F2 or O7 tool steel forever, but can't get it in sheet form. :/

I don't want F2 or O7 forged, I'd have to get "rounds" (or hex) sliced up and then the slabs surface ground.

Maybe some day?

Alvin in AZ

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Reply to
Mark Russell

Yes -

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Used this company before - custom lengths - and very nice surface. Once done - then you have it properly heat treated - many places in towns that do that and isn't much. Much better work.


Martin Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net NRA LOH & Endowment Member NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member

Mark Russell wrote:

Reply to
Martin H. Eastburn

I watched a TV program "Woodsmiths Shop" where he visited an Englishman now living in Eastern Tenn. The Englishman made a lathe gouge (1") from an old Chevy leaf spring. He used a farriers forge and did about 3 or 4 heating and tempering processes. From what I can remember (without finding and running the VCR again) he hot cut the spring to the shape with the tang and length. He heated the blank, and then used a swage block, the show host as the hammerman, and a 1" fuller to form the gouge. He reheated the gouge and let it cool in wood ash to reset the grain. When cool he reheated it again to very red, tested it with a magnet to make sure it was not magnetic, and fully submerged it in oil (motor oil) to squench it. Then he tested it with a file and it was so hard the file would not touch it. Too hard now, and too brittle. To temper it, he placed it back in the forge, tang first, with the round part out of the coal bed. As the gouge heated, the colors could be seen creeping up the gouge. When the 'straw' color was about 1/2" from the cutting end, he oil quenched it again. Then it was grinding to get the cutting angle and then sharpening. He turned a long wooden handle, bored a hole in the end, and used a mortising chisel to square the hole. He said he heated the tang and burned it in the hole, but this was not shown on the show. It seems almost all smiths use OCS (old car springs) as excellent cutting tool steel. Coil springs and torsion bars too.

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You could use something like 1095, which you could pick up at your local spring shop along with 5160 for scrap value or less if you are lucky. Part of the fun of smithing is learning how to make the steel do what you want it to do and heat treating is one of the skills which can be useful. Sometimes the knifemakers on this group get carried away as to what is required for smithed tools.(this is not a critisism, but requirements can be different) The difference between Rc45 and Rc52 are not usually relevent to someone making tools for themselves, but may be for knives for sale. I harden stuff by trial and error. I make quite good edges that hold quite well under normal circumstances(not moose skinning) just using the oxidation colours at different temperatures. I do avoid really exotic steels though. A lot of it is trial and error as well until you find the best colour for critical temperature, which is not always the loss of magnetism with some alloys, but most commonly. The oxide colour is also found by trial and error often for a particuliar steel. If you are not sure what to harden the steel in cut a slug off and water harden it if it doesnt fracture then it will probably water harden, if it does oil harden. Have fun, hammer often and learn from your unsucesses Doug

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Doug Roberts

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