Yes, and the idea is "no." They don't mix alloy steels that way. There is an order, and there are fluxes (some constituents are pellets coated like M&M's with fluxing and intersolute materials). They don't use scrap to make tool steel. There is a lot of metallurgical control required to make anything worthwhile.
Without remelt capabilities (electroslag or vacuum-arc remelt; don't even consider it), the quality you could produce would be so much lower than any European- or American-made tool steel that it wouldn't be worthwhile. You'd be competing with China at the junk end of the scale.
Sorry to sound so discouraging, but you're barking up the wrong tree. Why don't you consider getting a bunch of people together to buy in some quantity?
But not necessarily not worth trying... Could do it the way they did in the 1700s - take mild steel bars (they used wrought iron), chop them up into 1/4" cubes, rods, whatever, bury in charcoal and heat for a few days to give a good thick case hardening on the stuff, then melt in a crucible furnace (yes you can melt steel with coal or charcoal). Hopefully the center will still be soft and mild, while the outer layer will be near cast iron in carbon content; when these melt together, you get something inbetween.
Begs the question, why didn't they just take wrought and a little cast iron, melt the one and pour the other into it. Maybe they couldn't get it quite hot enough to melt the nearly-pure steel. (What a difference just 100°F makes!) Or they didn't make the connection.. but this was still going on during the 19th century when they had the chemistry. And then Bessemer came along...
-- "That's for the courts to decide." - Homer Simpson Website @
If the idea is to recreate the processes that produced the tool steels of the 19th century, then have at it. If the idea is to save money by making your own tool steel, and if you're comparing it with a modern tool steel, then it ain't gonna happen.
Those experiments are fun and satisfying. But I got the impression that the poster was just trying to save money.
Great idea, but far from modern high quality tool steel. The tool steels of today are not necessarily just carbon steel and don't necessarily rely on the carbon cycle for hardness. There are tool steels that have no iron in their makeup.
Precipitation hardening steels are a good example of steels that don't exclusively rely on carbon for hardness. Are you familiar with Vasco-Max? Vasco-Max 350 is capable of tensile strength of 350,000 PSI. Try getting that out of carbon steel.
I agree with Ed, trying to duplicate super alloy tool steels of today in order to save a few bucks is insanity. Doing it for fun, on the other hand, would be an interesting experience, one that would give the experimenter tremendous respect for those that are making fine quality tool steels with reliable characteristics using modern technology and sophisticated equipment. Some things are best left to those with knowledge and proper tooling, particularly for analysis in process to control the end result.
If you are ordering from the tool supply houses, the price is extremely high. You can get a better price directly from the tool steel houses, but you need quantity. I bought 500lbs of A-2 last week for about 75 cents a pound. Some of the tool steel houses will sell remnants cheap. I try to keep at least a 1000lbs of tool steel on hand at all times. I have an aversion to paying full price and am always on the lookout for deals. Tough to find a deal on a small quantity.
I remember buying a length of S-7 hollow bar that had a shipping sticker from from McMaster-Carr on it. From Mc-M it would have cost $140. I paid $20 for it. You just gotta get out there and dig for the deals.
Aside from the aforementioned 'mahogany pistons' I think the comment was more along the lines of, 'steel' is often defined as having iron as a constitutent. Stellite might be a perfectly fine cutting tool, but like the cemented carbides (tungsten, cobalt, carbon) it had no iron and as such might be excluded from the 'tool steel' designation on that basis alone.
The cemented carbides are not considered tool steel, so I would propose that stellite might also not be.
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Agreed. Not steel as such, but commonly used as tool steel before tungsten carbide became so popular. The point is that "tool steel" doesn't necessarily contain iron, no more than an iron found in a women's list of household tools does. I suggest that type of iron is made of aluminum.
I think that, for the most part, all of us know and understand that steel is an alloy of iron and carbon in which the carbon is dissolved in the iron, it is not found in a free state, such as it is in gray or ductile iron.
Carbon in SOLUTION, to be exact, not just carbon. Yep, I know that, just as you know that Stellite tool bits are commonly referred to as tool steel. You know, like aluminum irons. Makes no sense, but we still say it.
In 30 years in the business, I've never heard of Stellite tool bits referred to as "tool steel." Jargon and terminology vary all over the industry, like the names of sunfish to fishermen, but that's one that's escaped me.
Usually, they just call it Stellite. In the aerospace industry, it's recognized as a superalloy.