Quick question of curiousity here. What's the most expensive kind of steel you guys have ever seen, per pound? What's the craziest, most expensive stuff out there? For tools, guns, armour... or even for backhoe teeth :-)?
The most expensive *commercially available* steel I've even seen is
Cricible's CPM Rex 121, although it must have come down recently,
because it's even being sold for making knife blades. It's an extreme
As for steel used in structural applications, the maraging grades are
'way up there.
Just checking one place for the Rex 121 (Alpha Knife Supply), a 0.142"
thick slab, 23.0" long and 6.0" wide, is $394.00. That must be for
making some kind of nasty little sword, I guess.
When it first came out, most of it was sold for making gear hobs.
Those blanks were a lot more expensive then.
OnLine Metals will sell you 3 ft. long bar, 1.5" diameter, of maraging
steel for $920.51.
If you buy metal from these and in little chunks you pay more
and a lot more.
I used to buy AR500 (expensive) by the 4x10' have it cut into 4
so I could carry it. 3/8" thick weighs like 1/2" A36. It is
extremely dense and full of exotic metal. It is a registered
product. (with the FBI).
I bought mine from a MILL company. They barge the large sheets
in and use 80' rail cars to tote them from the barge to their
Well, Crucible CPM Rex 121 is hot-isostatically-pressed powdered
metal. You can put their biggest pieces -- a lot of them -- into the
back seat of a Fiat 500.
As for maraging steel, most customers are governments. We embargoed
maraging steel to Iran, because one of its critical uses is in making
It's not something that you buy in large quantities unless you're
making ICBMs, air-superiority fighters, or equipment for making
There's a growing use for it in 3D printing, but that's another story.
I wouldn't call either of them "craft." They're just very expensive,
special-purpose steels. Rex 121 is a tool steel, sometimes called a
"bridge material," bridging the gap between ordinary HSS and tungsten
carbide; maraging has an extraordinary combination of properties
(extremely high strength, combined with ductility) that sometimes
justifies its very high cost.