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post #1 of 23 Old 02-26-2010, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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tool steel

just a quick question for you all, what is hte best tool steel out there to make turning tool with. please price is not an issue. thanks guys
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post #2 of 23 Old 02-27-2010, 09:18 AM
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For turning tools, there are two characters that we value most - wear resistance and toughness. We are turning wood not steel, therefore hardness and red hardness are not important.
You can see some of the comparison in this chart:
http://www.crucibleservice.com/datash/ds10Vv7b.pdf

M2 is the High Speed Steel - most of the Sheffield turning tools.

CPM 15V has the best wear resistance, but not as tough, likely to break. Jerry Glaser used to have tool made out of this steel. The later production was just the tips; the shaft was made out of different steel. My guess was because the gouge snapping.

The best compromise is the CPM 10V -Thompson Lathe Tools. It has roughly 3 times the wear resistance with the same toughness as M2 HSS.

But all these high end tool steels need very precisely controlled heat treatment. They are beyond the capability of home shops.
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post #3 of 23 Old 02-27-2010, 12:50 PM
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If your going to make your own tools and don't have high end heat treating equipment then I would just use a good high carbon tool steel. You can heat treat these at home with ordinary tools.
If you want the best steel and have the equipment then the particle metal steel from Crucible metals is the steel to use. That's what the best tools are made from today. It does require some very precise heat treating however.
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post #4 of 23 Old 02-27-2010, 02:19 PM
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I have been using M2 HSS, from Crucible. I harden and temper with a two burner forge and I think these gouges I turn out are as good as they get for a layman. They stay sharp and cut very well. I have no proof that these gouges are very good except to say I no longer even use my gouges I bought. The steel is pricey but worth every penny in my opinion I tried a bunch of different types of steel the past couple years trying to find the best and this is it. Mitch
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post #5 of 23 Old 02-27-2010, 05:07 PM
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To me it is important there are only 2 things I look for in a turning tool.

1. High Speed Steel - The exact hardness is not important to me.

2. Must be EXTREMELY sharp. I find myself sharpening turning tools a little more often than most craftsman would, but to me it is worth it.

There are some great brands out there. I like Robert Sorby and I also like Pinnacle. I have used others as well and have had good success with them too, as long as they are very sharp.

-Rory-

Rory - The Greentiques Solution Guy

Please visit my blog at http://thegreentiquessolution.blogspot.com/ It is for people who are interested in working with their hands, stimulating the economy, and cleaning up the planet.
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post #6 of 23 Old 02-28-2010, 10:10 AM
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I have been playing around with making tools for a long time. Truth be told I use my Thompson tools all the time. It's just hard to beat them. The ones I make are for experimentation sake or hollowing scrapers which are easy to make and don't really need the latest steel. Doug Thompson has spent a lot of time and energy developing fine line of tools out of state of the art metal. http://www.thompsonlathetools.com/
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post #7 of 23 Old 02-28-2010, 04:03 PM
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Could also try a leaf spring from an old car.
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post #8 of 23 Old 03-01-2010, 10:20 AM
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Lawn mower blades make good tools if you have the cutting and forging capabilities.
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post #9 of 23 Old 03-01-2010, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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i have a forge so im wondering if a leaf spring would work
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post #10 of 23 Old 03-02-2010, 05:19 AM
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Quote:
i have a forge so im wondering if a leaf spring would work
Spring steel will work, but it wont hold any edge like drill rod steel will.
Better you hunt around for some drill rod as it can be hardened and tempered using water as a cooling medium. But anything over say 3/4" thickness its safer to use oil.

I would probably only use spring steel for a skew chisel as it will take a reasonable edge and its usage is a lot kinder on the edge than say a gouge.

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post #11 of 23 Old 03-02-2010, 05:37 AM
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I thought I'd pitch in my 2 cents (I'm a full time smith and I saw the word forge),so here's a couple of things from my experience. Lawnmower blades are not a very good grade of tool steel(in my experience anyway). Leaf springs are a pretty tough steel-they have to withstand flex and hold weight. If you are going to forge tool steel, you need to pay close attention to the proper forging temperatures. If you forge it too hot, you will burn out the alloying material which will make it liable to fail in use. If you forge it too cold (cold can be 1500 degrees depending on the steel)you can build up internal stress which will make the tool fail in use. I forge all my own chisels,punches and drifts. I buy tool steel new from Burgon Tool Steel (1-800-258-7106), they are reasonably priced and do small quantities. The most important thing that you need to do after forging the steel in the proper temperature range is heat treat and temper it properly. I recommend reading "Skills of a Blacksmith Volume 1" by Mark Aspery. He wrote a very thorough chapter on understanding heat treating. The reason why you want to be careful with forging tools is that if they fail in use you can be badly hurt. For instance a turning tool-when the tool snaps while turning where will the pieces go-into your body is a possibility.
I forge a lot of tools that are struck-cold chisel,hot work chisels, wood cutting chisels, etc. Early on in making tools I did not heat treat a chisel and it failed when I was using it. When you are striking a tool with a hammer and it fails, the pieces of steel come off at a great rate of speed and can penetrate through your clothes and stick in you.
I used to use a lot of reclaimed steel in my tools early in my career until it was brought to my attention that it can be a risky proposition. You don't know what the internal stresses are in the piece of steel you are using-ever see a broken leaf spring?
On the other hand if you have no money,reclaimed steel is a bargain. I buy mainly H13 (a hot work steel) and 4340 for my forging tools. Woodworking tools (chisels anyway) I use S1(a good steel that can withstand being struck). I buy a 6 foot length of 4340 3/4" for about 25 bucks or so-pretty cheap considering the safety issue of making tools. IFORGEIRON.com is a great resource also.
Sorry to run on so long, but I thought it might help someone.
If you have any question, please ask-I'd like to be of assistance.
Feel free to send a personal message also.
Cheers,
Mark Emig

Last edited by smithingman; 03-02-2010 at 05:40 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #12 of 23 Old 03-02-2010, 09:27 PM
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Thanks Mark As a learning Smithy I found it very interesting and useful. I've made a lot of tools, probably not up to your standards but so far they have all worked just fine. I quoted the lawn mower blade steel based on another smithy's recommendation. I suppose there could be a lot of variation in the steel used for these blades. I've used leaf springs and they work for what I've used them for.
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post #13 of 23 Old 03-03-2010, 02:53 AM
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This thread has got me interested in alloy steels. Can you suggest a site telling us the different properties of 1053 1050 etc.?
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post #14 of 23 Old 03-03-2010, 06:29 AM
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Hi All,
I wasn't trying to say to not use lawnmower blades etc-just to be careful with forging them and other reclaimed steels. When I started smithing 16 or so years ago, I was flat broke-I used reclaimed steel for everything. Coil springs make good tools and chisels and such-plus they are closer in size to your finished tool so there is less forging involved. I used to use used jackhammer bits-very tough stuff.
The main problem with using junkyard steel is getting a consistent supply. Each different kind of tool steel has different heat treatment requirements. the material used in leaf springs and such varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. If you use the wrong heat treatment on different steels (i.e. using oil quench on water hardening steel) you will not get good results-read tool failure and injury.
Having said that, if you can't afford new material, take basic precautions-spark test your material to figure out what it is,don't even think of using broken anything for material and use proper heat treatment. I still have some tools that I made from reclaimed material a long time ago that I still use today.
Carpenter Steel used to have a great site with full information sheets on all their steels including forging ranges and what each steel is recommended for.
IFORGEIRON.com is a wealth of information on tool steel and heat treatment. Some of the guys on there are professionals in metallurgy and can provide far more information than I. I know just enough to not hurt myself and make good tools. The amount of technical stuff in tool steels is mind boggling-whenever I have a question I check with the real techno geeks in the metallury area. IFORGEIRON.com is the same as this forum- a bunch of cool people interested in something that will help anybody who needs it.
Hope I helped,
Mark Emig
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post #15 of 23 Old 04-23-2010, 10:15 PM
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Since we're talking about turning tool steel, I was wandering if the steel in the Thompson's Tools was comparable to steel used in the Hamlet ASP2030 line of turning tools sold by Craft Supply? They are both suppose to last 3 times as long as standard High Speed Steel. Or do Thompson's Tools compare better to the Hamlet ASP2060 or Henry Taylor Kyro steel? Both of these are suppose to last 6 times as long as standard High Speed steel. I'm not considering buying the ASP2030, ASP2060, or the Kyro from Craft Supply because of the high prices. But if the Thompson's Tools are made from a steel equivalent to ASP2030, then they are a good value.
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post #16 of 23 Old 04-24-2010, 12:08 AM
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It all comes down to the Vanadiun content of the steel the higher percentage the longer the edge lasts. The 2060 has 6 + percentage and everything else is lower... the cryo is still the standard steel with a cryogenic treatment which doesn't make it a super steel but the price sure does go up. The A11 has 9.75% Vanadium and then it has good heat treatment with cryogenics, because it stays out of catalogs the cost is lower. This is my way of saying they want to much for turning tools.
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post #17 of 23 Old 04-24-2010, 08:52 AM
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I'm guessing the "A11" tool steel you mention is that used in Thompson's Tools. I didn't know about Thompson's when I bought my "Artisan" line of tools from Craft Supply. Thompson's Tools are about the same price as what I paid. I hate to just pitch the bowl gouges I have, so would it be better to use the softer steel tools for roughing and then get an A11 tool for finishing, or vice versa? If getting an A11 for roughing, would you get a 5/8" bowl gouge or just stick with the 1/2"?
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post #18 of 23 Old 04-24-2010, 08:45 PM
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No need to guess. Doug Thompson is Thompson Tools
http://www.thompsonlathetools.com/products.asp
Your non-Thompson tools may be in the same hardness range as A-11 steel. What characteristics woodturners value on the A-11 tool steel is its wear resistance. They stay sharp longer; you can turn more without going back to the grinder.
The deciding factor would be the flute shape.
As I get older I am more skeptical about the claims & catch phrases in advertising. A lot of them bend the numbers to confuse consumers. High speed steel or stainless steel are general terms; there are many different grades for different applications. Some of the most reputable companies like Honda, John Deere, Toro were all involved in the lawn mower class action law suit about false claims in horse power.
I am also confused about "Cryo". Some of the advertising, they don't even mention what type of steel they were. Cryogenic process can improve the quality of tool steel. But "cryo" junk is a junk, just a better junk.
I have more faith in word of mouth.
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post #19 of 23 Old 04-25-2010, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djg View Post
would you get a 5/8" bowl gouge or just stick with the 1/2"?
I like the 1/2 diameter the best but some go with the larger 5/8... no matter what size be sure to get the "V" shape flute.
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post #20 of 23 Old 04-25-2010, 12:44 PM
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Thanks Doug,
I didn't mean to speak about you in the third person, I just didn't want to direct the question to you in case you get tired of answering questions.
Back to my question: would you use a harder steel tool for roughing and then use a milder steel for finishing? Or vice versa. I've heard, unofficially, that a milder steel tool can be honed sharper than a harder one. Might be a misconception. And you'll probably just say use only one or the other, but I guess I trying to find a place for both (maybe silly?).
Lastly the V-shaped design, is there any advantages?
Thanks

P.S. To the original poster: I didn't mean to steal your thread, but I had similiar questions.

Last edited by djg; 04-25-2010 at 12:46 PM.
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