steel suited for chisels

Hi all, it's my first post on rec.woodworking!
My question is, what kind of steel works well for chisels? Is chrome-moly steel suitable? I read in the a past thread that chrome-moly wasn't suited for hand planes, are the attributes of hand planes and chisels similar enough that the same would be true for chisels?
Thanks in advance, Mike DeCourcey
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On 26 Aug 2003 20:43:24 -0700, mikedeco snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Mike DeCourcey) wrote:

Then try searching rec.knives too (groups.google.com). You'll probably find the Steels FAQ a useful read.

Simple ones. Medium or high carbon, not much else as an alloying addition.

It'll work, but I wouldn't recommend it. Molybdenum is useful for two things. It improves performance at high temperatures, so it's part of "high speed steels" used for turning steel fast, with the tool at red heat (woodworkers don't do this). It's also used to make steels air-hardening, rather than needing an oil or water quench. Although one of these steels (A2) is currently fashionable for woodworking tools, it's not a steel to learn with.
Chrome pops up in many steels, and small quantities of it improve rust resistance. Large quantities would make a bad chisel though, with no edge-holding.
Chrome vanadium steels are other alloys that turn up in commercial plane irons, but aren't recommended. They're there to make the irons easier and quicker to grind by machine. No benefit if hand sharpening.
I'd suggest trying the following steels:
O1 - easily bought as new steel, it's sold by engineering suppliers as "gauge plate". Surfaces are ready ground to an accurate thickness. Not much use for forging (IMHO), but useful if you want to make knives simply by cutting and grinding. Popular because it's very easy to heat treat, with an oil quench.
5160 - Truck leafspring. The classic steel for easy back-yard forging of cutlery. Doesn't hold the greatest edge, but useful for machetes, light axes, heavy framing chisels etc.
52100 - Ball bearing races. Forges well to give a good edge.
If you're forging chisels, then definitely try learning to forge weld and making laminated blades.

Some are, some aren't. Some chisels need the same behaviour as plane irons. But a big mortice chisel needs toughness more than a good edge or finish. A carving gouge might need to be even more like a plane iron than a plane.
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(Mike

<Snip Ton's o Interesting Information>

Ok - Andy - you're now on my Must Read list of posters along with Charlie, Tom and a few others. Didn't expect to learn about steel today... :)
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On 26 Aug 2003 20:43:24 -0700, mikedeco snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Mike DeCourcey) wrote:

harden.
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