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
Thanks in advance,
On 26 Aug 2003 20:43:24 -0700, mikedeco email@example.com (Mike
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
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
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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