Hand Tools

Subject:
The hardness makes it difficult to judge...

David Weaver
..one of the things that I've learned through all of this testing is that if something doesn't seem that great, blame hardness first, and go elsewhere.

But because of that, I guessed that the chinse steel (which I have ground to red heat and then allowed to cool, and it seems unaffected) was not anything like M2 at all, because it has pretty easy edge crispness. The difficulty in flattening the back is commensurate with what we saw for wear (it wore about the same speed as 3V, though much less fine in structure and harder to get the same wear).

But its virtues in the test (and in using it as a chisel) were bolstered by high hardness improving wear (despite some large bits coming out), and the same for using the cheap stamped out chisels to mortise a plane body.

Hardness in steels with alloying (or variance of it) makes it really hard to guess at what you're using.

With the samples that I made, assuming they can be tested, it should be a little easier, but we'll see. I haven't made anything O1 lately, but what I sent Larrin should be around 61, and 26c3 a point or two harder. Just guessing based on wire edge behavior and how easily the washita cuts them (disregarding the fact that I couldn't test the actual coupons because grinding a bevel on them would make them unfit for the notch testing machine).

But the chinese stuff had me fooled - it felt more like old tungsten steel razors, which have the same kind of edge behavior - they were in the market for a short period of time, maybe a decade or so, but I don't know what the virtue was other than maybe ease in getting some additional hardness over silver steel drill rod. The razors were usable, but razors aren't the place to introduce anything other than fine carbides.

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