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Carbon Steel Cutting Tools

I have some tooling blanks that I thought was just old HSS blanks . I posted here about them quit some time ago & don't remember what the outcome of those conversations were .They are sized just like HSS but their real dark steel colored . Could these possibly be carbon steel ? That Clickspring fella turn's out some very nice items & he's pretty darn inventive when it come's to making tools for his projects .
thanks
animal
 
They are sized just like HSS but their real dark steel colored . Could these possibly be carbon steel ?
Possibly, but without seeing them, I would think Stellite or a similar non-ferrous tool alloy would be more likely. The odds of this increase greatly if they appear to have been cast to shape, rather than aggressively ground to shape.
 
Thanks , Stellite rings a bell from when I posted about them . If I make it over there tomorrow I'll try to grab them & get a pic or 2 . I'll start a new tread , I don't want to hijack this one .
thanks
animal
 
Animal, stellite and other 'cast alloy' cutters should be non-magnetic. Easy way to check.

Another interesting bit mentioned in a very old (1875 or so) planer manual I read, listed using white cast iron as a cutting tool. I'm trying to find that manual now and grab some more info from it.
 
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Stellite will not rust like HSS or plain carbon steel...........the commonest use of stellite in years gone by was refacing motor valves ,seats ,tappets,cams ,and other spot wearing areas.
 
Animal12:

The dark-colored blanks you have may be HSS. Years ago, many HSS blanks were made with a 'mill finish', and had a black color. These blanks were not ground to final size as HSS blanks nowadays are. Some had a decal or label on them (Armstrong, for one, did this), and others had the maker's name and HSS alloy stamped on the side (such as Rex, with designations such as 'M2', or 'AAA'). If the blanks are something like 1/4". 5/16", 3/8", or 1/2" square, there is a good chance they are HSS.
A quick test is to spark test them on a grinder. If I remember right from my days at Brooklyn Tech HS, carbon steel will throw a shower of bright orange 'star sparks' with 'tails' on them. HSS will throw more of a reddish spark. Modern HSS blanks all seem to have been finish ground to size and have a bright metal appearance. Firms like Chicago Latrobe electro etch their name and grade on the blanks. The Chinese simply put "China" on the blanks, usually as an inked stamping.

When I was a kid, I recall some of the oldtimers who had a lathe as an adjunct to a repair garage telling me they ground lathe tools from used/chipped plumbing die chasers. I suspect the old pipe threading die chasers were hardened carbon tool steel, but the price was right.

John K. :
The big manufacturer of Stellite in the USA was "Haynes Stellite". Years ago, when the public was more technically savvy, ads for automobiles went into technical details of the engine design. The ads included things like "Stellite valve seats" and "Tocco Hardened Journals" (this being a reference to an induction heating/hardening process for the crankshafts).
 
There is some Stellite history on the Marmora Historical Foundation Website.
I copied a couple of paragraphs from about 1/3 the way down the page.

"The Coniagas Reduction Company and the Canadian Copper Company were the two main competitors for Deloro. The Coniagas Company, wholly owned by the Coniagas Mines Limited of Cobalt, Ontario, opened a smelter at Thorold, Ontario, in 1908. The company operated successfully for a number of years. Conversely, the Canadian Copper Company closed its cobalt plant in 1912 as a result of the collapse in cobalt prices.
Deloro had one advantage over its competitors in that it also sold a cobalt product called Stellite, as well as cobalt oxide. In the early 20th century, an entrepreneur in Kokomo, Indiana, Elwood Haynes, began experiments to develop a stainless metal. In 1907 he patented an alloy of cobalt, tungsten and chromium that he called Stellite. Since Haynes required cobalt, the only place he could get it in large quantity was from Deloro. Thus in 1912, as the price of cobalt oxide deteriorated, Deloro Mining and Reduction began producing high-value Stellite under contract to Haynes.
The demand for Stellite varied considerably in the early years. During the First World War it was in high demand for military uses but after the war the demand shrank considerably. In 1919 the son of M.J. O’Brien, Ambrose, went to England to explore markets for cobalt and Stellite. One result of his visit was the opening of a Stellite plant in Birmingham. Deloro became the world’s leading cobalt producer in 1924. Stellite is still manufactured today by Deloro Stellite, a multinational company that had its origins with the Deloro Mining and Reduction Company. In 1909 Hydro electric power lines were installed from the Trent River and a railway spur line connected Deloro to the Central Ontario Railroad in 1913.
The results of experimentation by M.E. Haynes and Prof. H. T. Kalmus of Queens University was applied in production and in 1914 Deloro manufactured the first cobalt metal (226,079 Ibs.) to be produced commercially in the world. This led to the production of stellite a much sought after war material."
it would appear since I last had any contact with Deloro-Stellite it has become part of Kennametal.
P.S.
Tantung is another cobalt alloy that has been used for cutting tools .
One local wood working plant I worked in briefly 40+ years ago had some large router bits and shaper cutters tipped with this material instead of carbide.
By what I can see this alloy dates back to the 1930s .

Jim
 

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I have some old HSS toolsteel which has the black mill finish. I guess it was cheaper, for alot of applications there was no need to have a ground finish.

One is stamped "REX MM", others "Ultra Capital". The latter was a popular British brand from Eagle & Globe or Arthur Balfour & Co's "Capital Steel Works".

HSS mill finish Rex MM, Ultra Capital 02.jpgHSS mill finish Rex MM, Ultra Capital 01.jpg HSS mill finish Rex MM, Ultra Capital 03.jpg

Regarding the OP's topic of carbon steel, I have a few old taper shank carbon steel drills which turned up in a pile of drills I bought. Brands are Presto, Dormer and a no name marked 'CS'.

I was using a 3/4" taper shank drill in the lathe, thinking it was HSS. It worked fine for a short while then suddenly went bad...didn't notice it had 'CS' stamped on the shank. What surprised me was the damage to the drill - it would require about 1/4" removed to rescue it, unlike a HSS drill which usually just need a touch-up on the grinder.

Carbon steel taps and dies - horrible things.
 
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Quite a bit of oldtime HSS pieces were cast,and have a roughish surface ,and there was also a special HSS alloy that could be used for cast milling cutters ......I have some of these ......large S&F cutters .....during WW2 ,there was a shortage of tungsten ,and substitute HSS had (IIRC) molybdenum instead..........I also have lots of these from surplus .............however ,these days Im simply spoiled by insert cutters and cant be bothered with HSS in a lathe.
 
I remember seeing ads for high speed steel containing uranium in some old Canadian Machinery magazines .
I found this old thread about them here
I also seem to remember ads for Armstrong Whitworth Canada promoting them but I can't remember what volume they are in.
There are several volumes of this magazine on archive.org.
Here is the one mentioned in post # 15 of the above linked thread
They date back to the WW1 era where they were in demand for war material production.
Jim
 
Like others, i have made square thread taps and some oddball taps out of W1 & O2.
As well as form tools.
However, for form tools and most cutters, i'll grind from solid HSS if at all possible. Sometimes even from carbide.

If you were running a youtube channel or other play-ops, i could see trying it on a planer & making about an hour long slow pokey show about it.
But when using that machine, i try to run as fast as possible. It is nice not to have to go super slow, or to stop midway across a plate to re-shape a carbon bit.

A few weekends ago, some unopened Cleveland Twist Drill Co "carbon steel machine bits" drill bits came in the bottom of an auction box lot that included the OK Tool holder and (HSS) bits i actually wanted for the shaper. The un-opened drill bits will probably be in my estate sale . :)

smt
 
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I went over to check the dark cutters I had mentioned above & after 15 minutes of looking i remembered I put them in a cigar box till I learned what they were all about . We'll I pick a hell of a place to store them cause I didn't find the cigar box anywhere in my shop . Hopefully they will show up when I go to move my South Bend lathe over to my new place . I do have a fair amount that aren't as dark marked Rex T M05
& Rex AAA . Looking at them where their ground they look pretty much like HSS & Peter's post above confirms that . I have this thread bookmarked for when I find those other cutters .
thanks
animal
 
High carbon steel takes a much keener edge than HSS ,and so has always been used for woodworking tools by craftsmen .......the junior hobby stuff is often HSS so it can be sharpened on a grinder by the uneducated ...........proper carbon steel needs a wet sandstone wheel at low revs.........no heat to draw the temper.
 
High carbon steel takes a much keener edge than HSS ,and so has always been used for woodworking tools by craftsmen .......the junior hobby stuff is often HSS so it can be sharpened on a grinder by the uneducated ...........proper carbon steel needs a wet sandstone wheel at low revs.........no heat to draw the temper.
I've read that, for shaper and planer work, high carbon tools will give a better surface finish than hss. I intend to test that out someday. In my older books, they mention 'emery wheels', are these the same as sandstone wheels? I had assumed they were emery paper pasted to a metal wheel for grinding.
 
Emery was one of the first grinding materials ...Naxos emery ..........at one time I bought some antique bits,and there were dozens of 12" wheels branded "American Safety Emery Wheel Co" ....of Rhode Island .
 
On a similar note, does anyone know how carbon steel and hss slab milling cutters were produced? I can imagine they were turned on a lathe or planer, but I can't find any actual info on their manufacture on google.
 
On a similar note, does anyone know how carbon steel and hss slab milling cutters were produced? I can imagine they were turned on a lathe or planer, but I can't find any actual info on their manufacture on google.
If referring to spiral versions a way is on Universal Mill with gear driven DH creating the spiral by swinging the universal table at the correct angle. See text A Treatise on Milling and Milling Machines.

There are older and later versions of this book by Cincinnati Milling Machines
 
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In the days of yore, there was no HSS; all cutting tools were of forged and quenched carbon steel.... Or so I'm told.

Does anyone here make and use their own carbon steel cutting tools?

In a couple of my old planer & shaper manuals, there are data tables for carbon steel cutters. They seemed to have ran them at about ½ the speed of HSS.
I have made them from 01 and also experimented with steel from an old forklift blade.. I cut the steel with a bandsaw and heated red hot then quenched... The "tool" would cut soft steel with plenty of oil and not too fast... Once hardened this way, a hss drill would skate on it.... Cheers from HOT Louisiana.. Ramsay 1:)
 








 
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