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Tuff-Hard Steel Co of Detroit

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
Does anyone know anything about Tuff-Hard?

(There are some bits for sale in Australia on the fleabag and I am curious about them. How old might they be, etc.

Vintage Antique Tuff-Hard Corp Detroit Carbon Steel Engineering Lathe Tool Bit | eBay)

Not a household name around here. And if the seller is correct that the bits are carbon steel, you would not actually want to use them. The "grind slowly" warning on the paper label does seem to indicate carbon steel. I would not pay $1 for a bucket full.

Tuff Hard name was trademarked in 1944, rather late for carbon steel tool bits to be marketed. Maybe they were for desperate times (WWII) to sell to desperate machine shops when some alloys were restricted.

Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office - United States. Patent Office - Google Books

Larry
 

maust

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 13, 2008
Location
Lilydale, Victoria/ Australia
Thank you Larry.
I have no interest in purchasing them, but saw them and was curious, from a historical perspective. Seeing the rust, and the warning about the scale, I assumed they were not recently produced, and had never heard of the company.
Michael
 

RedbackAussie

Plastic
Joined
Oct 7, 2021
Hi all new to the group
Ok I purchased the above to potentially use as metal stamps for my Silversmithing hobby.
So I annealed them and let them cool in Vermiculite.
All good to this point then tried to file them >>>Then "Damm! these things are almost as hard as a tempered stamp"
Put them on the grinder where they indicated high Carbon content
Anybody know if these #3 Detroit Corp blanks are worthwhile continuing with.
I actually re annealed another few just in case I stuffed up, but Cherry Red is Cherry Red I guess.
Opinions?
Thanks in Advance
RedbackAussie out
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
Seems you have answered your own question.....if you cant use them,why ask?......There is a million kinds of steel they could be without being a HSS........and as mentioned,WW2 and post WW2 was a time of shortages ,and you used what was available .....generally material authorized by some petty hitler who thought (wished ) the war was still on.
 

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
W-1 or O-1 tool steel (drill rod/silver steel) in square or round sections will make your punch making project a lot more pleasant and simple.

You seem to have proven that your exotic antique tool bits are not plain carbon steel and that a lot more effort and possibly expense would be required to learn how to anneal and reharden them. Why bother when useful tool steels are readily available and not very expensive?

If you want to go cheap and take a chance on the material, look on eBay for old metal letter and number stamps with damaged or missing pieces. They should be dirt cheap and will probably be simple to heat treat.

Larry
 

partsproduction

Titanium
Joined
Aug 22, 2011
Location
Oregon coast
I hope you don't throw them away as this thread opened some historical questions to my ears anyway.
I've always been interested in how antique machines worked in the early 1800's using only high carbon steel, and of course most of what I've seen in print shows tools being forged into shapes for various jobs, facing, turning, etc. It makes sense that square blanks would have been used in production to keep time between changes for sharper tools to a minimum, but then what about the WW2 reference?
Also, what color were the sparks when ground? Did they make separation Y shaped ends? HSS makes duller red sparks and not so many, so yeah, this is interesting, at least as interesting as the machines they were designed to fit as they were part of the history of the times.
 

Asquith

Diamond
Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Location
Somerset, UK
As Larry says, the purchaser's test has shown that they are not plain carbon steel. It was the vendor who described them as carbon steel.

Tool steels have been in production for 150 years, starting with Robert Mushet: 'Now, it is well known that the hardest ordinary cast-steel may be softened so much by heating to bright red and suffering it to cool slowly, then it will not retain a sharp edge for two minutes. In other words, its temper may be drawn. We proved, on the other hand, that the temper of Mr. Mushet's " tool steel" cannot be drawn. After being heated red-hot and suffered to cool slowly, it still remained harder than any ordinary cast-steel tempered at straw colour. ' (1869).

More here:-

Robert Forester Mushet - Graces Guide
 

partsproduction

Titanium
Joined
Aug 22, 2011
Location
Oregon coast
If they are HSS I'd say again, why throw them out? At one time I got a bunch of HSS bits that were pretty poorly hot worked, not ground like wear used to now, and they worked fine though they weren't precision, and definitely HSS. .
I wondered if they were tool bits from WW2, or possibly from the old lantern holder days when precision replacement wasn't important.
 








 
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