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Key-steel for chasing tools

i was just wondering if key-steel would be appropriate for making
chasing tools? Is it a high carbon steel? I saw it listed under
carbon steels. I you could help me I would be gratefull. thank you,

    I was just wondering if key-steel would be appropriate for
making chasing tools? 

If You mean “Key Stock” , it can be used although most of it is low
carbon steel. Is it a high carbon steel?

A type of keystock referred to as " Half Hard" can be used to good
effect . It is a tempered high carbon steel keystock. I have a
little left over from a former life as a millwright.

I have found some hardened high carbon steel wire available at Model
Airplane hobby shops. This is hard spring tempered and must be cut
with an abrasive wheel or notched on a grinder and broken.

This material comes 36 " long and in diameters from small wire gauge
to 1/ 4". The prices are from $ 1 to $ 3 per 36" stick .

The name on the tags read " K & S Engineering Chicago , IL. Stock #
507 " . While You are in a Model Airplane Shop take some time and look
around . There are many items which can be adapted for use by

I hope that this helps Gwaai.

Respectfully Yours,
ROBB - Retired Old Baby Boomer

Most keystock sold is only 1018 a soft relatively non hardenable
low carbon steel . You can buy drill rod from local machine
shop tool suppliers and from places like ENCO, MSC, Mcmaster Carr
and other catalog and Internet sites. You should probably get:
The Complete Modern Blacksmith This will help a lot in making tools. Learn to
identify steel by the spark pattern produced when grinding. Low
carbon steel gives a small spark pattern with only a little fern
like branching. Higher carbon steels give a large basic spark
pattern with a lot of branching side sparks off the main stream.
Unfortunately I can’t give you a better guide to find spark test
pattern photos. This is a place where a picture or demonstration is
worth much more than a thousand words. A lot of the steel sold in
places like Home Depot has a high enough carbon content to make
hardenable tools. This stuff should be low carbon and not
hardenable but some of it is actually glass hard and really a high
carbon material ( very poor process and quality control) . It is
cheap. Finding it is pot luck and you will need to check it out
with spark tests. Jesse

Key stock cannot be hardened and is not good for long haul tool
making. Get drill rod, round is available anywhree (W1 water
hardenign drill rod) and square is best. MSC is my favorite source,
it comes annealed, allyou have to do is shape it and harden it.
Charles see:

Charles Lewton-Brain/Brain Press
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada
Tel: 403-263-3955 Fax: 403-283-9053 Email: @Charles_Lewton-Brain

Metals info download web site:
Book and Video descriptions:
Gallery page at:

The book “New Edge of the Anvil” may be of more or equal
help than the Weyger book. It does include a few sketches of spark
patterns for various types of steel. you can get an idea of the
difference in patterns by grinding on a file or dry wall screw
versus grinding on a common nail. for tools see:

he has partialy worked blanks. You can find more info through:


In our heavily technical community old computer printers sit on many
curbs waiting for the trash heap. I suspect this is true of many
cities where businesses are tossing their huge models for newer,
faster ones. The rollers in these old wonders make wonderful stamps,
easily ground and filed. They vary in size and hold their shape
remarkably. If you’re willing to carry the item away and spend a
couple of hours taking it apart, there is no cost. If you have a
youngster who needs to learn how things tick, its a multi-faceted
experience. Just keep the dog away from the old ink jets – ours was
magenta and green for a while! For what its worth–Patty

Robb - your best bet for chasing tool stock is water or oil
hardening drill rod. I generally use 5/16" or 3/8" diameter. It comes
in 1/4 hard condition so you can file or grind it to shape. Harden
just the last inch or so where your tool is. Heat to orange, quench
in oil or water, polish, then to prevent brittleness heat the end
gently by putting the flame below the tool area until the end is
straw or tan color and quench again. John Burton M.Eng. & Metalsmith

I have found that old files of various shapes can be fashioned into
great chasing tools. Break them into appropriate lengths, Anneal them
so that you can form the ends to the shapes needed, then Harden and
Temper them to suit. Al Sleeper Metalsmith and Chaser

Check Centaur Forge: for tool and die
steel in W1 grade water hardening octagon drill rod should be 36"
long but they don’t specify length on the site CALL. Jesse