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Steel, what kind do you use?


#1

If anyone works in steel, what kind do you use? Stainless? Low
carbon? Mild? and do you hand saw with a jeweler’s saw? Where can one
purchase small quantities of steel sheets?

thx


#2
If anyone works in steel, what kind do you use? Stainless? Low
carbon? Mild? and do you hand saw with a jeweler's saw? Where can
one purchase small quantities of steel sheets? 

Steel is a fairly broad product. I would suggest you decide what
solution you are looking for and then match a few steel grades to
that. Then you can refine your selection by eliminating the grades
that would be most difficult for you to handle with equipment and
skills available.

Dan Culver


#3

It very much depends on what you want to use it for.

Use one of the various types of stainless for things that you don’t
want to rust, use a mild steel for making tools that don’t have to
cut ferrous metals, and use high carbon steels for tools that cut
ferrous metals.

You can cut all types, as long as it’s not been hardened, with a
standard jeweller’s saw. Low carbon (also known as mild) steel
cannot be hardened, but it can be case hardened. HSS (High Speed
Steel) is a special alloy steel that is used to make cutting tools -
you can’t cut it with any saw; you have to grind it to shape.

Some stainless steels work harden very quickly if you allow them to
get hot whilst cutting them - when that happens they become almost
unworkable with normal cutting tools.

Here in UK there are a number of small fabrication shops that are
willing to sell steel offcuts, and failing that, some steel
stockholders can be equally accommodating for casual users.

IHTH
Regards, Gary Wooding


#4

Hi Brenda

I did a time ago some research but I decided not to work with
stainless steel the alloy most used for jewelry propose is called
316L, is know also as surgical steel and has a little nickel content
in it.


#5
If anyone works in steel, what kind do you use? Stainless? Low
carbon? Mild? and do you hand saw with a jeweler's saw? Where can
one purchase small quantities of steel sheets? 

The steel you choose depends on the application. For jewelry the
most important thing is corrosion resistance, so type 316 stainless
steel is your best bet. It’s not available in quite as many forms as
the more common 304 or 302, but 316 is highly corrosion resistant. It
is the stainless of choice for surgical and marine applications.

McMaster-Carr is a good source for small quantities of industrial
materials. They’re not the least expensive, but they carry a large
variety of material in many shapes and sizes.

HTH,
Elliot


#6

I work with steel, mainly high carbon for making tools because high
carbon steel can be heat treated to make it either soft or
glass-hard, and anywhere between. Actually it’s the cooling from red
heat that determines the hardness; cool high carbon steel very
slowly to anneal, and quench in water for glass-hard. Tempering is
the gentle heating of glass-hard steel that reduces the hardness
(and brittleness) and increases the toughness.

Mild steel is softer than the softest high carbon steel. It’s great
for bending and forging into various shapes. It can be treated like
copper in that it will work harden and will anneal by heating to red
hot and letting it cool in the air. It can be given a glass-hard
surface by what’s known as case hardening.

Stainless comes in two main varieties, soft bendy and hard tough.
The former is more ‘stainless’ but cannot be hardened; it is non
magnetic. The latter is less ‘stainless’, is often very hard and/or
tough, and is magnetic (a magnet will stick to it).

All steels can be sawed and filed except for those in the hardened
state. A file is close to glass-hard, it is high carbon steel and
the teeth were formed while it was annealed, then it was hardened to
glass-hard, and then tempered just a little so that it won’t snap so
easily. A file will cut all steels that are softer than the file.
Saw blades are similar, but tempered a little more than a file for
increased flexibility.

High-speed steel and tungsten carbide are always hard and cannot be
softened. These steels are best cut with diamond tools, and they
will cut the harder steels.

The best place for small quantities of steel is the scrap pile
provided you can identify the various irons and steels. You need a
magnet, a file, and a grinder. Magnet says ‘soft stainless’ if it
doesn’t stick provided you can feel the weight and rule out
aluminium and it’s alloys. If the magnet sticks then try a file…

If the file teeth can grab and bite when filing then it’s softer
than the file. If the file skids over and cannot bite then your
steel is harder than the file.

The sparks from the grinder will tell the difference between mild
steel, high carbon steel, and cast iron. Red dots flying off the
grinder says cast iron, a few sparkles says mild steel. If the red
dots expolde into a sparkle they are saying ‘carbon’…the more
sparkles the higher the carbon in the iron; thus the the more
sparkles the better the steel. Cast iron gives all red dots and no
sparkles. High carbon steel gives all sparkles and no red dots on
the grinder.

Try known steels on your grinder and you will see. Knowing your
irons and steels is really good to know.

Alastair


#7
If anyone works in steel, what kind do you use? 

Pattern welded steel, I make it myself, and I’d never use anything
as dainty as a jewellers saw :wink:

A local steel store would be a good place to start for ferrous
metal.

Regards Charles A.