LRF

color coding on steel

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Can anyone give me a quick guide to what grade steel is indicated by the color painted on the end? Red specifically. I can't find a good color code chart on the web.

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I do not know of any code. Here at the metal store they use lime green for remnents, blue for alunimium, dark green for nild steel, yellow for hot roll. gold for tool steel. Have never seen a standard.

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There is *no* standard what one company uses may be totally different from what another company uses. In places with a very "narrow" scrap stream you may have a decent chance of scrap being what the local industry's colour code is; but even there no guarantees!

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As Thomas says there are no standards for the industry, different suppliers use different colours for different grades. One of my steel suppliers sells only mild steel and colours the ends to identify the thickness of the bars.

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My supplier has the ends of hot rolled bar stock painted different colors according to size, don't know if it matches some standard.

In the last load I got there was a length of 2" square. The end was painted pink and written very neatly in pen was the message: " Get a bigger hammer"

I cut the end off and kept it for a paperweight.

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I buy from 2 different steel companys and they each have their own color system. I don't depend on them any more than I depend on the color of my O2 tank (they can be any color they want to be)

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Red is A2. Green is S7. At least that's what it was for some round tool steel that came from MSC. They don't list codes in their catalog, so this may change or have changed. :rolleyes:

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Just yesterday I dug out this old chart I picked up in a load of stuff from an auction years ago. I had a bit of stainless bar with red painted on the end. I knew it was stainless but not which type. This "local" chart puts it as 304 stainless. May be of some use, maybe not. I figure I'll share it incase it can help anyone else. 

I could do a higher resolution if needed. 

IMG_09102018_202020_(500_x_500_pixel).jpg

IMG_09102018_201631_(500_x_900_pixel).jpg

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If you got steel from Lowe’s and it was painted red and marked weld steel, everywhere says that it’s probably a36 or some other low carbon steel. 

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I honestly can't remember where this stock came from but it was atleast certainly nonmagnetic stainless from checking. 

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On 3/5/2010 at 3:12 PM, LRF said:

Can anyone give me a quick guide to what grade steel is indicated by the color painted on the end?

Nope.

Much like the highly touted Unicorn, ... there is no such thing as a "standardized" color code.

Every mill and broker has their own codes, ... which may, ... or may NOT, ... be comparable with other brands.

 

"Globalization" has most certainly NOT helped untangle this issue.

.

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Coding of Steel

I write the following just as a matter of discussion in response about the “dilemma about color-coding steel”.

I have been out of the business of blacksmithing for about 10 years. 

I was involved with blacksmithing for over 50 years.

Cancer and a few other things limited my ability to continue.

Glenn Connor of “I forge Iron” has treated me like a king all these years although I have not been active on I Forge Iron. 

This is why am attempting to respond about your issue. 

 

At one time, I was a government (Industrial) blacksmith, and then over my lifetime I have had three different welding and blacksmith shops. 

So I am speaking just from past memory and “ONLY MY EXPERIENCE”, 

WHICH MAY NO LONGER BE VALID.

 

In simple terms, “Uniformity of Coding of Steel” was a problem for me years until I trained under a “Repousse’ Artist Nahum Hersom (1918-2011) of Boise Idaho. 

 

GRANDPA WAS A TASKMASTER AND A GREAT TEACHER. 

He said “KEEP IT SIMPLE” about Steel Color Coding: 

Color Coding is only as accurate as your understanding about the coding details given by from the manufacture or the sales outlet. 

After that good Luck!

So he taught me, and reinforced what I understood about “JUNKYARD METALERGY’. 

After that it was easy, I KEPT IT SIMPLE. If I bought new steel, I would follow their “KNOWN CODE” for heat-treating.

If it were UNKNOWN (junkyard steel) I would follow my understanding of junkyard metallurgy. 

I apply “Sacrificial Testing” to (ALL) the steel that I am going to use in order to get the results I wanted.

This will most likely not be of much help, but I wish you well in what you are doing!

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And do not forget sometimes the steel dealer may send you the wrong alloy!

It is interesting that the early books on smithing all advise you to TEST every new buy of metal to see what it is/how it works.

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