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I Forge Iron

H13 vs S7 vs Atlantic 33?

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I've mostly made punches and drifts from 4140, 5160, a couple from 52100, and some from coil springs and sucker rods.

A buddy is wanting me to make him a Brazil style hammer eye punch, and I got to thinking about using H13 for durability.  Then I ran up on Brent Bailey taking about Atlantic 33.

Anybody used it before?  Thoughts?


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  • 4 months later...

For what it is worth, this is my take on the issue:

Just beware of the extremely narrow working range for H-13 as well as the fact that the steel is air hardening.  This means the top of the punch will most likely also be hard and you should consider using a "soft" hammer head to drive it (I use my treadle hammer with mine...).  Don't get me wrong, it is a great steel for hot punching, just be prepared for its eccentricities.

Now H-13 for a Brazeal style hammer eye long handle drift is another thing entirely.  There the excellent hot working characteristics really shine as it lets you work the drift without cooling it and consequently sucking the heat out of the stock.

I've made or used a good handful of 4140 Brazeal style hammer eye punches.  If you work fairly fast, quench the punch every (3) blows, and cycle between two different punches they work pretty well up to stock sizes of 2" thickness.  You may need to dress them periodically, but 4140 is easy to come by and make into eye punches.  I've not tried punching 4" stock to make my own sledges with a set, though hope to do so at some point in the future.

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