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Cracks in New Steel?


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     Please excuse the newbie question. 

     I bought two bars of 1084 (3/16in x 1.5in x 18in) online and they came earlier today, but with what appears to be a series of cracks or defects on the 18in x 3/16in surfaces.  They do not (visibly) appear anywhere on any other surface.  Does anyone who buys steel regularly know if this is something superficial that occurs as part of the processes used to create the bars or something I should return the steel over?  In other words, is this something that I can grind away and hope for the best with?  Return policy states that I may not return anything that has been altered in any way and I was unable to find any other people asking the same question so I am posting here.

     Thank you for your time and apologies for any mistakes I may have made regarding this post.

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Thank you for the insight Irondragon.
Mill scale is probably right on the money though I've never seen it in the form of steel rather than oxide. I'll be making several large knives for yardwork/camping and a few smaller projects.

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I have a hot rolled bar of H13 and I know that 5160 and other alloys come either way.  I know in buying small amounts from resellers it usually is only stocked in P&O or even precision ground stock.  I make a policy of always asking what it will be delivered as to avoid such surprises.

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if those are cracks... those are running awfully length-wise!

Regarding return policy... if there actually are cracks that deep, in my opinion you should get them replaced by the vendor. It's not like you're returning perfectly good steel just because of a few surface "defects" from processing.

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On 1/6/2021 at 11:08 AM, ThomasPowers said:

hot rolled bar

You could be right. Ive bought by mail from Carpenter steel and a Uddeholm steel outlet in person in Denver, and some O1 from my local hardware store. I should have said ive never see  hot rolled tool steels. Thanks for the heads up. By the way, i dont believe the numbered steels are considered tool steels. Tool steel nomenclature are lettered steels.

However, more to the point of this post, thats not mill scale like ive ever seen no matter the steel. That looks like delamination and should be returned.

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The term "tool steel" was used before the lettered and numbered identification systems were created---note the 1800's anvil ads mentioning best tool steel faces.

Also I note 4140 being advertised by steel dealers as "tool steel".   However the ASM Desk Handbook does list tool steels by their letter designation; though it mentions that any steel used for making tooling is a "tool steel".

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If you check steel manufacturs, i believe you will find it is  accepted today that "tool steel" begin with a letter and "high carbon steel" are the number'd steels. I believe this is an astm standard. This is a long ago memory from Turley Forge and my dealings with both Carpenter Tech and Uddholm Steel. These producers all have their "pet" names like "Good Stuff", or whatever, but these names always reference back to the letter name that is the industry standard.

As far as dealers, ive found they often do what they want to enhance sales. Tool steel just sounds better than high carbon steel. And no, "high carbon steel" does not imply just steels with no additives, which dont exist.

And again, to be clear, ive never bought numbered steels new. Coil and leaf spring are plenty good for my shop tools. I also learned from Frank that tool steels have  better quality control than the equivalent numbered series which is why equivalent lettered are more expensive than numbered. My for sale tools are always "Lettered", not numbered steels for this reason.

I still have my copious notes from Franks class and they are a primary source for me.

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I have a fireplace poker Frank gave me after sharing my forge at a demo at the Festival of the Cranes; I think of him every time I use it and as our after sundown heat is a wood stove, it gets used a lot!

I try to pick up "lettered steel scrap" at Quad-State as I have really really been impressed by H-13, S-1 and S-7 tools. I would definitely pay extra for tools made from such alloys as the ones I have made have outlasted tooling I had previously made from 5160 by decades.

I usually go by the ASM handbooks as I have a couple; the older ones at least; still talk of a high carbon tool steel as well as ones with specific carbide forming alloys added.  (1948 ASM Handbook).  I guess we should inquire about the definition(s) used in Europe too; as I know they use at least one different system...

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Going back to the original question, could the metal be flat bar which was sheared out of plate? When I ran the machine shop, sometimes when we ordered hot rolled strips sometimes they would send us sheared strips and the edges looked similar to the picture. As best I can see on my phone! Bill D. 

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Thats a high energy poker! It will keep you going. 

I checked my notes and thats what i have in my notes. High carbon steels are numbered. Dont take this as gospel, its just what my notes say. 

My Carpenter tech book also states both cold rolled and hot milled are avalable. 

Without a doubt tool steels vs high carbon steels are like night and day. I have a few tools out of H13 and S7 and they are great. Im too frugal(cheap) to make most of my hand tools out of tool steels, so just dress them as  needed instead. And I sell toil steel tools to clients so they get the best steels.The only time i have to dress my H13 slitters is if i cut thru and hit my mild steel cut off plate.

I have a little experience with european tool steels, just a little. When we made tools in Prague, i asked what the steel was. He said there was no equivalent in the West. When we talked tools in Frankfort, they gave me the "pet" name, which meant nothing. We were able to identify it by its AISI type. This is the W1,S7,O1 nomenclature. I believe AISI is a Western world international standard. This doesnt mean that Germany or France may or may not have their own national standards as well. Also take my statement about AISI as my assumption.Thats truly far out of my realm of knowledge and interest. But perhaps my experiences will encourage someone to check it out. My trip to Prague was done thru ABANA and if i dont speak of it, it sort of defeats a primary good of ABANA, and thats to pass what i learned along for others.

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