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S-7 vs H13 for guillotine fuller dies


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I'm wanting to eventually make some hammers and I'm by myself most times so no striker and no power hammer. So I'm making a guillotine tool for bottom and top fullers for the necks. Most of what I read/watched says don't use mild for that as they'll eventually bend/mushroom too much. S7 and H13 are recommended quite a bit for those type of tools from what I've read on here with H13 seeming to be slightly preferred. My issue is finding H13 flat bar where I don't have to pay triple digits. Hudson Tool has it at a decent price but apparently they have a min of $250 for flat stock now. I can find round much cheaper, but obviously I'll need it in flat for dies for my guillotine tool. So now to my actual question. If I buy 1.5" round in H13 would that be too much to hand forge down to 1/2" thick x slightly over 2"? Or is S7 good enough where I should just buy it? I found a 2' length of 1/2" x 2.5" S7 for $45. Is that better than trying to forge the H13? It's cheaper than the same length round H13. Its also somehow cheaper than 4140 in flat in the same size. 

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My wife made her guillotine tool to fit heavy truck leaf spring size for the dies. It's 5160 and we use them normalized. They don't mushroom bend or break and the springs are free from a truck repair shop near us. I also have made some fullering  dies out of mild steel and the only mushrooming is on the struck end if the stock gets too cold, which is easy to grind out if the top die is long enough.

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Edited by Irondragon ForgeClay Works
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I would strongly suggest that you start with mild steel dies for at least the first couple of hammers. Once you've experienced what a total pain it would be to do all that work with a hand hammer and a guillotine, you might reconsider the "no power hammer" thing, and you won't have invested a lot of money in tool steel.

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H13/S7 are overkill for something like a guillotine die. Especially a fuller. The high tempering range make those tool steels great for items that need to be sunk into into hot steel and maintain their shape... hammer eye punches and slitters come to mind, but you really don't need it for either of those tools either. I use 4140 for my dies, but one could use mild too. If the struck end starts to deform, heat it up and straighten it out again.

Another, IMO, easier option would be a spring fuller. At the end of the day, either one would work fine.

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