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Is all M2 HSS steel the same?

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Forum topic by Abter posted 05-02-2017 04:43 PM 853 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Abter

75 posts in 1047 days


05-02-2017 04:43 PM

I know that some tool makers sell turning tools marked M2 that are not. I have zero interest in ever buying anything from these ripoff manufacturers.

What I do want to know is if M2 from all reputable manufacturers the exact same steel? Or is the case that the XYZ tool company uses better M2 steel than the ABC company?

If all M2 steel is not identical, can anyone explain in only semi-technical terms that the differences are? Is there any way to tell?

-- "Many men fish all their lives without ever realizing that it is not the fish they are after." {often mis-quoted as by H.D. Thoreau}


9 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10858 posts in 1906 days


#1 posted 05-02-2017 04:53 PM

Look up the hss or metals spark test.

M2 is supposed to be M2 and nothing else. From one to another producer they are supposed to have the very same characteristics. Essentially.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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SignWave

472 posts in 3455 days


#2 posted 05-02-2017 05:16 PM

I’m not a metallurgist, but I believe that different turning tools that I have which are marked as M2 HSS are not the same. I have a Sorby gouge (labeled as HSS) that holds an edge better than any of the HSS labeled as Benjamin’s Best. It’s not night and day, but enough that I can tell the difference. I wouldn’t call the BB tools a rip-off, because they are half the price, but close in quality. If I want something dramatically better, I’ll look at a higher grade steel (e.g. M42 or 10V) rather than worry about marginal differences between tools of the same grade.

At the same time, I’ve purchased some budget priced HSS blanks labeled SKH9 (which is presumably equivalent to M2) that hold an edge very well. These are sold as cutting tools, but I’ve ground them into turning tools.

http://www.efunda.com/materials/alloys/tool_steels/show_tool.cfm?ID=AISI_m2&prop=all&Page_Title=AISI%20M2

My understanding is that there are established specs for content, but it doesn’t cover 100% of the metals that are present.

-- Barry, http://BarrysWorkshop.com/

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Woodknack

12843 posts in 2800 days


#3 posted 05-02-2017 05:24 PM

It’s not simple. You have several variables happening like type of steel, composition, heat treatment, quality control and testing. There is a chart floating around that shows Sorby and HF both use M2 steel but Sorby’s has 20% more carbon. Carbon is what makes steel hardenable. Both are M2 but not the same.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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papadan

3584 posts in 3789 days


#4 posted 05-02-2017 05:51 PM

.....

View SignWave's profile

SignWave

472 posts in 3455 days


#5 posted 05-02-2017 06:11 PM



It s not simple. You have several variables happening like type of steel, composition, heat treatment, quality control and testing. There is a chart floating around that shows Sorby and HF both use M2 steel but Sorby s has 20% more carbon. Carbon is what makes steel hardenable. Both are M2 but not the same.

- Rick M


The link I posted above shows ranges for different elements for M2. The ranges are different enough that I can definitely see how two different M2 steels could be different in use. For example, the range for Carbon is 0.78 – 1.05 % which more than allows for the 20% difference you noted.

-- Barry, http://BarrysWorkshop.com/

View Jimintomahawak's profile

Jimintomahawak

73 posts in 896 days


#6 posted 05-02-2017 06:13 PM

M2 is classified as a HSS. The tolerances in the composition can change its characteristics drastically. How it is processed from start to finish also will change its performance characteristics. American, Asian and Euro suppliers all vary composition and processes somewhat. Asian M2 can be total garbage to top of the line. The SK_-x series is Japanese and Korean in most cases. They have equivalent specs to M2. M42 is M2 with cobalt and will withstand higher heat and keep an edge. Depending on tool I would be careful selecting M42. The grains are slightly larger so edge won’t be as sharp… hand planes as an example I would prefer M2.

Most of the poor performing M2 is not processed in ideal conditions to reduce cost.

HSS can be everything from soup to nuts. It is a generic term and is abused. A lot of products are marked HSS and they can high carbon steels worth a dash of chrome and moly for window dressing. Basically it is recycled material with carbon and manganese added to get harden ability. Generally quick and dirty remelt and rolling.

There is a lot to it this isfrom a 30,000 foot level. You kinda get what you pay for but lately that could be false unless it is name brand steel.

-- Laziness drives creative thinking...

View LeeMills's profile

LeeMills

670 posts in 1721 days


#7 posted 05-02-2017 06:50 PM

I really don’t think there is a way for the end user to know the quality of the steel n most cases. If you go with a reputable company then you will probably get a product in the line with the cost.
Only going by what I have seen most makers do not state the tool as M2 but as HSS. I checked Packard and Hurricane and both stated HSS. Only my assumption but if stated as M2 then it is probably the lowest quality to meet the standard.
This is a pretty good article by Alan Lacer in laymen’s terms. I can tell the difference in my Packard (Hamlet) and my Sorbys. My Hurricanes appear to be about the same as my Sorbys.
http://www.woodturninglearn.net/articles/ToolSteel.pdf

I buy most of my bits for making tools from WTTool. Their HSS 1/2”sq X 8” L is $9; their HSS 1/2” sq X 8” L with 5% colbalt is $15 or 67% more.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

2673 posts in 2555 days


#8 posted 05-03-2017 07:54 PM

Some where along the way steel mills Sheffield England shut down and most tool makers became steel importers except for exotic steel mills. That also true of US merchants. All about the quality of steel they import!

Proliferation of vendors selling wood turning tools & tool steel quality today hard to keep up with. Buy what you can afford, what you pay for a tool will not make you a better turner!

Keep your tool buying simple, wear resistance percentage numbers touted in catalogs or online just a SWAG! There is an acceptable range for HRC hardness numbers (wear resistance) assigned different types of steel. HRC numbers for high carbon, HSS, and your exotic steels not that much difference. Regardless of manufacturer, vendor, brand, or steel use to make turning tools all need resharpening when dull.

When first started out many years ago learned there were twenty one ways could make M2 HSS! Bet that is not true today!

-- Bill

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waho6o9

8675 posts in 2997 days


#9 posted 05-03-2017 08:36 PM

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