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What To Know When Choosing A Tool Steel Grade

Tool steels are essential for tool manufacturing. As a Canadian forge company, we rely on a wide range of tool steels to make forging equipment because they provide strength and toughness. 

Let’s look at the characteristics of tool steels and some of the grades we offer at CanForge.

At a basic level, tool steels are carbon and alloy steels that contain elements such as tungsten, molybdenum, and chromium. There are different grades of tool steels, each with a unique set of mechanical properties to achieve specific requirements for tool components. Types of Steel

Most often, tool steels are used for forgings that require a cutting edge. Their applications include stamping dies to cut through metal sheets and forging dies to create components such as gears. Tool steels are also used for items like hand tools, drill bits, and knives.

When designing components out of tool steel, we use various heat treatments like water or oil quenching to obtain the desired properties for the forgings. Quenching can also prevent cracking and improve the hardness of the component.

Tool Steel Grades 

We offer tool steel forgings in a wide range of grades to meet our customers’ specifications. Here are some of the tool steel grades we offer:

  • Air Hardening Types (A-Grades): This type of tool steel grade contains a higher level of chromium to prevent bending or distortion. Known as an all-purpose tool steel grade, it’s commonly used for forging equipment such as trimming dies and forming punches to create tools.
  • D Types: This tool steel contains chromium as well as a high amount of carbon to help withstand wear and tear caused by friction. This grade is ideal for applications that include cold trimming and die bending.
  • Hot Working Types (H-Grades): Like its name, this tool steel grade is used when a component needs to withstand consistent exposure to high temperatures. Popular uses for the steel are hot trimming and casting dies.
  • Oil Hardening Types (O-Grades): This tool grade is hardened through an oil quench, which improves its hardness for demanding applications. With a high carbon content, the tool steel grade can withstand abrasion, making it ideal for bushings that guide drills, cutting tools, and stamping dies.
  • Shock Resisting Types (S-Grades): S-grade tool steel has the unique ability to resist shock in both high and low temperatures. The tool steel is relied upon for components like tool bits for jackhammers because of its high impact toughness.

CanForge provides high-quality tool steel forgings to customers across North America. Learn more about our tool steel forgings here and contact us to request a quote. 


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