Category Archives: Tools

Steel By The Numbers


Click here or on the photo for a PDF file.

Everyone knows about “cold rolled” and “stainless” steel. When you want something else you need to order steel by the numbers. 4140, 1215, etc steel. The steel industry uses a standard set of number to tell you all about the properties of a chunk of steel. How hard it is, tensile strength, easy or hard to machine, etc.

When I am looking around on the McMaster-Carr web site (www.mcmaster.com) for a nice piece of steel. The web site sometimes shows me a nice table that does a great job summarizing the different kinds of steel. (See above photo and PDF.) Other times I can get the web site to show me this table to save my life. I forget I need to search on “about steel” or “about tool steel”.

Steels I Use

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Collet Chuck Revisited

I find collet chucks convenient for holding small work. For bottle stoppers, bird calls, etc.


The screw on Apprentice and Beall Collet Chucks are getting pretty pricey. I recently found a cheaper alternative in the metal working world. You can purchase a “Straight Shank ER32 Collet Holder” for around $25 on Amazon. If you already have a set of ER32 collets. Then you are ready to go. Otherwise you also need to purchase a basic set of ER32 collets for around $30 on Amazon. All prices on 5/6/2020.
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