There is more than one group of tool steels

Brindley Metals is one of the most trustworthy suppliers in the UK. We provide clients with a collection of high quality metals to suit all kinds of requirements. The materials include tool steels (H13) and several other options. What’s more, we aim to deliver each order rapidly so you can meet any deadlines.

What is a tool steel?

The term tool steel is something that encompasses a huge collection of alloy and carbon steels. These are ones that hold certain physical and mechanical properties. Examples include high heat and abrasion resistance, hardness, and strength. Such features make them extremely appropriate for being made into tools.

Basically, we use these steels to create products that can shape other substances. They are particularly good for jobs like cutting, drilling, punching, and stamping. The steels can hold the cutting edge at higher temperatures.

Usually, the tool steels are supplied in a soft annealed state. You then machine them into the utensils you need. Finally, you have heat treatment to amplify the hardness.

Don’t mix up your steels

Something you don’t want to do with tool steels is confuse them with high speed steel (HSS). The latter is a sub-group. It has high alloy and carbon content that is hardenable. Also, it can stand up to the kind of high temperatures you experience with drilling, turning, and milling. As a result, people commonly use them in cutting tools and tool bits. This includes drill bits and power-saw blades.

There are several tool steel grades that you could use. We want to have a look at them here so you know what to expect.


Since we were already discussing HSS, we will go over the grades in that group. These are superior to the more senior high-carbon tools. They can endure higher temperatures without losing their hardness (temper). Such a characteristic enables HSS to cut quicker if you compare to high carbon steel. This is where it gets its name from.

HSS steels get their attributes from many alloying metals that you add to carbon steel. This tends to include molybdenum and tungsten. There could also be a mixture of the two, sometimes with other elements.

Hot work tool steels

Next, we have hot work tool steel grades. These are a collection of low carbon steels also referred to as H-steels. You would mainly use them to shape and form substances in manufacturing units performing at high temperatures. Said temperatures would be between 480ºC and 760ºC.

At high temperatures, the steels also possess high wear resistance. Not to mention, they have great thermal conductivity. They can also preserve their mechanical characteristics up to 540ºC.

You can achieve such properties with the addition of alloy elements. These include cobalt, nickel, and chromium. H13 is the most popular hot work steel. If you require tool steels (H13), make sure you come to us.

Cold work tool steels

These are high carbon steels. They hold smaller quantities of chromium, molybdenum, tungsten, and manganese. You use them to form or cut materials that are at low temperatures. Their notable features include wear resistance, hardenability, and good dimensional stability. Others include heat softening resistance and toughness.

We can divide these metals into three subgroups as well. There are oil hardening steels, high carbon/high chromium, and air hardening steels. You will find some of the most commonly employed and oldest tool steels here, like D2, O2, and A2.

Metallurgy tool steels

These particular metals are extremely high alloy steels. They are ones that employ metal powders in addition to high temperature isostatic processing. What this does is produce higher performance materials. They are great when long life tooling is vital for machining metals.

Products here come with a fine, uniform structure. Additionally, they offer an exceptional combination of wear resistance, toughness, and hardness.

Powder metallurgy makes use of gas atomisation. Here, a liquid stream moves through nitrogen sprays that solidifies the steel instantly into a fine powder. Following this, the powder gets pressed into a canister at high temperature and pressure. This generates a solid ingot that you can process normally.

Work with our specialist company if you need tool steels (H13)

Brindley Metals are specialists capable of delivering the right metal products to our customers. There is no minimum order here and our friendly team is always available to help with any enquiries. We can offer you expert knowledge on tool steels (H13) and much more.

So, if you want our help, please get in touch.

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