By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale Jan 24th


All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Kenneth Deighton20/10/2019 21:38:03
67 forum posts

How can I tell the difference between Stainless steel and Silver steel , I know that Stainless is non magnetic and Silver is but how do I tell the difference between Silver, Stainless and normal Mild steel ?.

Thanking you all in anticipation of a simple answer. Ken.

Philip Powell20/10/2019 21:56:45
66 forum posts
15 photos

Tricky. Not all stainless is non magnetic. Silver steel is magnetic. Silver steel is ground to a close tolerance. Most stainless is drawn. Most stainless cannot be heat treated. Silver steel can be heat treated. Mild steel is magnetic. Mild steel cannot be heat treated.

Best to buy stock from a reputable supplier and keep separate.

Sorry no simple answer.


David George 120/10/2019 22:01:55
1189 forum posts
405 photos

If you have a tool grinder you can test with the colour of the spark. If you have a known piece of material grind the end and comoair the spark colour. HSS has a red colour silver steel has a brighter colour for instance it isn't perfect but it gives you a good indication.


old mart20/10/2019 22:02:59
1519 forum posts
136 photos

If it is old silver steel stock and good stuff, it will have "stubbs" on one end.

Degrease it and put it in some water overnight, silver steel is not rust resistant.

Mild steel is rarely ground, but silver steel is.

Edited By old mart on 20/10/2019 22:04:54

pgk pgk20/10/2019 22:02:59
1722 forum posts
287 photos

Spark test?



IanT20/10/2019 22:33:55
1499 forum posts
142 photos

I don't have any really clever (e.g. scientific) answers Ken but here's a few of my (very) simplistic solutions...

a) If it's rusty, it's probably not stainless (but isn't necessarily silver steel either of course)

b) I only buy stainless stock that IS non-magnetic - I have a little magnetic plastic 'knob' to test it's a very good test of my own stock...

c) If it's 13" long (and maybe even a little rusty) then it's quite probably silver steel

d) If I'm really not sure if it's silver steel (and I need it t be) - a small sample heated red-hot and dunked in water/oil should be dead hard afterwards.

e) Some of my silver steel is stamped "Stubs" (where you have that 13" 'end' cut from the metre length) - and I try to cut from the other end of these bars (when I remember to do so)...retaining the stamp on the left over stock for future reference...

So generally variations on being magnetic (or not), rusty (or not) or able to harden (or not).

Generally one of them will work for me. Hope this helps.



Hopper20/10/2019 22:43:45
4389 forum posts
92 photos

If you can harden a sample by heating it cherry red and dipping in a tin of oil or water, it's silver steel.

I buy mine from a reputable supplier and keep it well labelled in a special box so it does not get mixed up with old stainless steel printer rods etc - which are also kept well labelled in a separate box. Saves a lot of grief.

Kiwi Bloke21/10/2019 01:28:05
398 forum posts
1 photos

As above, plus...

Got any strongish acid? And if not, why not? Every self-respecting model engineer should have accumulated stocks of enough 'dangerous' materials to make a health and safety inspector hurriedly put on his bicycle clips...

Mild steel won't heat-harden, but will fizz in acid. Silver steel will heat harden and fizz in acid. Some stainless steels may harden a bit, but shouldn't fizz.

Kenneth Deighton22/10/2019 19:15:33
67 forum posts

I would like to thank all of the members that have helped me sort out the identification problem , just to fill in the picture all the bits an pieces of metal were rescued from a deceased friends workshop.


All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Allendale Electronics
Eccentric July 5 2018
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest