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identifying steels

how do I do it quickly and easily

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ken king, King Design20/12/2013 15:10:57
135 forum posts
228 photos

Hello folks, I've inherited an amount of steel rounds of various diameters, but scuffing and grime has altered the surface appearance. I know there is some silver steel among other types, and some have a green painted end, but is there a foolproof way of identifying different types ? I've used a magnet to weed out the stainless, but silver steel and mild steel are proving more difficult.

Jeff Dayman20/12/2013 15:25:50
1974 forum posts
45 photos

You could do a hardenability test. Take a small piece of the sample steel, heat to red heat, quench in oil. If the steel is hard and can not be cut with a file or saw, it is likely silver steel or at least a high carbon steel. If it is soft and can be cut with file or saw, it is mild steel or iron bar.


ega20/12/2013 16:14:42
1937 forum posts
159 photos

Not foolproof of course but Green is the Parker Steel colour code for EN1A. Turning a sample would go some way to confirm this.

Roderick Jenkins20/12/2013 19:54:08
2006 forum posts
529 photos

A spark test is pretty good for differentiating mild and silver steel. Try grinding a piece of each and you'll see the difference in sparks. I've had to sort out some silver steel from PGMS recently and it worked well. There are pitfalls, I've been confused by monel, not to mention nickel (german) silver and some stainless is magnetic...


JohnF20/12/2013 22:49:44
1034 forum posts
148 photos

Ken, If you look carefully at the ends of the bar if it is PS Stubbs silver steel it will be stamped P S Stubbs -- unless of course it has been cut at both ends.

Other than that the spark test or the hardening test are the best way to go.

When you sort it out I would suggest you star using a paint making system so you can identify your materials, get yourself a few car touch up pots, the ones with a brush in are the best. You don't have to stick to the colours used by the main suppliers but its a good idea if you want to


ken king, King Design23/12/2013 13:11:50
135 forum posts
228 photos

Thanks for all your helpful suggestions, and a colour code system once sorted is a great idea I will be implementing.

Merry Christmas, one and all,


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