View Full Version : Fabrication and Shop Techniques Hardening Keystock

mickey cassiba
05-07-2011, 2:31 PM
Can anyone here tell me if standard steel key stock can be hardened using the drill press, torch and oil method. I went through my old MH and cannot find reference to 'key stock' material. I'm trying to build a gooseneck style turning tool for use with replaceable tool bits. I'd like to get a fifteen or 20 thousandth case on the tool. Any info on color to heat to, etc, would be greatly appreciated. A definitive 'can't be done' would help too. I don't want the thing to break and damage me or the lathe. I've made a lot of things with steel, but was not too involved with the HT aspect.

Dennis Ford
05-07-2011, 8:53 PM
Standard key stock does not have enough carbon to harden well, it will still be pretty soft afterwards. It could be case hardened but that process is too much trouble for a tool bit.

mickey cassiba
05-07-2011, 8:59 PM
Thanks Dennis, but I'm not making bits...I'm playing with making a holder for small pieces of HSS, and carbide I've collected over the years.

Jerry Bruette
05-08-2011, 12:00 AM
You can case harden your key stock if you buy a product called Kasenit. I'm pretty sure you can buy it from McMaster-Carr or Grainger. The stuff is pretty easy to use but might be a little expensive.

It's the only way I know of to case harden low carbon steel without getting into expensive equipment and chemicals.


mickey cassiba
05-08-2011, 12:57 AM
Thanks Jerry, that's not what I had in mind, but it seems like it would work better...and I can leave parts unhardened/untreated.

Scott Shepherd
05-08-2011, 10:18 AM
If you just want something tougher, look for tougher keystock. Maybe something like 4140 material, or A2, or O1. All can be hardened, but all are pretty darn tough on their own. A2 is air hardening, O1 is oil hardening.

Mcmaster sells them all. If you just need a little tougher, I'd look at the 4140. You can heat treat it if it turns out not being hard enough.