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Steel rod/bar

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Democritus

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Hi guys
I’m thinking of making some carbide tipped wood turning tools.
Most commercial products are made using either square or round section bright steel bars/rods.
I’ve been sourcing the steel and have a large company near where I live. I’m a bit reluctant to approach them, as I only need 2 or 3 metres of stuff and they usually deal with firms who place orders in the tons. I’ve looked at B&Q,and it sells short lengths of steel bars/rods. The problem I have is that its stuff is designated as either ‘drawn steel’ or ‘hot rolled steel’. I don’t know what’s the difference, or whether they’re suitable as a substitute for ‘bright steel’.
Advice please.
D
 

Jelly

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I doubt the steel stockholder will have an issue, your money is as green as anyone else's at the end of the day, and small orders can be a great way to monetise their "drops" (offcuts from larger orders); it's worth ringing up and asking to place a small order for cash and see what happens.

Beyond that there's loads of good metal merchants on eBay, and both myself and others on the forum have had great experiences with metals4u as a stockholder with an online sales platform.
 

chaoticbob

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I'd steer clear of the B&Q stuff - I once bought some from them and it was pretty horrible to work with and ended up in the recycling bin.
Like you I was nervous about approaching industrial stockholders for small quantities, but when I screwed up the courage I found they were OK - sometimes there's a minimum order (£20 at one place I use), but prices for steel are around half to two thirds of what you'll pay over the internet for a 3 metre bar, and if local you avoid carriage costs.
Rob.
 

marcros

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It depends how much you need. I would use metals4u if I could be bothered to go and collect or there/eBay if not. It will be cut to size and just what you need. For enough for a chisel or 3, you won't save much wherever you go.

Bright mild steel isn't necessary but it looks and feels nicer than the mill finish one.
 

disco_monkey79

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I'd definitely not hesitate to ask at a large commercial firm - I have been allowed to raid offcut bins for free in the past. And the worst that will happen is they might decline your order.
 

Lons

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+1
The worst that can happen is they say sorry trade only, if you don't ask you can't get. If they won't supply you they can probably tell you who will locally.
 

marcros

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I don't disagree with any of the posts on the thread. Maybe I am lazy, but the steel would be on its way to me now. I wouldn't have had to leave the house and spend time calling in to places, waiting for them to open and worrying about them having minimum orders etc. Any extra spent on postage is offset in the saving on petrol and time.
 

Lons

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That's a fair point especially in the current climate Marcros where they probably have very limited staff coverage and might not welcome personal visits.
 

Rorschach

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Very few companies won't deal with a private customer for small orders but you will normally pay a slightly higher price. Definitely call/email though, don't just turn up at the door.
 

Sandyn

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I buy all my steel from a local Steel Stockist, They are happy to deal with individuals, but have a minimum order quantity. I usually buy about £150 of steel at a time, but worth a call to one your your local steelstockists, or a local blacksmith if it's really small quantity. Also try online here
 

Democritus

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Thanks everyone for you comments. I think that in the current circumstances, it would probably be best to go down the delivery route with someone like Metals4U.
Has anyone any thoughts about the differences between bright steel, drawn steel, and hot rolled steel?
 

Normancb

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There are dozens of different grades of steel, but roughly speaking hot rolled mild steel is steel which has been rolled into shape at high temperature (around 900C). It's black because it has a surface layer of oxide and mill scale. Cold drawn steel is produced by cold forming larger sections of steel, and may be finished off by a surface cleaning process to remove oxide. It has more precise dimensions and tolerances, and a nicer finish than hot rolled steel but greater levels of internal stress - machining one face of a bar away can result in the bar distorting. For what you want. either will do fine - though bright steel looks nicer. Bright is usually a bit more expensive.
 

redhunter350

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Hi I often use M-Machine-Metals or our local steel stockholder for larger quantities, just had a delivery from M machine M always obliging and they have wide selection of engineering materials. No connection other than a satisfied customer. Also West Yorkshire steels
John
 

Owd Jockey

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Although I have'nt worked metal for a couple of years now, I used FH Brundle. I made the move when my local stockist, who loaded a heavy tariff for 'small' orders, so I set up an online account for Brundles, who were much cheaper. They have 6 sites in the UK and have a very good catalogue that you can order. I generally drive the 30 miles to Birmingham to pick my stuff up.

 

Biggles

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What exactly are you after? Company I’ve just retired from after 42 yrs service operate a bar end policy, quite often, on the sliding head autos, we have multitudes of 10” long bar ends, boxes of the stuff, we get more sorted and graded from the scrappy, but I’ve had Model engineer groups in there before now, company’s in Shaw, just over the hill from you,
 

MusicMan

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Cromwell have good stuff and sell small quantities.
 

kenledger

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I have made a couple of cutting tools, i used 10 or 12 mm stainless as it tough. I alway go to flea bay myself and found it to be cheaper in the end as sellers there are good on postage, even free sometimes.
Bigger companies tent to load up the post.
You may want 3 metres but 3*1 is easier to post, if you ask a big company to cut it they may charge for that.
 

johnnyb

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its interesting the contrast between buying steel and buying wood. most of the above posters suggest approaching a large company with a tiny order and they will help as much as they can. buying wood as an amateur can be a complete scam(witness a post last week on gross overcharging)
my experience totally agrees with the above a welder who works next door buys steel from a large stockholder without any problems at all. no huge amounts either. I go to a large local yard and I have to check and double check otherwise they overcharge. WHY?
 

Retired

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Hi,

I've bought from "K Steels" whom I find cheap but there is a £25 minimum order and they'll cut it to fit into a car if needed; it's about quarter the price from a model engineer store. BMS at 12mm or 1/2" is handy to have in stock.

I order by email and arrange to collect from their local branch here in Huddersfield.

Steel Stockist Yorkshire & North West inc. Lancashire & Cheshire - K Steels

Also at;

K Steels Lancashire
Tel: 01706 217722
E-mail: sales@ksteels.co.uk

Office hours:

8am – 5pm Monday to Thursday,
8am to 4pm on Fridays.

Address
Jubilee Works
Holme Lane, Rawtenstall
Rossendale
Lancashire, BB4 6JF

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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