Ehh... Stainless steel chisel?

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Forum topic by Alexandre posted 06-12-2012 10:53 PM 2117 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1417 posts in 1227 days

06-12-2012 10:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question stainless steel stainless steel chisel hollow ground

Hey guys-
Was just wondering if a Stainless steel chisel was possible…
Probably with 318 surgical grade stainless steel and hollow ground?
I have a piece lying around.
Should I make one to try?
Comments, suggestions, tips are appreciated!

-- My terrible signature...

13 replies so far

View Loren's profile


7967 posts in 2684 days

#1 posted 06-12-2012 11:10 PM

Carbon steel is preferred generally because it is not
hard to sharpen and holds an edge well. It’s also
cheaper I think. I know there are some fine stainless
steels but the stainless knives I have used don’t
seem to hold an edge very well – which isn’t a big deal
in the kitchen but for cutting wood it matters.


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11777 posts in 2724 days

#2 posted 06-12-2012 11:21 PM

Stainless is too soft to hold an edge well.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Alexandre's profile


1417 posts in 1227 days

#3 posted 06-12-2012 11:27 PM

Ehh, 318 stainless steel is pretty hard… Harder then Bi-metal and basically, to drill stainless steel, you need LOTS OF LUBRICANTS and a cobalt drill bit.
Also, Stainless steel doesn’t rust.
I’ll probably start building one, and get a rough bevel using 80 grit wet/dry sandpaper.
More comments, tips and suggestions are APPRECIATED!

-- My terrible signature...

View crank49's profile


3875 posts in 2007 days

#4 posted 06-13-2012 12:04 AM

318 stainless is soft.
All of the 300 series are very good for corosion resistance, tough and hard to drill, but still soft.
It contains about 8% chromium which is hard, but about 18% nickel which is very soft.
Also, the 300 series have very low carbon can not be hardened.

The 400 series have higher levels of carbon and can be hardened. That is why they are used in knives.
Even the hardest stainless is only around 55 to 60 rockwell C hardness which is at the low end of what makes a good chisel or knife.

I wouldn’t waste my time on a stainless chisel. It will be very hard to sharpen and will lose its edge very fast.
Even the 400 series, like surgical 440 steel will loose its edge quicker than carbon steel and will be horroble to sharpen.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

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11777 posts in 2724 days

#5 posted 06-13-2012 02:53 AM

Alexandre , You seem to have already convinced yourself to make it so…...

Do what you want to do , you’re going to anyway !

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 1534 days

#6 posted 06-13-2012 03:20 AM

I have seen stainless steel chisels, used by bone surgeons and they are very pretty with sculpted solid steel handles, but they exist only for two reasons. One is they can be autoclaved to death again and again, the other is that somebody else sharpens them every single time they are used. Does this sound like you?

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

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4031 posts in 2770 days

#7 posted 06-13-2012 01:42 PM

A stainless steel chisel would be the smart choice, when carving table centerpiece ice sculptures for a wedding or party. If I had the stock, I’d try it!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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1417 posts in 1227 days

#8 posted 06-13-2012 07:52 PM

It’s gonna be a chisel with:
A maple handle.
5-6” long blade
25 degree bevel.

-- My terrible signature...

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10120 posts in 1719 days

#9 posted 06-13-2012 08:41 PM

I think I have a couple SS chisels. Stanley Atha ones, both are Cold Chisels. Never had a spot of rust on them, ever. 3/8”, and 1/2” wide.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View PurpLev's profile


8520 posts in 2685 days

#10 posted 06-13-2012 09:59 PM

sounds like you’ll make it anyways.

but for sake of keeping this thread informative – a SS chisel is a horrible idea for woodworking – the edge will be lost quickly and it’ll be a pain to resharpen as opposed to CS. it is good for application that might be dealing with moisture induced environments, and in those cases those edges are kept sharp more often than a WW might want to work on it.

now – I know it sounds like a great idea so that you won’t have rust on your chisels in theory , but in practice, if you use your tools, and care for them – you won’t get rust on your CS chisels either – I have never had any rust on mine – and none are stainless.

I’d personally find a better use for that SS stock, but thats me…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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14699 posts in 2370 days

#11 posted 06-13-2012 10:21 PM

Experience is the hard way to learn things, but sometimes appropriate. I think this may be one of those times. That said, I hope it works out for you Alexandre.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Alexandre's profile


1417 posts in 1227 days

#12 posted 06-13-2012 10:25 PM

Ehh, What should I use for that SS stock?

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View Alexandre's profile


1417 posts in 1227 days

#13 posted 06-13-2012 10:26 PM

I was planing to make a SS chisel to do some ice carving in the cold canadian winters if the ss chisel doesn’t hold up well for woodworking.

-- My terrible signature...

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