Silver Steel

Used to make a wide variety of industrial and domestic equipment, silver steel is a strong and versatile alloy. High in carbon content, with added chromium, it produces durable and strong tools. In the hands of a gifted machinist, intricate designs can be achieved for objects such as tools for engraving, as well as instrument, and model parts.

Here at Cromwell, we stock a wide range of silver steel lengths and diameters from T&A Precision®.

What is silver steel?

An alloy made of carbon, chromium, manganese, phosphorous, silicon and sulphur, silver steel gets its name from the high shine finish of the metal. Annealed in production to allow for machining, silver steel bars are spheroid in appearance to allow for maximum hardening.

Why silver steel?

Manufactured to BS 1407:1970 standards, silver steel's high carbon content allows the metal to be hardened to create higher wear-resistant tools. The addition of chromium into the mix enhances this durability and adds strength.

When is silver steel used?

Used in the forging of tools, including shafts and axels, taps and drills, silver steel is regularly used in tool rooms and general engineering applications.

Silver steel types

Available in a wide range of lengths and diameters, this alloy delivers tensile strength between 45-55 T.P.S.I. Bars should always have a typical hardness of at least 207-237HB and must conform to BS 1407:1970 standards.

Considerations when choosing silver steel

• Tensile strength - The tensile strength of the silver steel will determine how easy the material is to forge and how robust the end product will be when it has been manipulated from the silver steel. Silver steel with a low tensile stress is designed to break when under extreme stress and being pulled.

• Hardness - Silver steel in an annealed state usually has a lower hardness and is designed to be hardened once the tool has been forged.

• Length and Diameter - In order to minimise material wastage and reduce the amount of time spent removing excess stock, it's important to select the right sized length and diameter of silver steel for your intended use.

Silver steel jargon buster

We want to make it easy for you, so here are some key terms that will help you understand the range and applications a little better

What does the steel grade BS 1407:1970 mean?

BS 1407:1970 outlines safety requirements during the manufacturing process, composition, and finish, as well as the tolerances between lengths and sizes.

Let's break it down...

• BS - This is an abbreviation for British Standard, which shows that the product has been tested according to this standard and has been found safe

• 1407 - This is the assigned legislation number

• 1970 - This is the year the safety standard for high carbon bright steel was updated.


Can silver steel be welded?

In short, no. When welded, silver steel goes brittle. A good alternative is to braze it using silver solder.

Can silver steel rust?

If stored incorrectly or frequently exposed to water, yes silver steel can rust.

How do you harden silver steel?

The hardening process requires slow heating up to 800°C for low carbon content, and up to 760°C for higher carbon content. The alloy is austenitised until a consistent temperature is reached, then plunged into a water or brine quenching solution. The hardening process can take silver steel from C27 up to C64 on the Rockwell scale.