High-carbon Steel

Written by Jerry Ratzlaff on . Posted in Carbon Steel

High-carbon steels contain from 0.60 to 1.00% C with Mn contents ranging from 0.30 to 0.90%. These steels are desirable where hardness or wear resistance is required.  However, quench cracking is often a problem with severe quenching.  High-carbon steels' toughness, formability and hardenability are lower than the other steels.  Welding is not recommended for these types of steels.  Usually joined by brazing with low temperature silver alloy making it possible to repair or fabricate tool-steel parts without affecting their heat treated condition.


  • HCS - high-carbon steel





  • Carbon content 0.8-0.9%: punches for metal, rock drills, shear blades, cold chisels, rivet sets, and many hand tools.
  • Carbon content 0.9-1.0%: used for hardness and high tensile strength, springs, cutting tools, press tools, and striking dies.
  • Carbon content 1.0-1.1%: drills, taps, milling cutters, knives
  • Carbon content 1.1-1.2%: drills, taps, knives, cold cutting dies, wood working tools
  • Carbon content 1.2-1.3%: files, reamers, knives, tools for cutting wood and brass
  • Carbon content 1.3-1.4%: used where a keen cutting edge is necessary, razors, saws, and where wear resistance is important


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