Materials Used in Hand Tools
The history of hand tools is as
old as history of human civilization. Though an exact history of hand
tools is difficult to figure out, studies have shown that tools were
used even at the early stone age. There is evidence of humans using
knives at the stone age. With the beginning of civilization,
sophisticated hand tools were developed and today with advanced
technology, there is a wide selection of hand tools in different shapes
and sizes, to serve different purposes. There are several materials used
in making hand tools, with each of its own specifications. All hand
tools consist of two parts: blade and the handle. It is a known fact
that while the blades of hand tools are made of different types of
metal, the handles are either made of wood or plastic.
Materials Used in Making Blades
Metal is used to make different hand tools blades because of its
strength and durability requirements. Using casting or forging
procedures, metal tools are manufactured.
Handle Materials in Hand Tools
- Iron: A very common material of blade is iron. It is
evident that the after the use of stone hand tools, people were
using iron hand tools. Later, iron with different alloy content led
to the production of different metal hand tools.
- Brass: An alloy of copper and blade, brass is used in
the making of hand tool blade like that of hand saws, chisels etc.
Brass is preferred because of its low price and its flow
characteristics that makes it relatively easy to cast.
- Steel: Used in almost every existing kind of hand tool.
Because steel is cheap compared to other metals, very strong and
easy to shape, it has the right properties for most kind of hand
- High carbon steel: This type of metal provides more
toughness and with less overall effort it has the ability to take a
very sharp edge.
- High carbon stainless steel: This is considered to be
the best of the stain resistant steels. The blade that is made of
high carbon stainless steel has a high carbon content for hardness
and enough chromium to keep it looking great. High carbon stainless
steel takes a sharp edge. It is the most popular steel type for
making hand tools blade .
- Stainless steel: This metal has less carbon and more
chromium in the alloy. It is resistant to rust and stains but not
very hard to maintain the best possible edge. But still it is used
to make smaller sized hand tools.
- Titanium: A matrix of titanium and carbides, titanium is
lighter than steel but hold an edge longer than steel. The carbides
in the alloy help the blades of the hand tools to be heat treated to
a hardness appropriate for cutting.
All hand tools are always specified with handles. The two popular
materials used in making handles is wood or plastic. It is very
essential that good quality of wood should be used as most of the
problems encountered with hand tools arise from the use of handles made
from cheap unseasoned softwood, combined with poor manufacturing
quality. Some typical problems leading to poor productivity and injury
to the user are :
- Loose tool heads
- Unsatisfactory grips
As such the handle should be made of solid hard wood. In some
cases, plastic is also used. Some handles of hand tools are made of
metal with foam or hard plastic grips
Hand Tool Blade Material Properties
The material properties that are necessary to consider when choosing
the optimum material for a particular cutting application in a hand tool
- Influence on Edge Characteristics
- Wear Resistance
- Shock Resistance
- Corrosion Resistance
- Shape Control during Heat Treat