Tool Steel

Tools aren’t made with just anything–they’re made with tool steel. Tool steel consists of various alloy and carbon steels. At Pennsylvania Steel Company, we stock a variety of tool steel at our warehouses across the northeast. We are confident that we can provide the highest quality tool steel you need to get the job done.

You can find PA Steel distributors in York, Bensalem, Throop, and Whitehall, PA as well as Long Island, Naugatuck, CT, Ashland, VA, Stanley, NC, and Cleveland, OH. Please contact the closest distributor near you to receive a customized quote for tool steel.

What is Tool Steel?

Tool steel is a variety of carbon and alloy steels that offer abrasion resistance and a high level of hardness. In addition, the steel’s toughness prevents the shape from deforming during high temperatures. These properties make it the ideal choice for creating tools.

Tool Steel drills

Tool Steel Classes

Tool steel comes in several different classes, each made for different purposes. These different classes include the following.

Air Hardening

Air hardening tool steel is an all-purpose steel that has an increased chromium content that prevents distortion during the heating process. Air hardening steel is perfect for machinability and offers the best balance between toughness and wear resistance. Applications for this type of steel include various knives, embossing, lamination, arbors, and more.

High-Carbon High-Chromium

High-carbon high-chromium tool steel is also air hardening but uses a special formula that makes it abrasive resistant while including other air hardening characteristics. Applications for this steel include paper cutters, various knives, file cutting, die bending, and burnishing tools.

Shock Resisting

Shock resisting tool steel has a special design that resists shock at both high and low temperatures. It uses a low carbon content to achieve the needed toughness and low abrasion resistance. Applications for shock resisting steel include chisels, chuck jaws, clutch parts, boiler shop tools, jackhammer bits, and more.

Mold Quality/Hot Work

Hot-working steel serves a single purpose—to cut materials at high temperatures. It uses a unique blend low in carbon and high in additional alloys to add strength and hardness for long exposure to high temperatures. Applications for hot working tool steel include hot sheer knives, pressure die casting, drop forging, and glass and tube manufacturing.

Oil Hardening

Oil hardening tool steel hardens when it’s quenched in oil. It’s high in carbon and offers toughness and non-distorting properties, making it ideal for creating complicated shapes. For that reason, it’s used for a wide variety of applications including drill bushing, knurling tools, and shear blades, machinery gages, molds for wheels, screw molds, and much more.

Water Hardening

Water hardening tool steel is steel high in carbon. It’s not suitable for high temperatures but does offer a high level of hardness. It’s known as water hardening steel because it’s quenched with water during processing. Common applications include cutting tools, cutlery, knives, and reamers.


Browse some of our products below or download our full Tool Steel Guide to see our complete collection.

Air Hardening

A2, A6, A7

High Carbon-High Chrome

D2, D3

Shock Resisting

S1, S5, S7

Mold Quality/ Hot Work

420, P20, h13

High Speed


Oil Hardening

O1, O2, O6, L6

Water Hardening


Drill Rod

O-1, W-1, A-2, S-7, D-2, M2

Precision Ground Flat Stock

O-1, A-2, D-2, S-7, A-6, M-2

Powdered Metal

M4 PM, A11-LVC PM, A11 PM, T15 PM

Alloy & Low Carbon

Freemax 15, 4140 DCF Prehard 4150 & 4340 Heat Treated, 8620

Contact PA Steel For a Custom Tool Steel Quote

Searching for a tool steel supplier near you? PA Steel has steel warehouses in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina. Contact the steel warehouse closest to you today to receive a customized tool steel quote or to have any questions you might have answered.