It’s not only the design and features that matter when we’re talking about a stainless steel tool. The durability and resistance to wear of the actual steel parts are equally important. Usually, the buyer can’t even tell how well a tool will be performing or how long will last in time unless they try it again and again. If you wish to know more from the start, you must learn a few things about the tool manufacturing process and the various techniques that render it durable and reliable.
The protection method during heat treatment
Making steel tools requires handling the metal in high temperature conditions. However, because such temperature leads to unwanted corrosive reactions, the manufacturer needs to ensure adequate protection (from oxygen, first and foremost). There are three basic methods to achieve this: through emptying a furnace of its air content and ensuring a vacuum environment, by replacing the air inside the furnace with neutral gas and thus creating a non-harmful atmosphere, or by using a protective steel wrap. The latter is a cost efficient method that comes easily to manufacturers. Suitable heat treatment foil is easy to purchase.
Proper grade selection
Steel is available in numerous grades, each with a different level of softness/toughness, depending on the percentage of each metal in the alloy. Each kind of tool will require a specific grade, because the different properties only work well in certain conditions. Thus, it mainly depends on the purpose of the tool. When the manufacturer did not select the proper grade, the resulting tools will either be too soft, will not resist to corrosion, or will break quickly or bend too hard for the destined application.
The finish of a stainless steel tool bears great importance. It can have a serious impact on how well the tool lasts in time and how good it serves its purpose. This is especially easy to see in the case of blades. The best anti-corrosion material engineered to fate is the nanoporous tungsten oxide. When used as a coating, steel is made even more durable and can take loads of moisture without damage, as it easily repels liquids. It’s a long lasting coating that is truly effective.
If you wish to find out whether a stainless steel tool will last and serve you well, simply go for the available information on the steel grade employed, the heat treatment and the finish used to coat it.