Where to have steel tested?

Nov 29, 2015
Where can I send steel to have it tested and find out what it is?

MANY years ago I bought some CM154, S30V, and S90V to make a couple of blades with. I ended up only making 2 blades at the time. I labeled the rest of the steel with some stickers and stored it in a box because we were getting ready to move. I recently got the itch to make a few more kknives. When I opened the box that I stored the steel in, the stickers are all laying in the bottom. Oops! Is there somewhere I can send samples that can tell me which one is which so that I can get the right HT when it's time?

The typical pay analysis is with OES but the cost of that is probably more than your steel is worth. Cheaper are the XRF guns that are not as precise and can’t do carbon but could most likely differentiate between the vanadium content of those steels. But I’m not sure where the best place to look is for one of those. How much steel are we talking about? Can you differentiate based on width or thickness? You might also be able to tell based on heat treatment experiments with small coupons and a hardness tester.
Peters has one of those guns.
They could probably test it for you, but I would give them a call and ask first.
They are a great company to deal with.
Just go to your local scrap/junk yard. They have those handheld guns and can test for you in seconds. I take stuff to mine all the time.
Thanks for the info! I will call see if I can find a local scrap yard that can test them for me. I have 4 pieces of steel that are a little over 30" each. Might not be worth a ton of cash, but I hate to throw out good steel.
I would bet that if you sat down with a good file and filed on the bars you would soon decide which was hardest and easiest to file. Easiest is CPM-154, Hardest is S90V ... the one in the middle is S30V.
You could see if you have a non destructive testing business close by. If it's one that does welding they should have a PMI gun. What they charge you is the problem. If they are bored they might do a informal non certified test for cheap to free or it could be a 4 hour min plus equipment and you could get a nice certified report. That would cost more than the steel.
Most of the larger machine shops I've been in have a PMI gun as well. They are becoming more and more common. I also just saw that several places on e-bay are providing testing for around $20.00...don't know anything about them other than that though.
A quick Google search found lots of labs that do both non destruct and chemical metals testing. You could call some and ask for the pricing. I have had some unidentified poured ingots tested at a silver and gold exchange center at no charge (that turned out to be 90% zinc). You may be able to find something similar in your area.