A2 Tool Steel Suppliers delivering to the UK and Worldwide.

A2 Tool Steel Chemical Composition

A2 Tool Steel Properties

A2 Tool Steel is a popular grade of steel used around the world. It belongs to the ‘A’ group, which refers to air-hardening. During the modern-day, and pictured by the chemical properties above, air-hardening steels contain a high chromium content compared to many of the other steel grades around.


Although both O1 Tool Steel and A2 are cold-work steel grades, A2 must be hardened by air, which is why it belongs to the air-hardening group, whereas O1 must be hardened by quenching in oil. Due to this hardening process caused by the addition of 5% chromium and 1% molybdenum, A2 is often supplied when increased wear resistance is required from the tool.



A2 is supplied and used worldwide for a range of applications. The main applications include Hammers, Lamination tools, Lathe centre knives, Blanking Tools, Punch Dies, Thread roller dies, Forming dies, Precision tools, Gauges, Machine knives and Woodworking knives.


If you’re unsure if A2 is the correct grade for your project, please call our team on 0114 233 5291 or email us at [email protected]. We’ll advise on the best tool steel grade, explain pricing, delivery time and offer helpful advice to help you find your product.


View tool steel application chart.


Form of Supply 

We can supply A2 Tool Steel in forms such as sheet, flat bar and ground flat stock. Our experienced sales team supply customers from America, Australia, Canada and all corners of the world. We supply all standard sizes and can produce all non-standard sizes if we don’t already hold the stock.



Before heating up, carefully warm the steel to a temperature of 1050-1100°C. It is essential to maintain the forging temperature at high pressure until the metal starts to yield. On completion of forging, proceed to cool slowly to limit the possibility of cracking.



If the toolmaker has re-hardened or forged the steel, then re-annealing will not be necessary. However, if proceeding with annealing, A2 should be heated to 850-870°C then held for two hours before being cooled very slowly to a temperature of 730-750°C. Once A2 steel has stayed at this temperature for around six hours, it can be brought down to 600°C and then removed to cool in the air.


Stress relieving

When working with A2 steel, it is vital to stress-relieve the tools to minimise the risk of cracking or distortion. This procedure works by soaking the tools in a cool, wet environment for a few hours after heating to a temperate of 670-700°C.



When hardening your supplied A2 grade, you should slowly heat to a temperate of 790-820°C and soak. After soaking, proceed by increasing the temperature to 950-980°C, remove and allow to air cool. To learn more about hardening your steel visit our what is quenching page.



Ideally, tempering should be performed as soon as possible after hardening. Once the temperature you require has been reached, begin to hold at this temperature for 25-60 minutes per 25mm of thickness and then air cool.


Note: All information and guidance on the supply of A2 Tool Steel or any other Tool Steel grade are not guaranteed. Your evaluation of the steel should be made using our illustrative advice.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    • What is A2 tool steel?

      A2 steel belongs to the air-hardening group of tool steels. The chromium content of A2 is 5%, which allows for excellent stability when heat treatment is performed. Due to this, it is one of the most popular tool steels in North America.

    • What Rockwell is A2 tool steel?

      The final Rockwell hardness of A2 is typically around 60 - 62 HRC. However, it may be lower if heat treatment and tempering have not been performed.

    • Does A2 tool steel rust?

      A2 is known to rust due to the 5% chromium content it contains. Although this does offer some corrosion resistance properties to the grade, it does not make it immune.

    • Is A2 tool steel better than O1 tool steel?

      There is no right or wrong answer to this FAQ, as the most suitable choice depends entirely on the intended application. Visit our article A2 Vs O1 Tool Steel for a comparison of the two to help determine the most suitable tool steel grade for your next project.

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