Hex tool manufacturers
do not all use the same type of alloy steel. Chrome vanadium, 1050 carbon
steel, S2, and 8650 are all common grades in use.
- ProtaniumÂ® Steel
is a proprietary alloy steel developed and used only by
Bondhus. It is the hardest, most ductile, and longest
wearing steel that exists in the hex tool industry.
- 8650 is the most common grade in use throughout the U.S. and
the Far East. It does not have the hardness or
ductility of ProtaniumÂ® Steel
- Chrome Vanadium
is about comparable in quality to 8650. It is used
primarily in Europe.
- Chrome Moly is similar to Chrome Vanadium, but is
somewhat stronger and harder. Because it is fairly expensive,
manufacturers generally only use it on their higher
grade and higher priced tools like ball head products,
and substitute lower grades for
their other tools. Europe and Japan are the primary users.
- S2 is used by only a small number of
manufacturers. It is harder than 8650, but it is also less ductile, more
costly, and far more prone to shattering.
- 1050 carbon steel is low-grade steel that is
inferior to those listed above. It is still used by some manufacturers in Europe
Some of the factors that affect the
performance of steel, and the tools manufactured from
it, are: hardness, ductility, grain size, alloy
composition, and heat treating. Metallurgists and tool
makers understand that behind these characteristics
stand the deeper concepts of lattice structure, bonding,
crystal formation, dislocations, phase transformation,
quench rates, and heat treating to mention just a few.
What these concepts mean, and how they all work
together, is fundamental to understanding why BondhusÂ®
tools work better, last longer, and are safer to use.