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How are mattocks manufactured?

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What is a mattock head made of, Mattock heads are made of metal, normally steel or  alloy steel and may undergo a number of manufacturing  processes to give them desirable properties.  Such as strength and toughness.

Heat treatment and tempering

heat treating metal, quenching during heat treatment Heat treating and tempering are manufacturing processes used to alter the physical properties of metal and other materials.

Heat treating involves heating the metal up to a very high temperature and then quenching (rapidly cooling) it. Tempering is performed after heat treating and also involves heating the metal but to a lower temperature than heat treating, then letting it cool slowly.

Forging

forging metal, roll forging of hot metal Forging is a manufacturing process that makes the finished product stronger than a cast or machined part, by altering the direction of crystals within the metal.

Forging compresses the metal into the desired shape. This can be achieved by either drop forging using a hammer and mould (die) or roll forging passing the metal through two or more rotating rollers.

drop forging, hammer (ram), Upper mould (die), Lower mould (die), Anvil, metal workpiece

Drop forging

Drop forging uses a hammer (ram) that is raised and then “dropped” onto a metal workpiece compressing its shape into that of a mould (die).

This process makes the metal workpiece stronger by altering the direction of the crystals in the metal structure.

Roll forging sheet steel

Roll forging

Roll forging involves passing the metal workpiece through a series of shaped rollers until the desired final shape is achieved.

This process can align the crystal structure of the metal in one direction making in stronger in that direction. Because of this, roll forged mattock heads will be stronger than drop forged or cast heads.

What is an alloy?

Alloy metal being poured into moulds An alloy is a metal that has been made by combining two or more metals together to produce a final product which has better properties than the pure elements from which it is made. Bronze is an example of an alloy.

Alloy steel is an alloy that is made using more than 50% steel in combination with other elements, although the steel content of alloy steel is more normally between 90-99%.

Wonkee donkee alloy steel, Did you know that all steels are in  fact an alloy between  iron and carbon?

Powder coating

Powder coating a car wheel Powder coating is a type of finish usually found on metals that, instead of a conventional liquid paint, uses dry powder cured under heat.

A much tougher finish can be achieved with powder coating than conventional painting methods. Powder coating is used on some mattock heads to help protect them from corrosion.

Which should you choose?

Question mark Selecting a mattock head that has been heat treated and tempered will give it greater strength and toughness.

Roll forged mattock heads will be stronger than drop forged. This will be more of a benefit if you’re purchasing a pick mattock rather than cutter or claw mattocks due to the greater impact forces they are likely to be subjected to.

What mattcok head to choose However, roll forged heads are likely to cost more than drop forged, which may be a consideration if you only plan on using your mattock for a small amount of work. Powder coated mattock heads will be less likely to rust and so should require less maintenance.

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