I tried some CPM154 steel from a new supplier this last weekend and I ran into some problems that I've never seen before. As I was drilling some pin holes through my blanks for a set of kitchen knives that I'm getting started on, I got that high-pitched screeching that happens when an HSS drill bit hits hardened steel. This happened on about one hole per knife blank and the other holes went just fine. I probably should have just thrown the blanks into the oven and annealed them, but I was stubborn and in a hurry and burned through several new bits before busting through with my holes. This whole thing got me to thinking, does CPM154 work harden, or did I just get a bad piece of steel that wasn't fully annealed? I usually buy my steel as HRA (hot rolled annealed) but the new website where I purchased this particular steel from didn't specifically say what state the steel was in when I bought it. This might be the reason they were so much cheaper than other websites. I've been working with CPM154 for several years now and this is the first time that I've encountered this problem. Can anyone shed a little more light on what the problem may be?