A multispeed testing method for obtaining tool-life parameters using radioactive tools has been developed. By suitable interpolation of the instantaneous rates of absolute wear measured for a number of discrete cutting speeds, the corresponding tool-life values can be deduced in a test employing a single cutting edge. Using failure criteria based on wear-land width, crater volume and total wear volume, tool-life parameters were obtained in orthogonal cutting tests with irradiated high speed steel tools. Subsidiary experiments, including conventional tool-life testing, confirmed the validity of the multispeed method over the cutting speed range investigated. © 1978.