Hand Tools Archive

The staple...
Response To:
Re: Somewhere.... ()

David Weaver
..and some other things.

Bill and I have been talking on and off offline. I'm sure that while my M4 chisels were tough, the steel is more appropriate yet for irons than it is for chisels, because it's not spectacularly tough compared to some high toughness steels, but it's very abrasive resistant and will go to high hardness. That combination should make it lift a shaving for a long time without user force.

You mention half a mile of shavings. I'd bet that's pretty accurate, actually. I found in a test years ago with maple that I would've by shaving not lifting, sharpened an LN A2 iron around 1000 feet of planing. I managed to force it through 1100 shavings on a 20 inch board, but I was attempting to get to a point where it wouldn't take a 2 thousandth shaving at all no matter how much I forced it. That was a mistake, because the last several hundred shavings were in a state that nobody would ever use a plane, and the shavings came off of the plane but literally had fuzz on them.

I'd love to try making an m4 plane iron at some point, and then on the other end, I think I'm going to cut irons out of 1084 and 1095 later today. Talk about the other end of the spectrum. My house made o1 iron pictures are up, and it is, I hope, going to be a long wearing iron for such an alloy, but I suspect the 3V and some others will make it look not so good.

As far as the staple goes and situations where there is paint or any free floating abrasives that may be on a surface, M2 separates itself from more plain steels easily. I"m sure M4 would do it further yet. If one has diamonds, then there really isn't much that's trouble to sharpen - as you say, the prep the first time can be torture, and the grinding can be slow, because while the diamonds cut hard things, they don't cut hard things as deeply.

Two things keep me from making a whole bunch of exotic irons...3 i guess.
1) cost
2) I have seen discussion that some of the steels can work harden easily. If you're cutting out irons by hand as I am, that would really be torture, and maybe even make finishing an iron impossible.
3) if paul bos is no longer hardening irons, I'm afraid that I would have an exotic steel that's not heat treated as well as it could be, and that would be a real shame.

I vaguely recall the japanese having a record for the most feet planed between sharpenings, and at one point, andrews steel had that record (togo reigo), but I think the HAP40 (m4) irons have that record now.

Beyond all of it, I'm really drawn (in the process of regular work) by carbon steel and a really simple sharpening setup. I'll post separately - now that I've started this, Bill has pointed me toward a document that he has from k&K and they pretty much nailed all of this down already, but we don't have a full translation. A simple setup that doesn't get contaminated (like a turkish oilstone or a washita), and perhaps one other oilstone that follows it if a really fine edge is needed (I have a white synthetic japanese oilstone that says "barber oilstone" on it, and nothing more - it's a real treat).

The test I'm running has increased in the PIA factor because I'm prepping all of these irons to the microscope standard at once. I don't think there is anyone who sharpens every iron they use every time to the standard I'm showing here. I'ts not a matter of sharpness, but the obligation to continue to remove every part of the edge until there are no visible defects anywhere that will be in the cut.

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