Hand Tools Archive

Re: Observations on wear after 400 feet planed

David Weaver
It could be some of both, but I don't think it's possible in an ideal scenario for it to match carbon steel as far as surfaces go.

I have two carbon steel-ish irons in this test. One in O1, and one in blue steel (Which is similar to O1). They both are leaving surfaces that dull as they dull, but the uniformity is still excellent.

A2 can have spans off of a sharpening where it may go a few hundred feet without untoward marks, but I wouldn't say that's a majority of the time. If you look at a surface that it planed, you can almost always see the path of where the iron went. Despite those clear spans, you can't rely on it. You can make it better, but it will drive a surface gazer nuts leaving little tiny lines at some point. Where you get to really having enough of it is when you sharpen to try to get a fresh surface, and then you take a few strokes and a couple of tiny lines show up again and you start questioning whether something could be embedded in the plane sole coming out, or maybe on your hands or whatever.

To my knowledge, only plain carbon steels give continuous work without marks, just a slight dulling of the surface brightness as they lose sharpness and clearance.

After I started this, Bill noted that K&K found the same thing with a planing machine that imitates hand planing (not the super surfacer). Only the white steel produced a top grade surface- everything else had a noticeably lower quality. In that was M2 and D2 steels. I don't think A2 was included.

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