Hand Tools Archive

Re: Observations on wear after 400 feet planed

Wiley Horne
Hi David and all,

“Only the white steel produced a top grade surface- everything else had a noticeably lower quality. In that was M2 and D2 steels.”

That would imply that the alloy steels have a different wear mode than the straight high-carbon. I wonder if blue steel, which contains tungsten, was also inferior to white steel in the KK study. For example, perhaps the white steel wears evenly, while perhaps the alloy steel loses the ferrite matrix preferentially over the alloy carbides, forming a sort of “exposed aggregate” edge. Just guessing obviously, but KK make an interesting observation.

One other variable we haven’t discussed is grain size. The Japanese irons that Warren commented on would have gone through multiple heats with hot work in between to reduce grain size. Vermuelen devotes a chapter of his metallurgy book to how this happens at the molecular level. Was the KK white steel iron smithed?


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