Hand Tools Archive

Not by chance...

david weaver
..that you haven't found a real defined statement about those things...I've rattled off bits and pieces, but I will summarize the findings of all of this in a more organized way either on google docs or something else that can be published all at once with far fewer words of pondering and far more statements of observations.

I suspect what's occurring is exactly what you said, sort of:
* by 400 feet, none of the alloyed irons give a finish ready surface if that means not being able to see the direction a plane traveled in raking light. That's a demanding standard, but it's what a finish planer would look for. In years past, I thought if the defects were small enough, I could remove them with a stiff wrist and some smoother shavings (burnishing), but it's not so.
* both irons closer to carbon steel are dulling in surface quality at 400 feet, but not showing any prominent lines. the other irons are retaining more surface brightness but adding little lines of defects. Do the carbon steel irons hide defects? I don't know. Not to the level that the lines occur on the others.

Plainly put, the A2 iron maintained good uniformity to 200 feet. Somewhere between 200 and 400, it started to show little defects that would annoy a surface planer. The chinese HSS iron had tiny defects in the first 200 feet and they seem to have stayed the same. The V11 iron and 3V show marginally larger lines, but I wouldn't say any of the four are materially different other than the perhaps lucky first 200 feet for the LN iron.

There are no lines at this point from any iron that would catch a fingernail, but they're visible long before that - anything that catches a fingernail is probably something that can be seen on the edge by the naked eye.

I think two divergent points will occur with this testing - those planing to finish will conclude what they've already found - that eventually, the alloyed irons will annoy them enough that they'll look elsewhere. The folks who are looking to trim doors and sand the finish, and who never sharpen often enough to be forced to become efficient and fast at it (like 90 seconds for a plane fast, and you can't stand nicks and defects when your objective is only to remove wear) - those folks will migrate back to the more highly alloyed irons.

For the matter of your planes (and mine, when i search for older irons or choose steel to make irons), if someone asks you why you don't put whiz bang CPM Rex super nova extra gravity vanadium tungsten atom splitter and rejoiner in your planes, the answer is probably pretty simple - you cannot finish straight off of them, and they don't facilitate elegant sharpening methods with simple abrasives.

I'm sure someone will contend that there is a CPM right around the corner that doesn't leave lines and lasts 6 times as long as carbon steel, but I just haven't seen it. Still haven't. Brian found the same and switched away from A2 as far as I know. Warren had proper observations and I like to think I'm as good at sharpening things as anyone will be, and I came to test these things based on my own observations. If I can't sharpen the alloy steel irons in a practical way such that they don't shed little bits, I don't think anyone can. I'm always willing to be proven wrong.

I mentioned statins in a prior post - the actual adjusted total mortality experience of people on and off of statins in a "man on the street" type level (as in, a person who doesn't have special exotic risk factors) found that most people don't benefit from statins even if they have elevated numbers....until they get to a certain age. There's something in that statin study to piss off everyone who wants to say "look, I win, you were wrong". I think my results will probably create a similar scenario when all is said and done. The shaving lifters will conclude "most feet, your iron is stupid", and the surface gazers will say "can't finish with it during most of those feet, your iron is stupid".

My motivation is similar to the UK study that actually looked at mortality with statin use and risk class - instead of inferring that some lesser test means bigger things, they measured the bigger things.

I'm just intent on measuring two of the bigger things - both separate goals.

Fortune telling, unless I do something to the edges, I think the carbon steel irons will come out of the cut before they ever produce lines on a surface. I don't think based on resistance at this point (just guessing) and now with what bill has told me that K&K saw, that they'll stay in the cut as long. I'd love to be wrong and find that the O1 iron and the blue steel iron last practically as long as any of the more highly alloyed irons so that I could tell everyone that they're wasting their time with things hard to sharpen, but it probably won't happen.

(the older I get, the less ability I have to give simple answers. I never had that ability in the first place, but it's getting worse).

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