Hand Tools Archive

Re: work=heat
Response To:
work=heat ()

david weaver
What you describe is what went through my head (this is a decade old thought at this point, though), and the inability to tell what the actual temperature is on the wearing edge, because all we can see is the residual in the iron, which could be from shavings rubbing the edge away from the very tip, etc.

You can get bound up in your head (or I can), trying to guess at things that you can't measure, and it goes back to the same things as arguments about edge life...there's a whole range of conditions that have to be met just to talk about the same thing. Shaving thickness, iron thickness, iron type (steel), hardness, wood type, planing speed, ability of the wood to carry heat away....

While it's interesting to think about until it gets confusing, I've boiled down what I think the answer is - I don't think at most hand planing speeds it causes much of an issue or we'd be able to smell something. It could cause some (does steel wear faster at a higher temperature that's still sub tempering? Who knows).

I had a relative who had a D average in high school, but was a masterful tinkerer - he was obsessed with two things. "Work is heat" and "Noise is unnecessary wear" (applied when you know the noise isn't typical for something). I often think of him when I start puzzling over questions that have an economic answer (like, why can't we harvest some of the thermal inefficiency from electricity generation by heating mass and using the heat elsewhere later where it's needed?). these are strange things for a non-scientist to think about, but I've heard the amish lamenting the same thing when they talk about diesel engines and wasted thermal energy. Maybe it's a lineage thing (my descendants were PA dutch, just Lutheran types instead of Anabaptist).

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