Hand Tools Archive

Extra comment...

david weaver
One extra comment - the ward iron had slightly lower surface quality at 30 degrees. It could be a matter of the diamond or stropping to try to get rid of the wire edge that caused an issue. I just didn't get an edge under the scope that looked as good, but I also didn't want to faff with the iron lots longer.

I expected that 30 degrees would yield slightly better edge life, or about the same, but not 1 1/2 times 35 degrees as some might guess due to clearance.

Like I said in the other post, I'd trust the result from this setup more. This piece of wood is also a little more consistent. The heart on the last piece at the bottom seemed to get harder just in the middle of the 30 degree test, which may have influenced things.

One thing I'd like to gather from the angle tests, though, isn't which is better (30 or 35), but that within a reasonable range, is there any reason to believe one is far better, and I think the answer is no. My freehand measures 33 or so. It may be better than either of these if I hook up the iron in the guide and make it precisely that, but I don't think it's critical. Will there be more quality issues at 30 degrees, and could it be the case that some irons hold up better at 35? Maybe. A2 has a reputation for dropping bits out of the edge unless it's close to 35. It may wear worse because of it.

It could be legitimate with the ward iron, too, that it just prefers 35 over 30, but I did this test before properly finishing the back of the iron and got 500 feet at 35 degrees and 550 at 30 on that go-around. Finishing the back properly added some durability.

Long story short, don't read too much into that one ward result, because even the ward got two different numbers. Now, to complicate that even further, I was a little bit more careful with the unprepped iron on the 30 degree test in that case.

Draws back toward finish level being more important. Final bevel angle seems like something I couldn't get that excited about, but something that perhaps Larry would've argued more about (I think I remember him showing a stanley guide at one point and insisting that there was a definite right answer, etc).

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