Hand Tools Archive

Re: ordered Lee Valley PM V11 blades today

Wiley Horne
Hello Derek,

You have documented a body of work for the ages, with such point by point photos and commentary as to leave no doubt as to what was done and the objectivity of your findings. I should not have overlooked all this when making my comment about David’s freeform approach. Bill T’s post gives a fleshed-out summary of the bigger picture.

You mentioned Lee Valley’s quality control, particularly the flatness. I thought I would add my personal impressions to this fact....what’s it like to open the mail and find a PMV11 iron inside?

You have in your hand a rugged and purpose-built protective container which is an exact fit to the iron sealed inside. It’s not generic—there has to be a different sized container for each different width of iron. Here’s mine:


The photo shows a very interesting technical paper packed with the blade (along with a moisture-absorbing chip). This paper explains the blade’s smoothness, flatness, and it’s matte-gray finish.

LV defines a smoothness specification, and the iron is lapped smooth to 5 millionths of an inch, such that no further polishing (to make it bright)makes sense. The iron is flat to 5-ten-thousandths (5 ‘tenths’). You can make out the matte-gray finish here:


Only the final 1/8” of blade is polished. It comes out of the container working sharp. Nevertheless, I wanted to have the pleasure of hollow-grinding and honing this remarkable iron.

Overall, everything about this Made in Canada iron bespeaks quality and attention to every detail, from its packaging, to the technical note packed with it which explains the smoothness, flatness, and finish; right down to the moisture absorbing treated wood square inside the container. My impression is that the price is more than fair, for what Rob and company have put into this product.

Wiley.......noting that today is the last free-shipping day in this cycle

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