Hand Tools Archive

Pretty much the case...
Response To:
Maple ()

david weaver
..for maple in general for all work. Warren uses the term musical for it, and I don't know if that musical stiffness and ability to carry vibrations makes it so painful to do more than just light work on, but it offers a lot more resistance than something like ash or beech without really having any more density.

The tensile strength of the shavings is astonishing. They burned out the leaf blower that I use to clean the shop - first time I ever experienced anything like it. They could probably be used to braid into a rope.

The here and there iron punishing flaws in it make for a crappy test bed, too, but the good parts of it do make really smooth pleasing shavings.

It's just not a very nice wood, and for an end grain test, I wouldn't think it would be very good, either.

When I made the shooting plane i use, I couldn't tell much difference or any in longevity between it and the V11 plane that I had (the LV skew). But in playing with them, I shot cherry. There may be a harder wood where the V11 would separate itself or who knows? I'm sure that results will vary by wood type because toughness can be an issue.

I have a piece of brown purpleheart (it's brown through and through, or very close to it - not sure how) that I used to make the shooting plane infill and wedge, and it worked well for that. For whatever reason, it's extremely dense, easy to burn and the end grain resists everything. In an effort to see how it would plane with V11 and the O1 iron that i made, I destroyed the edges of both blades almost immediately.

Point of that being that choosing more difficult woods that seem like good test beds because of their ability to dull an iron risks lacking the ability to prove that the results will translate elsewhere.

Of course, beech is easy planing for its hardness, from the test results, it can lead to outsized amounts of weight planed, but it doesn't leave much of a question about whether or not an iron is being destroyed by atypical wear. Beech and cherry to me plane like they're related, one just seeming more dense than another. The shavings have a similar quality and the pictures of the edge off of either are also similar.

If someone had stock to waste and a planing machine that could work through large numbers of feet of it, more could be tested about the relationship from one wood to another, and the importance of hardness as wood gets more dense, but none of it would outweigh experience using a plane and getting more out of the most mundane setup. It would still be interesting to see years on after I've taken my lumps with some of the punisher woods, and to see what things I may have been imagining. I took my end grain experience with V11 and a comparison to a very un-like plane in long grain and came up with the wrong conclusion.

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