Hand Tools Archive

More iron testing...

david weaver
...before writing a final report. Hopefully my failing old computer is up to a few more pictures.

Over the weekend, I was planing a fingerboard blank for a guitar, after planing the neck out of the same billet. The neck is indian rosewood, which can be a little bit variable (but usually I find it just to be entirely agreeable).

I have the worst of the XHP irons that I've made in my smoother - a third one that I made where I held it in the heat far too long trying to chase temperature and I think it's no longer homogeneous. At any rate, this iron works well in regular hardwoods, it's abrasion resistant, but it was trashed by the rosewood in relatively short order. Not so short that it was unusable, but the behavior was different.

When I posted the results of the initial testing on here, one of the things that I noticed via email was about half a dozen or so independent questioners wondering if the iron would be a good "supersteel for bad wood". I really don't know the answer to that. The cheap chinese irons are good for that ,but V11/XHP do well in good wood without contaminants. In the original testing in maple, once something ugly shows up in wood, toughness comes into play and though it abrades carbon steel, there's less damage.

That leaves me no real choice at this point other than to make another neck out of rosewood (I have a twin of the blank) and plane it to thickness with the commercial V11 iron vs. house O1.

I've sent irons to wiley and steve. I'm not ever going to make irons for sale, so it's not a matter of touting anything, but they may find that my irons are subpar if they're pushed!!

I suppose I'll do a job of making a proper one for my smoother. I don't really notice the same failings in the jointer that did most of the work, but there will be people who read my final study document who instantly conclude they should buy an XHP/V11 iron when they want to plane sand, and I don't think it'll handle that well.

We shall see.

It's still my choice now for clean medium hardwoods, but lower toughness irons may also be dependent on those ideal test conditions (uncontaminated uniform wood without interrupted cuts) to really excel.

Messages In This Thread

More iron testing...
Re: PS
Re: PS
That could've been less opaque
Re: PS
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