Hand Tools Archive

not what i expected

David Weaver
the high pitched part of of the ward cap iron is only about .015 to .02" long and it tapers to shallow really quickly. It's rounded, and near as I can tell with good lighting, it's about 50 degrees where it terminates into an iron. I have a preference on the try plane of something like that, though - none of my planes terminate as steeply as warren's.

The butcher cap iron (the fatter one) is about 60 degrees at its terminus and the steep part works itself out over about .045". It seems relatively insignificant, but I guess the next step is to marker the cap iron and see where the marker rubs off. That's a hit or miss strategy as it just shows where the wood is rubbing, not where it's rubbing hard (marker comes off easily).

As far as filing them back, I do that fairly regularly - the butcher (even as you look at it) is far less drastic than a lot of the modern euro types so it needed about 5 degrees or so steeper wear, which seemed like a lot at the time.

I put that iron in my second long plane, so I didn't know as much at the time - it's literally the one where I learned that. The iron itself is so wonderful that I didn't ever revisit it until now (someone gave me the iron as a gift, I can't sell the plane with it and it's fitted, so I'll keep it).

Not that most other people will be too familiar, but butcher irons are often supple and easy sharpening but soft. For some reason,that iron is really close to my sharpening sweet spot - just at the range where the washita is slowing down a little cutting it, leading to a really good edge without being too hard to have inadequate toughness.

(after I get the marker experiment done, if the wear off of the marker shows that the shavings are rubbing well past the height of the ward cap, then I'm going to file some of that back and see if doing so evens things out).

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