Hand Tools Archive

There could be a LV BU revival *PIC*

David Weaver
given the latest developments with relatively little press at all about LV BU planes, one of the things that we've discussed is that people don't really do what's needed to remove back wear, or they go straight to short cuts that they don't understand and end up limiting clearance with them. That leads to OWTs that the planes are unmanageable.

I never necessarily minded the planes (I minded their handles, which could be dealt with), but like derek, didn't see the point of having a bunch of differently ground blades vs. just adding the tearout control angle as a secondary bevel.

The temptation was always to really push the limit and try to use 25 degrees straight out to get really slick through wood, but at least on my bench, that led to problems on face grain (edge damage).

Yesterday, I sharpened my old stanley 18 to make a spoof picture for a magazine article (it won't appear in any such thing, I don't think magazines use dirty planes, etc), but I had a pamphlet from a bicycle chain that included a "missing link" to hold the plane together.

The iron on the 18 is a turd due to its ability to allow even a black ark to cut it deeply. It's soft. Then it retains the wire edge.

I gave it the unicorn whizz and could tell it was sharp. The plane wasn't up to the sharpness (the bed has a bunch of accumulated corrosion and the sole is very unevenly worn). I lapped the sole in a couple of minutes on 80 grit, whizzed the brashness off with a soft ark, wiped it off, and then suddenly, the block with the cured cheese iron and the still caked bed was capable of this (that's a cherry edge shaving fed back over the front of the plane to cover up the corny fact that we found the missing link :b ).

what this method does with bevel up planes honed at 25 degrees is no joke, though. A quick 10-15 second hone of a 25 degree secondary with a diamond hone, and then 5 seconds on the buffer and there's plenty of effort left in the tank to completely finish honing all of the wear out of the flat back for about 20 seconds on a reasonably fine stone.

The back of this one received nothing more other than the same washita stone used elsewhere in this whole study - heavy pressure at first, lightening off from there. The iron isn't perfect like my other irons, but it's close, so it may have gotten 20 seconds instead of 15. I know it didn't take more than a minute to sharpen.

I don't have an LV BU plane and no plans to get one to stage a photo with the right things, but it's always occurred to me that when folks spend lots of time sharpening unimportant parts, they don't have the steam left to focus on the important parts - especially if they're actually working and not sharpening for relaxation.

Relieving the user of having to focus much on the bevel side and encouraging them to spend significant time on the back is going to be a boon for many. And just as with other things sharpened here, all of the little nuances that I blather on about - managing the edge, not damaging the very edge by ripping off a big burr, getting through all of that to have a completely finished edge and not just a shiny one - as long as the buffer is the last step, it just does all of that.

The next curious thing will be finding out if the gap between V11 and O1 that was almost no gap in end grain can be restored to be similar to long grain by improving the tip of the edge toughness of V11 with the modified profile - in my experience since that test, V11 and its carpenter parent just doesn't quite hold its very tip as well as O1 and water hardening steel when something less than ideal is encountered.

Long story short, this may not only make the honing process easy, but it will bolster the edge and make BU planes with V11 fare much better between sharpenings. if it's not overdone, I don't feel any real difference in cutting resistance in the stanley 18.

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