Hand Tools Archive

Re: Bevel-up plane with a buffed blade

David Weaver
Looks excellent. The wood looks a whole lot like sitka spruce between the rings, or I guess that's earlywood.

Planes will continue to work well after the bevel has enough wear on it to not catch a hair and snip it off (catching being the first requirement rather than pushing down and sliding over), as long as the edge remains uniform like that.

I can go to 600x optical on edge wear but it's so close that tiny grooves of wear are literally not in the same depth of view and it's hard to tell what you're looking at. If you keep looking at the edges, you'll find optical oddities, like what the different steels look like in different woods. O1 and water hardening seem to look similar (like the wear is smudged off) in most woods, but the more highly alloyed steels take on different looks in different woods.

I found the same as you did on a block plane that really was unsuitable pre-unicorn (actually used it on ribboned bubinga last week - it dulls quickly, but the edge doesn't sustain damage - that was at a high angle. On easier wood at a lower angle, the performance was also good).

And the same on bevel down planes, the only thing that has damaged edges is white pine with knots and dirt. The effect at the edge provides near to total immunity from silica in abrasive woods as far as notching. There is probably some theoretical planing distance lost in most cases (But I was able to two-side buff bevel down irons and match a 32 degree flat edge for distance), but the reality is that if an edge is defect free and gives up 20% of its theoretical planing life, it's almost meaningless - it'll still be less trouble in use and much less in resharpening as there won't be sneak defects that go deeper than the uni-stripe would've already required extra removal for in resharpening.

Once again, the uniformity of the edge is generally better than our best hand efforts because there is no pressure issue (pressure on the very tip of the tool that can lead to things like very small notching), loose particles on stones, and no wire edge for any practical purposes.

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