Hand Tools Archive

Harsh criticism
Response To:
That one still stings... ()

David Weaver
I was pretty harsh about the ECE steel because of my experience with a primus plane. After seeing gushing from a few folks about the primus planes about how much better they were than stanley planes, I found one for a song that had been used, but not much.

The iron exhibited large carbide syndrome, but was also not that hard. So, it held an edge about as long as a vintage stanley but left little lines everywhere.

The gushing along with the ECE ad copy (talking about how long wearing the iron was and how each bit of a primus plane addressed all of the stanley shortcomings) over sold me - if they'd have advertised it as a mediocre alternative, my reaction probably would've been less negative.

Then, I found brent beach's wear test of an ECE iron and it showed the same thing.

They're perfectly mediocre irons (which means they can be used and sharpened without issue), but the way they were sold as being super quality kind of triggered me!

The 3V that bill speaks of is a different animal - there's no large carbides that I can see, but I didn't test it in a chisel, so I couldn't say how it would do (except that what it provides - wear resistance and "working sharpness" as the knife people call it isn't what I"m looking for).

I'm looking for something that's got good edge holding at relatively high hardness for a western tool, which ends up being the plainest steels. I believe 61 is probably about the max that 3v would be suggested at for tempering. If it betters a carbon steel chisel that maintains good fine edge holding at 63, I'd be surprised).

We've long departed getting a set of dovetails banged out, though -the sorbys do that now with the benefit of the buffer. This is about chasing a jones - getting the most out of a chisel for feel and fast sharpening interval and predictability per unit of work completed.

I think just about everything out there in terms of chisel durability tends to favor whatever tolerates higher hardness. There was a chisel test not too long ago (not sure of the youtuber) that was "controlled" and I suspected whoever the winner was, it would probably be the chisel that has the highest spec hardness without being outwardly brittle (i don't recall any good japanese chisels being involved, and many of the best are overhard and need to be tempered back a little bit to b a better chisel). I think the winner was the narex richter (which sounds like a gastrointestinal problem), which is probably one of the harder spec regular process chisels.

I'm way deep in a subset of rabbit holes at this point, though. :|

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