Hand Tools

Subject:
Re: LV replacement cap irons......

Patrick Chase
What on earth are people doing to their cap irons?

The stamped Stanley-type cap irons may not look stylish, but the continuously rounded, cornerless profile is actually reasonably good for shaving ejection when close-set. The leading edge angle of ~45 deg is also a good starting point. The newer "solid" ones are a step down in both respects, though they certainly look and feel pretty and can be reprofiled to address both issues. Some of my favorite cap irons right now are the ones on "classic" (non-custom) LV bevel-down planes, as they're basically well-made stamped irons. I have never seen wear as a problem with those mild steel cap irons, as they fundamentally are not subjected to wear-inducing use when employed properly.

Also, setting a cap iron is an utterly trivial activity. Loosen, slide, tighten, done. I often do it more than once per sharpening if I encounter stuff that needs a tighter set.

Finally, how can you "not have to adjust one" for "a number of years"? The cap iron needs to be within ~1/100" of the edge to completely prevent tearout on difficult stuff, and that means that it needs to be reset after every significant sharpening at a minimum (and more often than that if you're going back and forth between easy and difficult woods). You would have to either not sharpen, or have the cap iron set a mile back from the edge to avoid adjusting it for that long. There's also the small question of how you remove any wire edge from the iron back without removing the cap iron...

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