Hand Tools

Re: it depends on the plane

david weaver
That has been my speculation, but it's nothing more than speculation on my part. Except that I don't believe that i roll the final part of the bevel that far.

It's the type of thing that you, Steve and I would discuss, but when you start talking about it on forums with someone who doesn't even know how to use a cap iron, everyone thinks they have an equal stake. It would be like me pretending I had stake talking about instrument making with George just because i played several musical instruments for a couple of decades.

My speculation on that part, I've thought of as being, though, a little bit of firm contact just at the edge, and then less resistance further up, which gives a better range of operation (anything that makes the range less sensitive will be better for a person vs. a machine). If the bevel is flat, then it probably takes difficult wood to really see a difference, but it feels like a bit more effort to me to get the same effect. That is subjective, though, and I have no idea how you'd quantify it other than to talk to someone else who has used both (for longer than me).

Some of these things don't make for great testable subjects by an engineer or actuary who just got into woodworking (and I fell into that trap) and who likes to set up models to get consistent data.

Sharpening is another. I can explain uniformity of the edge being more important than absolute sharpness to start, but I don't think most people really follow what that means. Uniformity in:
* the quality of the edge through the sharpening cycle
* the lack of existence of variation at the beginning of the sharpening cycle

Any time I bring that up, at least one person says "maybe you can work with subpar edges, but I can't".

I'm getting off track a little bit - I like the curve, though. I think it offers a bit more range and freedom for the person using the plane (but also agree with steve about why it's got another benefit on a wooden plane - as the ward caps that I've seen allow the steepest wear without restriction, and that's how they're shaped).

Concentricity of cap iron and edge has me more confused, but maybe that will eventually be resolved in greater detail - I think I'll have dementia before I figure it out, though.

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