Hand Tools

So, what's the point if it doesn't... *PIC*

David Weaver
...last as long as alloyed irons?

it will nick less than V11 does. After I did the test in 2019, I was so convinced by how long V11 lasted in regular planing that I made a gaggle of XHP irons and had them in everything. On cocobolo, or anything with silica, if there was nicking, my irons and LVs looked a lot alike.

But both in regular work nicked more easily than other planes I was using in a cycle of work (For example, try planing with an old ward iron and smoothing or jointing edges and smoothing with XHP and V11, the edge life was decent for the latter, but seeing nicking was constant. This kills edge life (it's a surface quality problem, too, especially in raking light, but most people will sand or scrape, so that doesn't matter). Ultimately, it didn't save any time - XHP grinds half as fast as hard O1, and it doesn't spark well. It becomes a nuisance, and then when there's a nick, you really have to stop and pay attention and hone it for a while to get all the way through it.

It doesn't save time, and it becomes really aggravating. In the standardized testing where it's all continuous cuts through a test piece, though, no iron nicked. The conclusion is that the testing is a good basis for abrasion resistance in situations where you can avoid damage, but someone doing more than smoothing wood out of a planer isn't going to have that for much of what they're doing, at least fairly often.

Fast forward to playing with 26c3 - it's zip for wear resistance above anything else, at least I think it will be - by the composition, it should struggle to match O1, but the grain is super fine and it'll stay uniform. hones easier than alloyed steel, hones far faster, sparks aplenty on the grinder and doesn't really get warm when grinding the bevel, and it abandons any significant wire edge easily.

For context with the ward - I know from testing, a thin smoother shaving in a ward iron in perfect conditions will result in about 35-40% of the planing distance of V11, but comparing planes in wood and actual use, the try plane does have an advantage - it's taking a thicker shaving - and a disadvantage - it will meet discontinuous wood a lot longer. When the XHP (and what I saw in A2 prior) was nicking, the try plane wasn't. I would end up sharpening XHP a few times for each sharpening of the try plane, even though the footage planed by the try plane was greater.

Then, when you go to sharpen the try plane, it's an afterthought. It's not at all soft, but the steel abrades off nicely on a good stone, and it dumps its wire edge on the washita or even alternating strokes on a fine india and then a brush across the corner of the buffing wheel to do very light buffer work and it's ready to go again.

It's not better necessarily for someone who is starting off and has agonizingly long honing intervals and who will be planing machine planed wood, but for someone doing a lot of planing, it's better.

There are exceptionally few who do a lot of hand woodworking (like truly by hand), but I thought it was interesting when Brian H went to working by hand (before order volume was too much) and he went to only carbon steel tools. I know warren probably doesn't have much taste for steel more alloyed than O1, and at this point, neither do I (except good HSS tools are nice to have on a high speed lathe, and they'll take decent edge and can be buffed to a stupid edge if needed).

For comparison in getting a good quick edge, too - here's the shapton cream edge from the omnibus stone test - compared to the quick "dumpy" edge cooked up on 26c3.

The sigma power 13k stone was the only finish stone I tried at that point that really had even grain (but it's very slow at working tool backs to a true scatch replacement level, even if it's fast enough to work a microbevel). On the order of rubbing the back of a plane iron on it for 30 seconds (and it can be a bit sticky if it's not soaked). Intolerable.

Probably one other thing worth noting - you can see that the :dumpy: edge from the washita doesn't get much help from the buffer (but that was intentional). The scratches still do go to the edge (even one stiff tangent pass on micron in the middle of the wheel will remove those). This edge has very little help on the bevel side from the buffer, too (Which itself is a great step toward good edge uniformity). For it to be this even with so little buffing and not experience letting go of anything from the other side is really great. Two thoughts about it:

1) it may seem strange that a washita could create such a fine scratch pattern in steel - compare the scratches to the shapton cream - they're not as deep. But this is gaming what the washita is doing by controlling hardness. If the 26c3 iron comes to the washita with scratches in it, the stone will cut the scratches fine and then stop when they're mostly gone, working only very slowly after that. This is good for the edge (no long grooves, and no free particles slurry dulling like you get on a waterstone). This is also why straight razors are usually a little hard tempered with the best ones probably being "medium hard" tempered, or around 63 or so hardness - my guess. Too much more than that, and they can't handle any deflection, less than that, and they don't work as well on a hone and a linen.

It's true that it's possible to make even a defective razor look like a mirror in pictures, but the edge will be transient, and the roundover from the linen and the amount needed to avoid nicks - both will be greater and the razor will feel smooth but dull

2) This effect - abrasives and steel hardness being used to manipulate each other is why a lot of people claim "japanese tools get sharper". they take smaller grooves off of the same abrasives and the wire edge leaves, leaving someone without much experience with nothing to clean up. And then, the strength of the edge is high with high hardness, so the ability to use a fixed system and get a thinner shaving is better (try a soft iron and a hock O1 iron using anything other than micron diamonds or pastes and you'll see that it's "easier" to get a thin shaving with the hock iron -entirely due to hardness.


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