Hand Tools

Subject:
initially, no significant difference....
Response To:
How visible? ()

David Weaver
..one of the interesting things about V11 is it leaves an abnormally bright surface, actually. If I have a nick free V11 iron and hone on even a washita, the surface is brighter than anything else.

The real issue is that it doesn't seem to resist nicking, and then when it nicks (for the lazy, like me) compared to something like a ward or 26c3 or whatever, it's more work to grind and hone. V11 doesn't grind cool, either. It's not heavily damaged if it's browned (even at 800F, it'll still be 58 hardness, and it would have to temper there for a while to get fully soft like that - i think brown is probably more like 500F and probalby is unnoticeable), but the pain is that when you grind it, it heats fast, so you can't really lean into it.

26c3 sparks off and never really gets hot. It's uncanny.

So, where bill or someone may really enjoy a plane that rarely has to be taken apart, I'm set to be taking the planes apart all the time. I want predictability. When it comes to something like smoothing, edge life isn't that much of an issue because smoothing will follow the try plane. It will take a lot of finish smoothing to go through 400 or 500 feet where dullness is first noticed (this would be about 1000 feet with V11, but it's not easy to get to 1000 feet without nicking something except in a controlled test, or really ideal situation (like maybe having really good machine tools and planing off planer chatter).

Here's the catch with brightness and uniformity - I used to be obsessed with brightness. It's hard to better a kanna (but you can match one if you buff the tip of a plane iron - dirty secret), but what I really want is uniformity. Washita used on a not-so-hard carbons steel iron wont be that bright, but if it's uniform, there's nothing to compare it to. If it's bright but not uniform, it'll look terrible.

Uniformity also correlates with predictability and less often taking a plane apart to sharpen when it's not dull but to finish plane.

If someone sands, they probably won't care about any of this, but they can learn from minimizing nicking just in terms of keeping the sharpening bargain fair (having the sharpening effort be in proportion with the amount of wood planed). Nicking ruins that bargain, even if it's just causing some lost edge life for someone who doesn't care about surface uniformity.

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