Hand Tools

Subject:
I'd have trouble.....

David Weaver
finding a scenario where edge life in this scenario is determined by abrasion resistance. But edge strength is affected if hardness is off, and if you're sharpening with diamonds and that routine on a stanley iron, you're doubling the effort needed to sharpen the stanley.

With the process you're using, I get that you're favoring harder irons. CPM M4 would probably be the best performer given that it's quick to dump its wire edge and will take an acceptable temper (And not have the "quench fragility" that I refer to as being the only real toughness issue) at a higher hardness than V11.

the stanley iron will get about to its max potential off of a fine india stone and a little bit of corner buffing, and grinding is scarce (every four?). There is enough edge life to turn a cocobolo smoothing plane from rectangular to coffin with resharpening needed only to finish plane the top.

When I tested A2 irons eons ago, I had one iron that took tiny nicks (the kind that at first don't even split a fine smoother shaving), and one that didn't. In the end, comparing the two to each other made it obvious that it was a bigger pain to use the iron with small damage - by a lot. The one that started with small nicks took no real damage (there was nothing in the wood that would cause it) and lasted 750 feet to another A2 iron's 1100(the latter was still cutting, but miserable to use, so I stopped. The one at 750 couldn't take a useful shaving.

The nicking occurred around 220 or 280 feet out of the blue. The iron that nicked came with a claim of better edge life than anything else on the package (weasly worded, though) and the group that sent it to me was hoping that I'd get it, like it (I don't think they anticipated that I'd test it) and tell everyone how great it was. I did release the test results and mentioned the chipping issue. Unfortunately for them, the iron that fared better was one of the two competitors they had a beef with.

I've lost contact with true edge life issues since learning how to prevent damage and sharpen with as little effort as possible. When I made a case last year, I did find it annoying to stop to sharpen, because my mind wasn't in planing mode. But rather than avoid it, I just did it - the reduction in effort and increase in quality (decrease in skipping starts, etc) was drastic.

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