Hand Tools Archive

Re: Past game changers..
Response To:
Re: Past game changers.. ()

I basically agree with you, though:

Fixed it for you: "* any number of adjustment mechanisms that's supposed to be more precise and better than a wedge (I have tried a lot of them, none are better but lots are quite a bit more expensive.)"

"* super thick irons - same as heavier planes. Feel great, like riding an old cadillac that had power steering so jacked up that you could hardly feel the road through the wheel, and you could turn the wheel with your pinkie while driving over a 4 inch deep pothole. Pain in the rear end to grind - combine high alloy with very thick "two improvements in one", and you have something exceptionally slow to grind. They also remove your senses when it comes to feeling tearout when smoothing."

Don't agree with this, one, though thin blades are fine. Japanese blades are pretty thick, and I don't feel hindered by them. I think I could put a Number 7 jointer into my grinder with a motion like shifting gears in a car, and it would swallow it, so for the grinding thing to be true, it would have to be a slow grinder. I'm biased to the extent that I just bought a 6" wide 1/2"thick piece of O1 for various projects, thoug admitedly I have lived happily without it for 58 years.

"* Primus smoother - I mention it because it literally claims to have solved every stanley plane shortcoming, yet it somehow is a relatively undesirable plane to most people who have tried one."

I don't like them more than others, but I suspect there is a cultural factor there. Klausz only dropped them because they confused the punters, and he seems to be fairly efficient. It would be interesting to know who got to various developments first as far as tech developments were concerned. There are probably more people in Euro using that stuff with real training, and to-do lists than over here. They are certainly lighted and slicker than Bailey planes.

"* Stainless steel infills - the ultimate collector's item - won't rust despite the fact that you don't actually use them. Hope the iron is stainless, too, because it won't be replaceable by the time you find it rusty and the maker's style has changed. Maybe just paint the iron with shellac in advance."

Floods happen. I don't think that stainless is worse as a base than sewer pipe, I like Bronze, though weight is a real factor, though I assume nobody with any of that stuff actually does much. As in 12 hours a day.

"* planes with disposable blades - no comment needed"

Rali plane is perfectly usable, and it has one of the best adjusters which could easily be adapted to a "real" blade, but the market would be punters and they have their ears to the internet, so the exercise is too fickle to be worth trying. Also, breaker wise they are not adjustable, though I can get through a lot of work without that being a problem.

"* planes with super hard irons - great idea if it takes 15 minutes to sharpen. Not so great in practice once you learn to sharpen quickly (George Wilson used to tell me all the time that irons should be right at the edge of being file-able with a good file, which I thought was too soft. He has publicly stated before that irons 62+ hardness in common tool steels are too hard, so I'm not stepping on toes accidentally by stating that.). Just like heavy planes are wood show planes, I've started to refer to those super-hard irons as catalog tools. As in, you buy them when you view them in a catalog because they have a higher number than other tools. It's like getting more french fries in a combo meal - the number is bigger - it must be better. When the maker charges more for the higher number, of course it must also be better."

I think this cuts both ways, yes the number isn't everything, it isn't even linear as far as durability is concerned, but it isn't linear as being bad either. There are a lot of tools out there that have high numbers and are super to use. As far as I can figure out your bio, I think even FWW disproved the linearity of Rockwell hardeness numbers in tool tests before you started in this game. Though they may or not have realized it. But they published chisel tests and such where tools of simplish steel had vastly different performances notwithstanding very close numbers.

I made a bad batch of plane irons at one point. I did the heat treating out of doors in winter, which didn't go well. Anyway, one of the blades made it into a jack plane and seemed fine until I hit a knot, and a small section of the blade actually bent. But it works well enough and so I have kept with it. More extreme, I suppose are things made of O1 like floats that aren't even hardened. And they work to some extent. SO George has a point.

"* planes with or without handles that depart significantly from what was used when people made a living using planes heavily."

Well there are places where people still make a living by hand, and still use planes with no handles. They just don't use Krenov planes. I like Krenov planes but they haven't kept to the front of the bench at my bench. Except, oddly, a scrub plane I use a lot. I just used a specialty Krenov, jointer the other day. The key is that Krenov didn't do heavy prep work with hand tools, though some do with handleless hand tools.

"Krenov said handles are uncomfortable, so lots of people believe him because he said that. Never mind the tens or hundreds of thousands of period woodworkers who didn't find much favor in going without handles."

You will have to share the diaries in which they related the extensive comparative trials they ran. :) They did of course use smoothers and molding planes and all those types.

"There are some improvements, but it seems like a 100 to 1 thing (what's actually an improvement for all). For refreshing hardened steel, CBN is just better. It's faster, no water (I never used water to begin with, but now the iron isn't even too hot to put it in your palm). Certainly, it's not necessary, but it's better and may be cheaper in the long run."

I have been hearing you guys on this, so went to the local store to buy a wheel. I forget what the guy said but he totally put me off it, which is odd since he sells the stuff to woodturners. I assume he is wrong, but it was one of those deals where one wanted to whip out the money and it all went in another direction.

"Belt grinders - not particularly useful for regular woodworking, but in tool and knife making, and rasp making, better than a wheel for a lot of operations. Not many deadly accidents with them, either."

+1, and I use them for general woodworking tool prep. It can work out in a variety of ways. The most extreme is you make the tools, and then while you don't abuse them, you have no qualms about using the grinder. Right on down to it just being the power tool to reshape, grind nicks, sharpen scrapers and such. Certainly using hand tools for production, they are invaluable. Even though I have a decent 2x72, most of my work gets done with the Lee Valley unit. So much so that it is on my agenda to make a better version of that tool. Which is the usual nonsense: it works great, so I need to change something.

"Stanley bailey plane design - an affordable metal plane with interchangeable parts, great adjuster, great cap iron design." Yeah, it is like pneumatic tires on a horse drawn carriage: Just in the nick of too late.

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