Hand Tools Archive

Re: Probably closer to 86.25º

Sgian Dubh
Well, I'm a little surprised, but also pleased my contribution added something of value for you.

In truth, I've been watching your series of threads and posts on steels, burrs and sharpening with some interest. Most of what you've discussed has been more technical than I've been willing to put serious time into developing a good understanding of on my part.

I've known for a number of years that different makers use different steels for plane irons and chisels, but I've never really thought about how one type of steel compares to another in terms of sharpening, edge retention, and the like. In the case of my own tools, most of which are aged many years, decades, and some even a century or more old, I know them all well enough to sharpen as and when needed.

On the other hand, when I'm in, for example, a teaching situation, I am frequently presented with all sorts of chisels, planes, and other tools by the learner owners, and then there's whatever kit is kicking around in the learning facility's tool cupboards. In that situation if a need to sharpen presents itself, I just get on and do the same as I always do, i.e., just 'Sharp'n'Go' as I describe it, using whatever kind of sharpening stone(s) and grinding kit is available - many examples of which are a much abused. The point I'm getting to is that I've never really noticed difficulty sharpening plane irons from brands I've not really come across before, with the same applying to various makes of chisels. One thing I have observed is that some plane irons and chisels seem to be made out of what I call monkey metal: soft, won't really come to a fine edge in the first place, and then either chip easily, or fold over in use. Slainte.

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