Hand Tools Archive

Bill - Friction

David Weaver
Will likely bore others.


I sent an email to bill and supposed that the friction of high hardness steel feels like it's less than lower hardness, and that I suspect also that V11 at the same edge and wedging angles above the edge moves through wood more easily.

I don't know the V11's exact hardness, but we have a pretty good idea of the chromium content from Patrick Chase XRF-ing the steel and posting it for all to see.
Safe to say, it probably won't rust.

I also did a very brief search for studies of this, but I didn't find anything based on hardness. What I found was someones' thesis that steel's friction on wood is lower based on *potential* hardness. As in, unhardened tool steel has less friction across wood than does mild steel.

I have actually had the benefit of discerning this having made an O1 plane and a mild steel infill at the same time. The O1 plane has less friction when you forget to wax it, and the abruptness of the wax running out isn't as stark.

Cast iron planes have less friction than mild steel planes ( in same-weight infills). Subjectively, the O1 infills and cast infills have about the same friction on wood. Bronze LN planes are also much more sticky than cast, and i'm holding off looking at bronze on that engineer's page until after I type this so that I don't get biased by it. But, I'll bet the coefficient of friction of bronze is close to mild steel.

So, I can't say that it's so much the hardness as what the thesis described as potential hardness, but the japanese chisel and the V11 chisel are easier through the cut, and it's noticeable and even affects the quality of the leaf of maple coming off for some reason. japanese and V11 chisels are less likely to fracture the shaving than the others even when identically set up.

I can't imagine anyone studying this, but when you use one right after another, then you find things you didn't expect to find, but they can be felt very easily. In isolation with large gaps between uses, they may not be quite so easy to notice.

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