Hand Tools

Subject:
firewood splitters..
Response To:
Re: oak ()

David Weaver
..I recall as a kid that we moved to my parents house and we burned wood for heat.

The woods had snags as follows:
* red oak - most common
* white oak, probably 20% as much
* hickory - about the same as white oak
* cherry and walnut, somewhat less (I suspect disease or borers squelching the former)
* locust - about the same as the prior 2

We sought out red oak for firewood, and white oak second because you hit it on one end, it breaks cleanly without cross fibers (splitting hickory by hand, especially in small branch areas is absolutely obnoxious). You hit it on one end and it practical flies apart in the same shape of cut on the other end. White oak looks better.

Fair guess that oak was common because basic dimensioning was splitting, and the result of the wood was a quartered face (which works/planes, etc, more easily than the flatsawn face)?

The steel commentary exists in sales brochures from japanese planemakers with white steel being recommended for soft woods and stuff like super blue being recommended for difficult wood - I don't know the nature of these recommendations, but tungsten is the alloying element in a lot of the japanese alloyed steels and it makes sparse large carbides in quick volume heat treatment (which I found also, but didn't know what it was, in my iron studies - larrin thomas posted pictures of micrographs showing these, and it cleared things up) .

I have no idea why there's a perception that something will hold up better in softwoods than another steel and then turn around and fail in hardwoods.

I had a super blue steel plane at one point and never did solve getting it to hold a uniform fine edge, and it honed far more slowly - a very bad trade off, but I'd imagine that there could be a situation with a "sort of OK" edge that lasted a long time in professional use.

There was no time savings with anything over white steel - it hones easily and the honing process for japanese tools punishes thick laminations or abrasion resistant steels.

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