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  1. #1
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    Default HSS plane blades - Academy Saw Works?

    I'm looking for HSS replacement for Stanley style planes, and I saw some discussions around 10 years ago that ASW M2 HSS blades were among the best around. Can you still get them?

    Also, any other recommendations? I have heard Mujingfang are a well-kept secret, but they only make blades that for No.3 and No. 4. I'm after a 60mm blade that fits a No.7

  2. #2
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    The best blades around for a Stanley plane are Veritas PM-V11 (sized for Stanley. Contact Lee Valley or Carbatec.

    The Academy HSS blades are no longer available.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekcohen View Post
    The best blades around for a Stanley plane are Veritas PM-V11 (sized for Stanley. Contact Lee Valley or Carbatec.

    The Academy HSS blades are no longer available.
    I thought Terry Gordon (HNT Gordon planes) took over the supply when ASW's owner retired.

    But agree that PM-V11 is probably the best choice
    regards from Canada

    ian

  4. #4
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    Ian, Terry offers HSS blades, and at one time they may have been made for him by Academy, but Academy closed their doors many years ago.

    Over at WoodCentral, David Weaver (who posts here as DW) completed a HUGE and exhaustive comparison of blade steels: O1, A2, HSS, PM-V11, White Steel. David has long been a critic of A2 and, especially, PM-V11. After the extended testing, he came to the conclusion that PM-V11 not only lasts twice as long as the best of other steels, but the finish it imparts is the best as well .... better than O1 and better than White Steel!

    Blast from the Past for XHP/V11

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  5. #5
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    Just for the record, I think both Terry & Jim Davey had some Academy blades for a while after Paul closed up shop, but as Derek said, that was a long time ago, already. I had a custom blade made, not long before he quit making blades. It cost a few cents (!) more than his standard blades, but I wanted the magic hardness for my 60 degree smoother, because I felt I was getting excessively rapid dulling with the blade I started with. The Academy blade did improve edge retention (not as much s I expected, but my expectations were probably unrealistic) but it's a beast of a thing to sharpen, and will chip very smartly if it hits a bit of grit. Up til that point, I'd been chasing ever harder steels to cope with the She-oak & other hard, abrasive woods I was working with, but the Academy blade convinced me that there had to be compromises - you can't have it all!

    So I was a bit (lot!) sceptical when PMV11 arrived to much fanfare, but decided to try one in my workaday #4 anyway. At first, I was bitterly disappointed, despite the claims that it will sharpen on oilstones as easily as the other tool steels, I had to work for 4 or 5 times as long to put an edge on mine with my soft & hard Arkansas stones. The edge I did get was not as keen as I got with O1, and I began to think I'd wasted my money & time. However, thanks to some posts on the Forum, I decided to switch to a water stone for finish honing, and the result was day vs night!

    I still think it takes a bit more effort to get that super keen edge on the PMV11, but IMO, the edge is better than what I can get on my A2 tools, and not as prone to crumbling. The PMV11 definitely outlasts by a comfortable margin, anything else I've tried when planing She-oak. Our eastern version of She-oak (A. torulosa) and the local Forest Red-Gum (E. tereticornis), are among the most edge-dulling woods I know [Weeping Myall (Acacia pendula) is the champion, in my experience-that stuff kills a freshly-sharpened blade in about 3 swipes!] Even Gidgee & Mulga are kinder to edges than those 3.

    When working with "sensible" woods, I'm perfectly happy with my Hocks, I may have to sharpen more often, but that's compensated by the ease of doing it. You can do a bit for edge retention on the 'softer' steels like O1 by experimenting with your grinding/honing angles, to find a sweet spot between 'sharpness' and longevity. But much depends on the woods you regularly attack....

    Cheers,
    IW

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanW View Post
    …..
    convinced me that there had to be compromises - you can't have it all!

    …. I had to work for 4 or 5 times as long to put an edge on mine ….

    Cheers,
    Never truer statements made about cutting edges on any tool! We have to compromise to find the most efficient solution for our needs, and there may not be one solution as or needs change from project to project & our choice of woods.

    Re - Using Doug Thompson's skew chisels has convinced me that the extra time required to put an edge on the newer PM steels is worth it imo - but only in some applications. No point going to all that effort if one is likely to encounter foreign objects grit etc as the harder steels don't fare all that well if you do.

    I have a HSS blade for my Stanley #5 purchased in the early 1980's and find it suits most of my needs but I do swap back to the original blade if I suspect that I may encounter grit etc.

    thx for the thread, has prompted me to do something about finding blades for my small Turner 220.
    Mobyturns

    In An Instant Your Life CanChange Forever

  7. #7
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    Keep an eye out for Titan or Australian Stanley HSS tipped irons; they haven't been made for about 30 years but do crop up now and again. Brent Beach did a review here on the various HSS irons available and performed some testing; the page is HERE. He did individual reviews on each blade he tested; the Stanley review is HERE and his opinion at the time was they were the best he'd ever come across.

    My personal interpretation of his findings is that they represent the best bang-for-buck irons you can acquire for vintage Stanleys and Records and in use they are great... BUT my basis for comparison is only the original OEM irons spread over 100 years of manufacture.

    Essentially they are M2 HSS and drop straight into a plane; I've managed to get hold of enough of them to fit out all my users plus a set with back bevels for truly evil timbers.
    A thief stole my anti-depressants. I hope heís happy now.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Tiff View Post
    Keep an eye out for Titan or Australian Stanley HSS tipped irons; they haven't been made for about 30 years but do crop up now and again. Brent Beach did a review here on the various HSS irons available and performed some testing; the page is HERE. He did individual reviews on each blade he tested; the Stanley review is HERE and his opinion at the time was they were the best he'd ever come across.

    My personal interpretation of his findings is that they represent the best bang-for-buck irons you can acquire for vintage Stanleys and Records and in use they are great... BUT my basis for comparison is only the original OEM irons spread over 100 years of manufacture.

    Essentially they are M2 HSS and drop straight into a plane; I've managed to get hold of enough of them to fit out all my users plus a set with back bevels for truly evil timbers.
    where do I begin to look for them?

  9. #9
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    Brent's findings are iffy since the information imparted is limited to number of shavings made and not the quality of the work surface remaining.

    In any event, these blades are not available. If you are desperate for a Stanley HSS blade, go here: https://www.thewoodworks.com.au/shop...-tipped-detail

    However, I repeat that the PM-V11 blades are better - both for longevity of edge and for quality of surface.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Tiff View Post
    Keep an eye out for Titan or Australian Stanley HSS tipped irons; they haven't been made for about 30 years but do crop up now and again.
    I have a 60mm Stanley Aus. HSS blade and cap iron, brand new, still in the rust proof coating from the factory. PM me if you're interested.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekcohen View Post
    .......However, I repeat that the PM-V11 blades are better - both for longevity of edge and for quality of surface.....
    I would agree with the first part, without question - not so sure about surface quality, but I wouldn't go to court over it! I was an early taker-upper of the Titan/Stanley HSS blades, and there is no doubt at all in my mind they were the best things going by a mile, 30 years ago. However, time has caught up, most of the after-market blades you get now are pretty damn good, but the PMV11 blades especially, would run rings around my old Stanley HSS blades. Apart from edge-retention, it's thicker, and gives any Bailey plane it goes into a more 'solid' action. And they are easily obtainable, you won't have to waste hours on the interweb to find one. They ain't cheap, but I doubt an average amateur would use one up in a lifetime, so amortise the cost over the years of workshop time you reckon you have left & it might seem like a bargain.....

    Cheers,
    IW

  12. #12
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    I would agree with the first part, without question - not so sure about surface quality, but I wouldn't go to court over it!
    Ian, David (DW) just completed an exhaustive comparison at WoodCentral, as I mentioned earlier. Going by his results, I would say that you could call him up to provide expert testimony in court in this regard!

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by yoboseyo View Post
    where do I begin to look for them?
    Gumtree, Ebay and garage sales. I picked up at least half a dozen over the last year, 3 or 4 of them in unopened packaging. Sometimes youíll find them installed in planes for sale; if the iron is stamped ďAustraliaĒ itís worth having a peek.

    Itís somewhat unlikely that Iíll ever invest in a brand new LN or Veritas plane (with the possible exception of an LA jack) so Iíll probably never have a personal comparison of other HSS grades and as I have a lifetimeís worth of Titans & Stanleys I donít feel tempted to buy any alternatives just yet...
    A thief stole my anti-depressants. I hope heís happy now.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Tiff View Post
    Gumtree, Ebay and garage sales. I picked up at least half a dozen over the last year, 3 or 4 of them in unopened packaging. Sometimes you’ll find them installed in planes for sale; if the iron is stamped “Australia” it’s worth having a peek.

    It’s somewhat unlikely that I’ll ever invest in a brand new LN or Veritas plane (with the possible exception of an LA jack) so I’ll probably never have a personal comparison of other HSS grades and as I have a lifetime’s worth of Titans & Stanleys I don’t feel tempted to buy any alternatives just yet...
    What are clues in identifying them, if they are not marked as such?

  15. #15
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    Look closely at the blade if it has a join then 99% it is HSS tipped

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