Thanks Thanks:  0
Needs Pictures Needs Pictures:  0
Picture(s) thanks Picture(s) thanks:  0
Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    melb
    Posts
    811

    Default Plane iron sharpness testing

    The youtuber who did the chisel testing has just finished tests on plane irons.
    Plane Test Results ALL THE DATA and SPREADSHEETS!!!! - YouTube

    The data
    YouTube

    Very interesting data in that Woodriver did really well (which I think is an A2 steel) and also a cheap brand which I dont know anything about "Cliffton" which is a cryogenically treated steel. PMV-11 came out on top with Lie-Nielsen second.

    The Narex Ritcher came out on top of the chisel testing and he had a pre-production plane iron in this test - would be interesting to see if the production run of the iron would do better.

    I dont know if the Woodriver can be bought in Australia? Luban planes which comes from the same factory uses a different steel.

    edit:
    Another interesting thing was the 35degree bevel. I have been using DW's unicorn bevel/techinique would be interesting to see unicorn vs straight bevel vs unicorn placed on a 30 or 35 degree initial bevel

  2. # ADS
    Google Adsense Advertisement
    Join Date
    Always
    Location
    Advertising world
    Posts
    Many





     
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    741

    Default

    Woodriver can certainly be bought in Australia. I suggest that anyone wanting one support Jim Davey, who often sells them on special, and who also checks each one he ships, sets it up and hones the blade so it's ready to work out of the box.

    Jim Davey for Premium Woodworking Tools | Falls Creek NSW

    I've no connection to Jim, other than a satisfied customer and someone who has chatted to him over the years at various wood shows. He is a top bloke, very knowledgeable and very helpful with advice. Good to support a small country based business.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Not far enough away from Melbourne
    Posts
    3,812

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RossM View Post
    Woodriver can certainly be bought in Australia. I suggest that anyone wanting one support Jim Davey, who often sells them on special, and who also checks each one he ships, sets it up and hones the blade so it's ready to work out of the box.

    Jim Davey for Premium Woodworking Tools | Falls Creek NSW

    I've no connection to Jim, other than a satisfied customer and someone who has chatted to him over the years at various wood shows. He is a top bloke, very knowledgeable and very helpful with advice. Good to support a small country based business.
    I have spoken to Jim at many wood shows and have bought quite a few things from him too. never disappointed.

    I had never visited his website before today when I clicked the link here. I got a surprise to find out where he lives. I actually stayed with a friend who lives just 681 metres from Jim's address when I was up that way in early December. It might be just as well I didn't know this or I might have had no fuel money for the trip back to Melbourne.
    When you are dead you donít know that you are dead. You feel no pain, everyone else feels the pain. Itís the same thing when you are stupid.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    US
    Posts
    1,622

    Default

    I'm not sure what the data is showing, but I've manually done a bunch of these tests until a plane no longer keeps itself in the cut. Differences in A2 hock, LN, etc, should be minimal if they're the same hardness (realistic differences would occur based on hardness but not much else).

    What I found is this:

    * Hard O1 steel will last about 80% of the distance of A2 (same or similar hardness)
    * The blue steel japanese iron should last longer than O1 ad about like A2 based on composition and hardness, but it has sparse carbides and they come free easily ( a pro metallurgist here found the same at least with blue super). It's not a matter of "doing it better so that doesn't happen, the iron just is of a composition with less than ideal carbide distribution and size)
    * M2 irons will last about 1.65 times as long as O1 steel (as will CPM-3V, but nobody makes an iron in that - it's good, though)
    * V11 lasts almost exactly twice as long as O1 unless toughness comes into play (it doesn't in clean planing).
    * CPM M4 lasts just slightly longer than V11 - only a small amount

    It's not so much dullness (like knife cutting string, etc) that we notice with planes, it's when damage or wear in accumulation prevent the plane from going into the cut. The trouble with the string test is that failure in a half inch of plane iron and good edge elsewhere (under the microscope, this is common, especially if one part of an iron hits a nasty patch) will still prevent planing. Planes start with downforce into the cut by themselves and it's gradually (linearly according to japanese tests, from what I hear - someone relayed that to me) lose downforce. When our pushing of the plane and the weight of the plane are nearing the amount of negative downforce created by cutting, it's really hard to keep a plane in a continuous cut (and the results are little ridges in work).

    So, we really would sharpen not based on edge sharpness, but when the plane doesn't start and stay in a cut easily.

    As far as angles, I used 35 for the test, which created some groaning about lower edges angles lasting longer. They do, but damage begins to occur, and damage of a couple of thousandths drastically increases sharpening time. Damage generally stops somewhere between 30 and 35. The theory at testing from a commenter was that 30 should last 50% longer than 35. I don't remember what it was, but it was some small amount (though 30 would hold up fine in clear pine, I'd bet - I planed beech).

    As far as unicorn, I found two things:
    * if it's applied only on teh bevel side, you can feel the loss of clearance, the plane doesn't supply as much of its own downforce, but
    * things that typically damage a plane iron suddenly don't damage the edge (silica in cocobolo did not nick the edge of even a cheap $2.99 modern box store blade).
    * the loss of footage planed due to initial loss of clearance is about 20%, but you can feel the clearance loss and it *feels* worse than that through most of the process.
    * because of the ability to avoid nicking with small contaminants, the edge life could still be 5 times typical sharpening in something that has silica (cocobolo, teak, etc, or even just dirty wood or wood that's ultra hard)
    * it's possible to buff both sides of the blade and get some of the edge protection without significant clearance loss and match footage planed with a regular two flat planes apex

    If someone wants to use the unicorn method on a bevel down plane iron (the rounding doesn't matter on bevel up - it's quite pleasant actually, and heavy buffing makes for about the same tearout protection as adding 5 degrees), then lightly buffing both sides of the bevel idea is probably better and easier to master. I don't think the method itself (other than for nasty woods that damage irons) really has that much benefit to offer like it does with chisels, but it can be used. Damage prevention was a surprise (and I only came up with plane iron methods due to urging from people who said that maybe people would like to do it).


    (my ward plane iron lasted somewhere around 70-75% as long as O1, but my O1 iron is a little bit harder than the ward iron that I tested. Ward irons are probably water hardening steel).

    Sharpening effort/grinding slowness was about in line with the footage planed from the steels mentioned above, except to me, A2 seems to have more resistance in sharpening and grinding than it does in improved edge life over good O1. I'm not aware of any commercial irons in the hardness range of mine (hock is slightly harder, LV is softer - wanting to shoot the middle is why I made my own).

    V11 sharpens crisply because it's relatively high hardness, but it does grind about half as fast (and medium hone half as fast if you're trying to get rid of a small nick) as harder O1. The rumors of it sharpening as quickly as O1 are sort of true, sort of false - if you have to remove the same amount of wear from an edge to get it to be fresh, you have to do twice as much physical sharpening with V11 as O1. If you plane 500 feet with each and sharpen each, then the sharpening involved will be even.

    V11 also has a ton of chromium and is slicker in a cut than O1 which itself is slicker feeling than 3V and M4 (i'm guessing this is due to the amount of vanadium carbide in both of those). It's uncanny but same plane one right after another you can feel it - it's stark. When I tested chisels for the unicorn article, the V11 chisel didn't cooperate and completely forgo damage, but the same slickness could be felt through wedging in the wood.

    Planing end grain (where toughness comes into play), V11 and O1's gap narrows considerably - maybe 25% more in favor of V11 vs. double (I don't remember the footage planed). V11 again had less resistance sliding across end grain, noticeably so.

    Last thing I tested was edge life with abrasive - these are what I can remember off of the top of my head (feet are not as measured, but shown as scale assuming that 1 micron diamonds would plane 1000 feet in a test)
    1 micron diamond - 1000 feet
    fine oilstones - no significant difference observed in a settled in washita vs. trans/black- 850 feet
    5 micron diamond - 650 feet (and no good feel to be had - not fine enough and leaves a coarse surface)

    abrasives were compared to examine the myth of natural stones creating a longer lasting edge (they don't) vs. fine oxides and diamonds. The finer the edge, the longer it lasts in clean wood and the better the wear profile for planing longer. I didn't test smaller diamonds yet (at some point, the steps become tedious), but another person here in the states tested 0.5 and 0.25 micron diamonds and found that there was additional edge life greater than the 1 micron diamonds, but I don't know how much.

    Most people using any commercial sharpening stone won't find an edge as fine as 1 micron diamonds, even though they're considered harsh on an edge, not due to the stones not being as fine as they say on average, but because they're not graded as closely as the graded abrasives. I think some of that is cost, but some is to make the stones seem faster than their fineness rating - a mixture of grits from 0.5-3 averaging 1 is definitely faster than 1 micron abrasives, but the edge is more coarse. No 1 micron closely graded stone (like shapton 16k or sigma power 13k, which is slightly smaller average particle size) is faster than 1 micron loose diamonds, though (and 1 micron loose diamonds cost about $20 for a decade's worth or more).

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    US
    Posts
    1,622

    Default

    side comment - lignum vitae may not be a great test wood if you're not planing something like it. Harder woods test hardness of the iron more than medium hardwoods and one of the realities of edges is that hardness equals edge strength (softness means greater toughness, but toughness can come with deformity or edge deflection which is very undude for what we like to do).

    Very hard wood on the top end can also challenge toughness.

    When I did my tests, I planed beech, and a few in maple (hard maple). It's arduous but it removes testing error due to encountering factors that wouldn't be there in everyday work (unless someone planes lignum every day).

    (the edge in this test for most irons would be improved by the unicorn method, by the way).

    There's always an urge to use something that accelerates the test, but then that cannot be relied on very well unless it's calibrated against something else (for example, taking the 25th and 75th percentile irons and then testing them on a medium hardwood to ensure that the ratio holds vs. the accelerated test). This kind of stuff is a pain, but you have to do it.

    I tested only one test on end grain just to see why people were not experiencing the same improved edge life with V11 in shooting plane as they did hard O1 irons, but wasn't about to retest all irons (i tested end grain upright, where a plane can go far longer in footage than a shooting plane because the plane itself is being used in a way that is mechanically dude with how the plane was designed to be used - specifically, when you push a stanley plane, you create about 10 pounds of downforce from rotation and you can't get that with a plane laying on its side).

    Also, I didn't reread the data charts, but unless there are edge stability problems, using the same sharpening media, the harder iron should have higher initial sharpness. Once carbide volume increases, then stability can be a problem, but I don't think it's an issue with anything we use in woodworking (the S-series vanadium steels for knives don't generally get edge stability until the apex is 50 degrees or more, but the knife people don't care about that as a coarse edge actually slices in a slicing test *longer* than a finely honed smooth edge).

    It's very difficult to know for sure that an iron is fully sharpened with no burr or any damage at all unless you look at it through a microscope. Remaining wear or small damage isn't always visible to the naked eye. This is a *pain*, but again, something you have to do.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    SC, USA
    Posts
    465

    Default

    I spent some time trawling the data from both this plane iron test, and also the chisel test.

    I decided, declaring specific "winners" was sort of misleading, as most of the tools shook out into one of three categories: Poor, adequate, and excellent. By and large, this performance mostly followed brand reputation.

    It's no surprise when you use tools, but, tool preparation and the material worked often made a larger difference so long as the tool was at least "adequate."

    I think the main reason for this is that the "Poor" stuff often comes from rebranded factory rejects or factory production over-runs.... So say Stanley orders 100,000 chisels, and the factory makes 125,000 once you count up all the QC rejects, test samples, start up, and shutdown parts, shift changes, etc. They don't scrap the extras, they variously downgrade them and resell them through "generic" and second tier brands... Say the Stanleys sell for $15 each, the 2nd tier generic sells for $7, the 3rd tier generic sells for $4, and the dregs sell for $0.75

    As an example, four individually packaged Irwin Marples Blue Chip chisels runs say $60.00. A set of four AmazonBasics runs $35. The next tier down runs say $25, and finally, the last bottom tier runs $7.00 for the "same set".... The blades on them look identical... Are they "the same?" Yes, and no. Sure, they came out of "the same" production run, and started with "the same" steel... But the stuff that carries another name is the stuff Irwin wouldn't take for whatever reason. AmazonBasics paid to sift the stack next, and so forth... Down to the bottom tier, who takes everything nobody else wants. And so, while you might get lucky and find a good chisel in a pack of Harbor Freight Windsor Design units, you will certainly get several duds.

    It wouldn't surprise me to find that's the story with that "Callistro" brand of plane irons. It's probably an outlet for Stanley seconds...

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    US
    Posts
    1,622

    Default

    I'd guess the callistro irons are just something bought from a chinese vendor. If you go through alibaba, you'll find things like the aldi chisels set for $1.80 per set of four, if you're willing to buy 500+ sets of them.

    That quickly answers things like "how can aldi sell those for $8?????". Simple, they use their procurement model and determine what they'd like to make, mark them up, distribute them and sell them. Everyone wins.


    The deal with the really cheap irons is this - when we start to look at cost for steel, we see things like O1 (it costs me about $13 or something for american made O1 to make an iron. It costs about $5 for 1084, and around $25-$30 for the steel that's likely V11 - I doubt LV is making much on those irons when cost of stock is considered - even though they can get a better deal than me).

    But, cost of steel is only one part of it. I'd be surprised if the steel used in the caliastro irons is more than a dollar (which doesn't make it bad, either, it's just where you get material and how), and it's likely chosen because irons can be punched out instead of cut, and the steel would be something that has a low transition requirement to quench (as in, you can be a little sloppy with the quench process, which is probably high speed and a splash rather than anything careful) and you can get good results without the knifemaker idea of long temp cycles in an oven and careful checking.

    The result is thrown on a rotary grinder to be cleaned up quickly instead of slowly on a linear surface grinder and suddenly for probably about a dollar or two, you have a serviceable iron.

    When irons are punched out, you can see that they are in the slot as the slot doesn't usually get follow-up machining.

    There's a whole world of kind of plain CV steels that we're not used to that are probably good steels, but they may need to be stamped in a die and then punched out. I'd bet the western makers are dealing more with metals that come in bar stock and get cut rather than stamped.

    I learned to like softer irons when I started sharpening them with a buffer - hated them before because every stone seems to cut them deeply and then only teh finest don't, and the irons don't have the strength (lack of hardness) to hold their apex for long. Buffing end-arounds all of that - the apex is buffed off a little bit, and there's enough strength with what's left that the edge doesn't go away, and the issue with something nice to use like a washita raising a big wire edge (whereas the same stone will leave a nice finish and almost no burr on something like 63 hardness steel) - that issue is gone. The buffer doesn't cut deep and there's no burr to contend with. You can give them a couple of wipes on an india stone to remove the prior buffed bit, a couple of light strokes on a washita and then go to the buffer. They may actually be faster to use than a hard iron, and you're always ahead of the damage because they get refreshed so often.

    I built my last two projects in harsh wood (pine with dry knots) using only the $2.99 irons that used to be sold at home depot. I will admit that I actually preferred them because the stood up to the knots fine once the apex was buffed off, and they lasted long enough for me to get tired, and then sharpening is almost an afterthought.

    You can see the apex of the same iron used on the same wood with a flat bevel vs. buffing off the apex - the damage cause was silica in cocobolo. The shavings are shown below (I don't recall the number of strokes here, but this was something like the 40th? The iron was still cutting cocobolo with silica with no sign of iron damage on the surface of the wood at at least 75 and then I gave up. The bits and bobs that we think need to be something precise, high tech, etc to plane or chisel don't need to be. The irons need to be played with to find something they like, and the chisels need to be a decent hardness without pushing the limits for their alloy, but in chisels, DIN rod that costs no more than a dollar per chisel can easily be hardened to 62 and used - there's just no incentive to do it and sell a cheap chisel.

    https://i.imgur.com/23S93Sc.jpg

    The problem with the chinese stuff is the same chinese spec of rod may be used for one chisel (like 0.8% carbon), and the next batch on aliexpress that looks the same and costs the same is used with 0.5% carbon CV alloy. The former works great. The latter is beyond its limits at higher hardness.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    US
    Posts
    1,622

    Default

    I realize i left some incomplete information above...

    the laminated blue steel irons lasted almost an identical distance as relatively hard O1 (i believe O1 went 780 feet in my first completed test and japanese laminated blue #1 went 800 feet. the surface left by the O1 iron was more uniform - see pictures below and you can see why. Plainly put, I think O1 maxed out its potential and the blue steel doesn't live up to its potential for one reason or another, and now there have been several confirmations including that knife steel metallurgist here in pittsburgh).

    Blue super's potential craps out around the same as A2, despite the alloying and target hardness suggesting it should go a little further.

    japanese blue 1 (look at the pits coming out of the edge)
    https://i.imgur.com/iudOYJF.jpg

    O1
    https://i.imgur.com/J2OMH4M.jpg

    Not sure what the notch in the O1 iron is, it may have run into a contaminant in the wood, but O1 and water hardening steels seem to allow their damage to wear out without changing shape much. Grain size would likely be the reason for that.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    SC, USA
    Posts
    465

    Default

    That pic looks suspiciously like carbide particles "wiping" out of the edge... If that's the case, then the ultimate life of the edge isn't determined by the carbide particles, but rather the strength of the surrounding steel matrix...

    I have a feeling that's why the PMV stuff does so well, it's a PM steel that was designed around a very fine grain structure and cutlery use from the start. It's not like the knife guys don't already know about the "problems" caused by trying to make knives out of steels with a tendency towards big, fat chrome and vanadium carbides... Look at knives made 70 years ago vs now... Those old 1060-1080 steels made thin blades that cut well and didn't require 1/4" thick stock to hold together or a 60-degree edge angle....

    Anyhoo... I do have a bit of experience in the manufacturing world. I guarantee that the cheap Alibaba fare, grocery store house brand, and online mystery brand stuff is manufacturing plant over-runs and rejects. Remember, plants make their money on their first quality, branded product... but they cut their losses by selling the seconds and rejects. That's just the business... and it's why the guys selling this stuff often have multiple brands to get rid of the 2nd and 3rd tier stuff that can't be sold in their first line stuff.

    I honestly believe that the Aldi chisels went downhill when Sir Paul boosted them online and they suddenly became an "in-demand" thing... They went from an occasional opportunity buy on seconds and over-runs to a high demand item.... And when it did, quality plummeted, because of the simple reality that the maker can't actually make a first quality product to sell at that price.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    US
    Posts
    1,622

    Default

    I doubt they have 100k units per month of seconds, and I'd expect their version of first quality making an order of 5k of them, but I'd be wary of "uncle Walter" messaging from alibaba offering 500 of them for a deal.

    The chisels like the aldi type are probably handled for less than a minute in china, with the rest of the time in machines that do all of the cutting and crossing work at the tang. with the thin blades they have, I'd be surprised if the total cost was more than $1 for four in china (assuming some chinese equivalent of 80crv).

    As far as the PMs go, yes on the uniformity of carbides -smaller and more even. What's being seen in the japanese irons is not uncommon in cheap M2 alloy or similar non-PM tools, but both of them still do wear longer than they would if they had no tungsten carbides (as in, there's some wear resistance and then the carbides come out along the way so not all of the potential is realized). Imgur has decided my image library is missing right now, so I'll attach a picture later. In most cases, the coarser carbides don't seem to cost too much in terms of abrasive wear, just edge stability. My not quite M2 irons went around 1.7 times as far as O1 did, bigger pits than the japanese.

    There must be a critical point for sparseness, though - all of the abrasive tests for M4 and M2, etc, show the same abrasion resistance for the cpm and nonCPM, but the toughness is greatly improved for CPM. I'm sure there are industrial applications where the toughness isn't needed, and thus, the much cheaper cast or rolled material is used.

    Interestingly, the finest carbides in any stainless with good hardenability are AEB-L, which is so cheap that it's cheaper than a lot of carbon steels (but unlike PM materials where you can just heat the bar stock to high heat and still get good carbide size and distribution, with AEB-L, you have to do something to normalize the bar stock and dissolve the chromium into the matrix.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Toowoomba
    Posts
    141

    Default

    I have used the unicorn technique on my chisels and have found it to be something of a revelation. It works really well.
    I wasn't quite sure what the recommendations were regarding the use of this technique with plane irons. I did wonder though how much different using the unicorn technique on the back of the bevel would be to using David Charlesworth's Ruler Trick? Perhaps the Ruler Trick contacts the terminal 0.75 degrees of the blade only and I have no idea how much of a degree the unicorn stropping affects the edge - the micrographs in the initial posting on that subject certainly appeared to affect not much at all. I guess all of this has got to do with clearance angles but would their be a discernible difference?

    Brian

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    US
    Posts
    1,622

    Default

    Hi, Brian - it adds much more steepness and planing resistance if you buff the back of a blade vs. using a ruler trick style back bevel.

    There are two ways that the buffer can be used reliably, both involve a narrower bevel (like the chisel) before buffing:
    1) buff the bevel side after setting a secondary bevel around 23 degrees pre buffer
    2) buff both sides of the bevel more parallel to the buffing wheel rather than into it

    #2 gives you more wiggle room due to clearance on a bevel down plane, but #1 also works well and once you get the feel down (so that you don't just buff all of the clearance away), it will leave probably the brightest glossiest surface you've ever seen (and it makes for a strong edge that doesn't nick easily.

Similar Threads

  1. Chisel sharpness testing
    By qwertyu in forum HAND TOOLS - UNPOWERED
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 8th Jan 2021, 07:22 AM
  2. Testing for sharpness
    By Luke Maddux in forum HAND TOOLS - UNPOWERED
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 11th Oct 2015, 09:01 PM
  3. Plane iron ID
    By TobyC in forum HAND TOOLS - UNPOWERED
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 30th Jun 2012, 02:32 AM
  4. Testing Sharpness of, and Setting, Planer Blades
    By DanSplinters in forum SHARPENING
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 4th Jan 2009, 08:44 PM
  5. Sharpening and Testing Plane Irons
    By NewLou in forum Links to: WEB SITES
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 21st Oct 2005, 06:58 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •