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NCLuthierWyatt

Block Plane for making

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Aside from the OEM blade in my Lie Neilsen, I am mostly using Hock blades.

Have you tried any of the "powdered metal" blades? I have only tried one, a bridge knife, but it seemed to be a superior combination of easy sharpening and edge retention.

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Konrad Sauer (A plane maker friend of mine) uses O1 Hock blades. I have a couple of his planes and I can get the blades sharper than anything else I've tried. The A2 blades in my Lie Nielsen's (scrub and 102) seem to be more durable and stay sharper longer than the Lee valley A2 equivalent. I now only use A2 for high angle toothing blades. I use the Veritas PMV-11 in my LV planes now. PMV-11 seems to be the Goldilocks blade - I can get it quite sharp (not as sharp as the hock for some reason) and they stay sharper for longer than anything else i've tried.

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51 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Aside from the OEM blade in my Lie Neilsen, I am mostly using Hock blades.

Have you tried any of the "powdered metal" blades? I have only tried one, a bridge knife, but it seemed to be a superior combination of easy sharpening and edge retention.

I haven't tried the "powdered metal" blades, but they seem interesting. Your observation is consistent with all the hype I read. They weren't readily available when we did all our testing. I did use a variety of materials during our knife and tool testing, and found that I like different steels/hardnesses for different applications. Everything seemed to fall somewhere on that scale between A2 and O1 with the same tradeoffs between edge quality and durability.

 

43 minutes ago, Urban Luthier said:

Konrad Sauer (A plane maker friend of mine) uses O1 Hock blades. I have a couple of his planes and I can get the blades sharper than anything else I've tried. The A2 blades in my Lie Nielsen's (scrub and 102) seem to be more durable and stay sharper longer than the Lee valley A2 equivalent. I now only use A2 for high angle toothing blades. I use the Veritas PMV-11 in my LV planes now. PMV-11 seems to be the Goldilocks blade - I can get it quite sharp (not as sharp as the hock for some reason) and they stay sharper for longer than anything else i've tried.

I had the same thought about Lie Nielsen being slightly more durable than the Veritas blade, but it was pretty close. I never tried the PMV-11, but I've eventually settled to like having A2 roughing tools and high rockwell O1 finishing blades so I stopped trying to find the 'perfect' all in one blade.

The only steel that I've used that takes an edge like the Hock blades is my Japanese Chisel, which I think is white paper steel at 65 rockwell. We re-tempered some Crown chisels(they start out below 60 Rockwell) and the steel quality is good enough that they do very well when tempered harder. I've talked with some tool makers and I gathered that they often temper them softer because they're easier to sharpen and most people aren't looking for the crazy sharp edge that luthiers are after, especially if the typical woodworker beats up their chisels a bit more than we do. The softer temper makes it quicker to rejuvenate. 

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There certain basics when it comes to edge tools, those made for cutting.

There is no miracle steel out there as far as blades go. But there are some like A2 that have been marketed as superior which in fact perform very poorly. That is why they have been superseded with powdered metal blades which I've found to be quite good.

If a blade at perhaps Rockwell 62 to 65 hard temper chips during use it is because of excessive leverage forces in tough wood or the steel itself is not up to the job, and my guess is that would apply to most chisels and blades on the market today. The high quality, high hardness (65) hand forged carbon steel portion of traditional Japanese chisels and plane blades can chip if handled badly but should hold a good edge for a long time. Whether that is true of modern Japanese tools I don't know, all of mine are pretty old.

Hard steel blades should be no harder to sharpen than soft ones. As a matter of fact the properties of many softer alloy steel blades make them difficult to sharpen. Even the hardest steel is no match for any decent sharpening stone or diamond plate. Honing a very hard temper blade may be slower, but if the honing bevel is kept narrow, sharpening should be no problem at all. As a matter of fact slowness to achieve a wire edge or burr in the final stages of honing is an absolute guarantee that the steel must be of high quality as far as the molecular structure is concerned.

Honing guides, especially with gouges, are absolutely necessary. And honing guides with wheels which run on the stone are absolutely impractical especially when it comes to the preservation of a flat surface on the stone, among other obvious problems. Honing down to about 3-5000 grit followed up with a few passes on a leather strop or buffing wheel that is charged with honing compound is all that is necessary to produce very sharp edges. Edges that can shave hair are not necessarily sharp enough for fine work. A blade is sharp enough when it should not be near skin.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I've never seen a gouge honing guide. What are they like?

 

9 minutes ago, Dave Slight said:

I’ve never heard of them before either.

Tormek makes them. A guide came with my tormek 2000 from a Craigslist purchase. I think I opened the box once to look at it (maybe).

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38 minutes ago, Jim Bress said:

 

Tormek makes them. A guide came with my tormek 2000 from a Craigslist purchase. I think I opened the box once to look at it (maybe).

Ahh, ok! I have seen those actually, but never used them. For some reason I was thinking he meant some kind of hand jig

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3 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I've never seen a gouge honing guide. What are they like?

Here you go. Works perfectly well. Different sizes needed depending on size of gouge or chisel. And any plane blade, as shown. I wouldn't suggest this If I hadn't tried the usual methods most people use and come to the conclusion there had to be a better way.

One thing I would add is, not Addis as I nearly typed, is that gouges are very slow to hone because the stone is acting on a small area of the edge at a time.

And the guides I've shown handle any gouge with not too high a sweep. But for the higher ones, perhaps 6 and above, I rotate the gouge in the holder and do the bottom and sides separately.

 

DSC_0008.jpg

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DSC_0003.jpg

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1 hour ago, Dennis J said:

Here you go. Works perfectly well. Different sizes needed depending on size of gouge or chisel. And any plane blade, as shown. I wouldn't suggest this If I hadn't tried the usual methods most people use and come to the conclusion there had to be a better way.

One thing I would add is, not Addis as I nearly typed, is that gouges are very slow to hone because the stone is acting on a small area of the edge at a time.

And the guides I've shown handle any gouge with not too high a sweep. But for the higher ones, perhaps 6 and above, I rotate the gouge in the holder and do the bottom and sides separately.

 

DSC_0008.jpg

DSC_0005.jpg

DSC_0003.jpg

Thank you! I appreciate the photos. I'm always interested in seeing how people sharpen.

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6 hours ago, TimDasler said:

Tim,

I did testing of powdered metallurgy steel and published the results in The Scroll magazine, a VSA publication. I would attach the article here, but I don’t have permission. Perhaps permission can be obtained. Essentially the result is that PM steel, both my PM-X and Veritas’ PM-V11 hold an edge 3 times longer than O1 steel at HRC 65. And they are much easier to re-sharpen.

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As for gouge honing guide, a very simple one can be made. I am in New Zealand for a year and don’t have access to my shop, so a text description will have to do.  
 

Make a dimple in the very end of the handle. Next, obtain a thick piece of plywood maybe 25 cm (10 inches) x 40 cm (16 inches). Make a vertical post of a pine 2 x 4. Make it 20 cm long. Install this post on the end of the plywood.  A screw into the bottom?

Only one pin is shown in the diagram, but I have several at different heights.

i start with 220 cbn plate, then 1000 cbn plate, then 2000 Shapton, then 4000 Shapton. 
 

Works for me. Sorry about the crude drawing.

Addendum:

I use a main bevel, with the 220 and 1000 grit stones, then increase the angle slightly for the 2000 and 4000 grit. The practical way to manage this is by placing a 5 mm plywood piece under the 220 and 1200 grit stone. Remove it for the 2000 and 4000.

image.jpg

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My pleasure Jackson. The good thing about this sort of approach is that it is so cheap, very close to $0. Apart from the stones, of course. The gouges shown here are some of 68 I  was lucky to get in one purchase, all probably circa 1900, and in good to very good condition. I've bought more since so I have got quite a collection. I have had to work on some to get the inside surface right, that is to get a slight hollow behind the cutting edge so that a slipstone only makes contact on the edge and further toward the handle. I believe that is how the metal workers of the time made them. But using slipstones carelessly can round over that inside edge which makes accurate honing very problematic. You become aware of how good the steel is in these gouges is when you try to restore that hollowing. It's not easy removing even a minute amount of metal to refurbish them.

 

 

 

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I use an arc side-to-side honing action while rocking the clamp left to right over the screw head in its base. I have found that holding the clamp in the left and then the right hand can help prevent irregularities developing. Much the same approach as John.

 

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12 hours ago, Jim Bress said:

 

Tormek makes them. A guide came with my tormek 2000 from a Craigslist purchase. I think I opened the box once to look at it (maybe).

Funnily enough this is the only honing guide I ever use - I find it really good for initial/periodic grinding of gouges and thumb plane blades on the Tormek. I do all my other sharpening freehand.

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15 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Aside from the OEM blade in my Lie Neilsen, I am mostly using Hock blades.

Have you tried any of the "powdered metal" blades? I have only tried one, a bridge knife, but it seemed to be a superior combination of easy sharpening and edge retention.

I use a Veritas PMV11 blade in my favourite plane - a well-tuned pre-WW1 No.6.

It really is amazing steel that justifies the hype.

 

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I guess I feel good about getting the PMV11 blade when I ordered my Veritas plane.  I have it now... but haven't honed the blade down for use yet.

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all of the home-made honing jigs above look really cool.

The best investment I've made (and the most painful one) is to learn how to sharpen everything freehand. With a bit of effort i'm now able to get results as good as i used when using jigs, the benefit is that I can work much more quickly. Like John and Jim i use the Tormek jigs for grinding. 

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6 hours ago, Don Noon said:

I guess I feel good about getting the PMV11 blade when I ordered my Veritas plane.  I have it now... but haven't honed the blade down for use yet.

The one disadvantage of the PMV11, is that one really needs to monitor the edge while you work. The PMV-11 stays sharper loner than anything I've tried. I frequently use the tools with these blades longer than I should - even to the point when the edge starts to fail. At this point it is back to the grind stone.

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wondering how many of you use what some woodworkers call the 'ruler trick' when sharpening plane blades?

i.e. honing the face of the blade by placing a thin ruler at the opposite end of the stone so only the very edge of the blade is honed. 

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14 minutes ago, Urban Luthier said:

wondering how many of you use what some woodworkers call the 'ruler trick' when sharpening plane blades?

i.e. honing the face of the blade by placing a thin ruler at the opposite end of the stone so only the very edge of the blade is honed. 

I do. As you say, for plane irons only (block and bench). With a thin 150 mm steel rule.

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2 hours ago, Urban Luthier said:

wondering how many of you use what some woodworkers call the 'ruler trick' when sharpening plane blades?

i.e. honing the face of the blade by placing a thin ruler at the opposite end of the stone so only the very edge of the blade is honed. 

I do, but I use a piece of wooden violin lining material as a shim instead, since I have "issues" (:lol:) when it comes to abrading any of my rulers.

An interesting side note is that I've been using the same piece of lining stock for about 6 years, and it doesn't seem to have gotten any thinner.

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1 hour ago, Urban Luthier said:

wondering how many of you use what some woodworkers call the 'ruler trick' when sharpening plane blades?..

I just started using this trick on the blade of my Lie-Nielsen.  I just started because I just discovered that the "flat" side of the blade is not flat.  I hope to have a machinist friend grind the blade flat.

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I have used it to good effect on bevel down planes, obviously it doesn't do you any good at all on bevel up planes. No more than three swipes on my 10k stone only, so that it is minute enough to be polished away the next time you hone the bevel

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