Sign in to follow this  
violins88

Record plane blade layered tungsten steel blade

Recommended Posts

Trying to sharpen a plane blade, borrowed from a friend. The first rough grind shows layered steel. Two layers. Should I be surprised?

Comments? Is this good steel?

5D5EF902-61F1-426B-BCE8-D32AC0473A28.jpeg

44F56641-8F02-49FD-B501-85271200647F.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, fiddlecollector said:

What makes you think there is any tungsten in it? Its cast crucible steel like most old English plane blades.

How about the fact that is says tungsten right on it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got a couple of Record planes and blades probably pre 1960. As far as the steel is concerned I avoided using them because I was under the impression that they were soft. But I'm a bit more methodical in my honing now so maybe they are OK. I don't think that I have ever seen laminated plane blades for Stanley style planes. Interestingly enough though Stanley once had a plant in Hobart, Tasmania which used Australian tool steel in the manufacture of plane blades. At one time they produced composite blades with the cutting end made of good steel and the other made of ordinary stuff which were then brazed together. I had a Stanley plane with one fitted at one time and It was definitely a good blade but I sold it. In general I think that the Australian blades made back then outperformed any of the English or American ones. I would add that laminated blades used for wood body planes were made in Sheffield. The cutting end was forged to the upper part of the blade. They used the genuine crucible cast steel for them then. I've got quite a collection of them and I think that they are better than anything since. But of course they are tapered and about 5 mm thick at the bevel end.

I think Record used a steel alloy with a bit of tungsten added as a sales gimmick. Tungsten is more usually used in steel for drill bits, &c.

 

 

DSC_0001.jpg

DSC_0005.jpg

Edited by Dennis J
Clarity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, violins88 said:

Do they make a PM-V11 blade for this plane?

Actually they do. https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/shop/tools/hand-tools/planes/blades/42607-stanley-record-bench-plane-blades-made-by-veritas Though I don't doubt that the blade you have is also worthy of being used.

Stanley planes of a certain vintage often had laminated blades. I'm not surprised that Record made them too. https://smallworkshop.co.uk/2018/03/17/laminated-plane-irons-stanley-and-record/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your blade states it is cast tungsten steel. It is not laminated steel. It is a high carbon steel with tungsten in it which combines with the tungsten to form tungsten carbides, incredibly  hard small inclusions. Imagine  an old Roman road with round stones in it which withstand centuries of wear and still pop up as small round bumps in the road. The very small microscopic round  tungsten carbides serve the same purpose in the metal. They resist wear and prevent the wear going deep into the metal. Modern steel like this is made by powder metal technology and has very uniform distribution of the carbides; the cast counterpart has carbides but not so uniformly distributed. They are very hard and will stand up against grinding or sharpening because the carbides are harder than what you are using as a stone. Diamond grinding plates would be harder than the carbides and would be helpful. The blade itself may not be that hard, say 55 to 62HRC, but those carbides are somewhere around 75HRC. I had some steel, still do, which was almost 100% tungsten carbide. I use it as a burnishing steel. It is denser than lead. Heating the steel will not help. Be patient and use diamond grinding plates especially for the steps which have to remove material. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where I worked they had broaches which were made of high carbide steels which were used to cut steel gear forms. When they sharpened these broaches they used man made  ceramic cutting wheels; very hard grinding wheels of fine grit. I have seen sharpening stones which are man made ceramic stones and which also would be helpful in sharpening your steel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thought. What you see as two layers of steel may in fact be a defect in the steel resulting from the forging of the steel. If you are in fact seeing two layers it is the same steel with an inclusion of some kind from the casting process which has been stretched very thin from the forging process. True layered steel will not be visible after grinding and has to be acid etched to reveal itself. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'Twasn't me John. I've seen some old tapered wooden plane irons with serious damage. Of course the tops of the blades were iron so they showed all of that rather starkly. When I see that sort of thing on the old Stanley and Record planes I can only imagine that they didn't know what the screw through the lever cap was for. It conjures up images of serious tool abuse.

By the way I edited my reply to your post for what it's worth.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, violins88 said:

Do they make a PM-V11 blade for this plane?

Yes, there are loads of different replacement options from various manufacturers.

Still worth finishing sharpening the record blade, I'm sure you will find it to be OK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dave Slight said:

Yes, there are loads of different replacement options from various manufacturers.

Still worth finishing sharpening the record blade, I'm sure you will find it to be OK.

I'm a bit of a plane blade junkie. Tried most of the replacement types over the years. But I've never felt the need to replace the original blade (of the type shown in the OP) in my pre-ww2 Record 5 1/2. The steel is very good indeed (as is the stay-set cap iron).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That certainly looks like a laminated blade John. What I've found with the very old  (about pre 1930)  Sheffield laminated blades made for wood body planes is that the cutting layer,  which is the high quality high-carbon steel, is very bright while the backing iron layer tends to be distinctly grey. It looks like yours is the opposite in the photo. Is it just the lighting?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the picture of the two layers in the end of the blade. For un-etched steel to show that contrast something weird is going on. I looked at the tungsten carbide steel I have and when polished it is bright shiney not gray like the lower layer on your blade. There are two things you can do to check out the layers, the old time blacksmiths did this. First is the mill file test for hardness. The harder steel will dig into the softer. Take a fine mill file and on a corner of the blade run the file lightly against the blade. Do this for each layer. On the harder layer the file will bounce against the blade and on the softer layer the file will "dig" into the steel. This comparison will tell you which layer is the harder and should be the cutting edge of the blade. Do it lightly in an area that can not harm the blade. The old timers actually had a set of files tempered to different hardnesses so a more exact value of the hardness of the test piece could be determined. This method can also be used to compare the hardness of two different steels or blades. This is almost an art and not an exact science but a good way to quickly find the hardness of steel by comparing it against a hardened file. 

The second thing you can do is called the spark test. Again at art form and takes experience. When steel is ground against a grinding wheel it gives off sparks. The color, amount and pattern is different for different kinds of steel. The spark pattern of a known steel can be compared to the test piece often. Steel which has a spark pattern where the single spark goes a short way and then divides into two or three sparks is high carbon or has graphite flakes in it. The carbon being heated and exposed to the air explodes giving the above pattern, like a fire works display. I am wondering if the gray layer in your blade if a type of gray cast iron laminated to a tungsten steel layer. Gray cast iron is very soft and tungsten steel very hard. Your blade may be sharpened backward. Thanks again for the picture. I can not think of any other reason for the darker layer being un-etched other than the presence of graphite flakes (it gives a gray appearance). It could be the harder layer and a mill file test will tell you which is harder. Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greg,

The idea that the blade is sharpened backwards is interesting. I will see if I can determine that. Thanks

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have two Record planes. I think both are from the early 1950's, one is a stay set. You can date them (roughly) by the blade and the planes features. The stay set is definitely a laminated blade, the other not. Both state crucible tungsten steel. The steel in both is perfectly good. Never felt the need for an aftermarket blade (although I've had a few for other planes). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, violins88 said:

Greg,

The idea that the blade is sharpened backwards is interesting. I will see if I can determine that. Thanks

 

I did a little research on the internet. The laminated harder layer on the cutting side of the blade would only go almost up to the round opening in the "key" hole slot, not the full length of the back. It is revealed as a darker layer (high carbon content) when exposed to an etch like the chemical used to remove rust, rust remover. I wonder if you used some lubricant in the grinding process which acted as a mild etch? The steel which is not part of the harder layer should be soft to a mill file test. Thanks for the response, interesting problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t think there is any problem here at all.
The blade is laminated, and is still exactly as it was made. It isn’t backwards, upside down, or whatever strange thing you are trying to convince yourself of.

Clearly you aren’t familiar with Record blades, which for a production plane are generally very good compared to a Stanley. Once sharp, it will cut cleanly and hold it’s edge fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does look like the steel is laminated.  I did not know that they did this.

I purchased two Record planes from Woodcraft in the 1980s--a # 5 and #7.  Both warped and were almost impossible to correct since the cast alloy was some silicon cast iron which was very hard.    It is obvious, now, that the castings were not stress-relieved properly.  The #7 went on ebay, but I still have the # 5 which continues to warp.

The original irons were tungsten vanadium steel, and they were not hard enough.  I replaced then with a Hock blade which is O1 steel, and that fixed the blade problem.

The two Record planes were replaced by old Stanley/Bailey planes from ebay which were easy to correct and make ready.  

regards

Mike D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I seem to recall that there were some Stanley blades that were laminated too. I could be wrong about that. The lamination does end below the key hole slot, as Greg states. If you look very closely you might be able to see a line running across the blade.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.