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violins88

Record plane blade layered tungsten steel blade

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Here are a couple of pics of an old Nurse tapered blade. I'm not sure how far back they go, but it was routine manufacture at the time until alloy steels took over. This one tested 65 Rockwell. The bright steel is almost full thickness back to near the slot. But I have other brands that are laminated about half and half. All blades at this time, as far as I know, were hand forged. I think it is called a scarf joint in blacksmithing jargon. They were essentially made the same way as Japanese blades were/are made.

I've made a lot of finger plane blades with the Nurse ones, and despite their hardness, do not chip and are probably as good as a carbon steel blade can get. I think the reason forged blades were phased out was economic. And the skill needed to make them has been lost.

I've found that using a hacksaw blade is the best way to test for hardness.

 

 

DSC_0007.jpg

DSC_0008.jpg

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On 4/11/2020 at 1:47 PM, Dennis J said:

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.

 

 

 

 

I feel relatively safe here to admit to being a bit of a plane freak. I should use part of my iso time to sort them and part with the many I really don't need.  What I won't part with are my Turner planes - an Oz company that was subsumed by the Stanley behemoth.  Eventually this ended up with pretty much no hand tools being made here at a commercial scale, like most of our manufacturing it went offshore (Gee, that went well didn't it?).  Some of the early ones have Swedish blades by E A Berg.  I particularly look for them, in fact any edged tool by Berg.  This site is interesting for those with an interest in hand tools and the time to read: http://thevillagewoodworker.blogspot.com/2012/11/turner-hand-planes-small-review.html

Keep well,

Tim

 

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I scratched both front and back edges of the plane blade. It seemed that the back “skated” more, indicating the back is harder. 

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I don't know what you mean by "front" and "back," but your blade is ground properly as it is. If you try grinding the bevel to the opposite side your only going to mess it up. This discussion has degenerated into a bunch of uninformed and simply wrong opinions. If you don't know that you know what you're doing, then it's best to do nothing at all. Sorry for the bluntness of my opinion.

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Mark,

I will leave it the way it is. Now I need some 4000 grit paper to finish the sharpening. It seems that only 2000 grit is available here in New Zealand.

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It seems apparent to me that both John's and my Record blade are stamped crucible cast steel, one laminated and the other not.

In the early Nurse tapered irons I've shown my understanding is that the carbon infused or blister steel and special crucible casting method did not employ any of the alloying elements used in later steels like the Record ones.

It looks like it was an unsuccessful experiment by Stanley and Record to recreate the past.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Dennis J said:

It looks like it was an unsuccessful experiment by Stanley and Record to recreate the past.

Based on what? Companies try different methods all the time, either technologically driven, or cost driven.

There is nothing wrong with the OP's blade, it just needs to be sharpened and honed.

 

5 hours ago, MarkBouquet said:

This discussion has degenerated into a bunch of uninformed and simply wrong opinions. If you don't know that you know what you're doing, then it's best to do nothing at all. Sorry for the bluntness of my opinion.

I agree with you here.

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Well I have a few Record blades all stamped with the tungsten crucible cast steel spiel. When I read John's post I had a look at them to see if they were the same, and gave my opinion of them. I put them aside years ago with others that didn't hold a good edge.

The older Nurse laminated blade I showed came from a completely different era when high quality, high carbon steel, laminated blades were made. The important thing about the process was how the molecules held together at the very edge of the blade. Far superior to what followed with all the hype about special alloys.

As I said I didn't know that Stanley and Record made laminated blades. It doesn't make sense to me why they would weld a thin layer of relatively cheap, mass produced steel to another piece of cheap mass produced steel. Marketing ploy perhaps.

 

 

 

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25 minutes ago, fiddlecollector said:

A point to note is record brand was only founded in the 1960`s so not really that old .

Google shows original company goes back to 1898.

 

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10 minutes ago, Dennis J said:

Well I have a few Record blades all stamped with the tungsten crucible cast steel spiel. When I read John's post I had a look at them to see if they were the same, and gave my opinion of them. I put them aside years ago with others that didn't hold a good edge.

The older Nurse laminated blade I showed came from a completely different era when high quality, high carbon steel, laminated blades were made. The important thing about the process was how the molecules held together at the very edge of the blade. Far superior to what followed with all the hype about special alloys.

As I said I didn't know that Stanley and Record made laminated blades. It doesn't make sense to me why they would weld a thin layer of relatively cheap, mass produced steel to another piece of cheap mass produced steel. Marketing ploy perhaps.

 

 

 

 

Not sure it was strictly marketing. More likely a continuation of plane blade making practices such as Sorby and your Nurse. 

The Stanley and Record laminated blades are perfectly good blades. They are thinner than the type found in old wood planes but if everything is set up well, the blade made razor sharp, then these planes are extremely capable. The idea is also similar to that found on Japanese chisels i.e. a hard steel backed by a softer steel. 

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28 minutes ago, Michael.N. said:

Sorry fiddlecollector, that's not true:

 

https://recordhandplanes.com/dating.html

Yeah right ,im getting confused with Marples history , i bought a record in the 1980`s and its stamped `record marples`. Heres a photo next to a no4 stanley. The stanley is my favourite no4 . it was my wife`s fathers uncles and dates around 1910 a Type 9 i think. I dont think the screw holding the cap iron on is original as the washer is needed to prevent the head slipping through. That one as a Marples blade ,the record just says record tungsten steel.

 

 

 

P1130372.JPG

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Record tools have a history of around 120 years, and for a time, made some of the best quality British tools of the 20th century.
Record tools were a trademark of the Sheffield company C&J Hampton. The trademark was registered in 1908, but the Hampton company goes back several decades before this. In the early 1900s, they had begun to specialise in making vices, sash clamps and G cramps. No planes were produced until 1931.

Interestingly, it is at this time, a number of Stanley patents expired, enabling others to manufacture planes of the same designs. During the depression, the well regarded firm of Edward Preston had begun to struggle as the demand for premium products declined, and was bought out by J. Rabone the rule and spirit level manufacturer.
In 1934, the rights to make the Preston planes were sold to C&J Hampton and the Record plane line was expanded massively. Record introduced a number of their own patents, and worked over the years on improving their designs further.

The best period runs from the 1930s to the 1950s. Due to wartime difficulties in obtaining the necessary raw materials, and the loss of skilled craftsmen, a lot of models were dropped in 1943. Despite this, there must have been considerable stocks of planes, vices & cramps, which continued to be sold well after the war had ended. As far as I know, Rosewood ceased to be used for handles soon after the war, and was replaced with beech.

In 1972, Hamptons and the Record line-up were sold to Wm Ridgeway, with further sales to Bahco (who also owned Marples) in the 1980s. The Record-Marples planes began production in the mid 1980s. By the 1990s things were clearly going wrong, and the name is sold repeatedly, with the tools rebranded several times.
Unsurprisingly over this time, the quality and cost starts to decline, picking up pace as the years roll on.

Record planes and blades are fairly easy to date. The iron shown by the OP is from the first, and best period, which should be a really excellent laminated iron. If it is original to the plane, you should have a really good plane too, provided it hasn't been left in a shed to rot for years, or dropped on the floor.

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A very interesting and informative discussion. The idea of having two different grades of steels laminated should produce a superior blade. I would love to get my hands on one. The harder cutting edge can be sharpened very well and keep its edge while the softer back is tougher and will hold up to stress and shock without breaking. The harder layer is more brittle; if you flex it too much it will break before it bends, while the softer back will give a little without breaking. The softer back might also absorb some vibration from the cutting process that would possibly limit chatter of the blade in cutting.This makes for a perfect combination for any cutting edge, both hard edge and tough back. The Japanese have done this in knife blades. Record and Stanley made these, according to the internet, and they did this by placing the hard layer first in the mold and then pouring the softer liquid metal second over it, bonding to the harder layer. Someone mentioned brazing above which can be used to join two pieces of metal with heat that does not melt metal but the bronze layer between. These laminated blades should be sharpened as any hardened tool steel and they if made properly should be superior to other plane blades. I have a bunch of old plane blades which I will take a closer look at. What I am fairly sure of is that to reveal visually the two layers some kind of chemical etch has to be used.  The shown pictures must of had some liquid present in the grinding/sharpening process, or after, that acted as an etch. One thing to remember; if you are considering heat treating such a blade you need to follow a program for the harder layer and not the softer back. I am learning how to sharpen blades properly and knives and to make better violins, lots of challenge and very rewarding. But I do know quite a bit about metals/steel etc. I have a degree in Metallurgy and worked for over over ten years in the industry at a plant that made 80% of all four wheel transfer cases in north america. I am now retired and can't wait till the next violin is finished. 

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That is a nice Stanley No.4 Fiddlecollector. It's an early one judging by the lever cap, rosewood handle and tote (knob). Those early ones had the best lever caps and frogs. Big difference between the Stanley and the Marples. I had a Marples No. 4 like yours and gave it away, fitted with one of my Record plane blades.

 

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I managed to chip edge of my old english "cast steel" chisel so I had to grind a bit of the steel away and found out the blade is also layered, looked exactly like the picture of the plane blade posted here. The hard layer is about 1-1.5mm thick. I wonder if it is also tungsten steel, the chise always seemed heavier in hand than the size suggested...

BTW, this layering may be a good way how to use steel that is great but hard to sharpen...  use hard material on the blade side and the rest is rather soft. The backing steel of the old chisel was quite easy to grind away (actually I use "sandpaper on glass" method) and overall the sharpening went much faster than I expected for such fine sharpe edge holding steel.

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The old blacksmithed blades with hard steel laminated for the edge and thick heavy soft steel bodies are often truly excellent to use.

They were made to be used, in a hand powered era.  Hard where it helps and tough and grindable where it helps.

Modern blades might be best for use in machines.  Be they tend to be either too soft to take an edge, or too hard to sharpen.  And they tend be thin less solidly substantial.

There are good new blades for hand work, but the best of these are made in Japan and blacksmithed very much as the old western stuff was.  

I don't know about the Record blade being discussed.  But certainly modern companies do sometimes try to immitate good old ideas in contrived and often enough ineffective ways, for marketing purposes.

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David,

I am convinced that PM-V11 steel and my PM-X blades are superior to anything else in terms of edge holding and ease of sharpening.

I will pm my article to you. I did testing.

 

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