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By G S Haydon
#972184
Hi Grayorm

Does better steel get sharper? For a politician style response I'd say you need something to be the right steel for the job. For second fix carpentry, joinery and most furniture making a set of chisels from a supermarket has the right steel for the job, as do the 5001's you have. The edges last long enough, more than long enough and they sharpen readily. The added benefit of choosing chisels like I've mentioned is you have much more £ left in your pocket for timber, hardware or even a few more essential tools! The sharpening media to suit those steels is also easier on the pocket. If all you do is work highly abrasive timer you might need to look at alternatives.

I don't have O1, A2, M2, M4, D2, CPM-3V, and PM-V11 in constant use in my set of tools. Heaven knows I like to experiment and see how other things work but I think most people interested in making something would be better served by practicing paring, chopping, sharpening and sawing to a line using a set of chisels from a supermarket and an appropriate saw rather than worrying about how long and edge might last.

Just my 2d's worth
Last edited by G S Haydon on 06 Jun 2015, 10:29, edited 2 times in total.
By Bluekingfisher
#972188
I would suspect your Fatmax chisels do not retain a sharp as long as some other chisels because that is the way they have been set up by Stanley? They are of course carpenters chisels and most likely subject to all manner of rough and aggressive treatmen. They probably will not need to be razor sharp, as one would expect from a furniture grade chisel.

I would have thought carpenters don't spend time honing a blade on a stone, more likely to grind an edge on a belt sander or such. So perhaps the manufacturer knows this and formulates the steel accordingly.

A classic case of the right tool for the job?

David
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By Jacob
#972189
Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz) wrote:I.... I was using the wrong media. When I switched to diamond paste it came alive! ....... It is simply to point out that one cannot pronounce on a steel until you can get it sharp. .......
I hereby pronounce that any steel which you can't easily get sharp, is useless!
If you have to buy special kit it might make more sense to dump the tool instead and get your money back on ebay.

Sharpening is an essential and continuous part of the process just like sharpening a pencil if you were drawing. It needs to be easy. The tool needs to be usable.
By CStanford
#972217
"The second point I want to make is that all the steels have pros and cons, and you need to decide where your priority lies - some excel at ease of sharpening with simple media (such as an oilstone or a natural waterstone), but then struggle to hold an edge with anything more abrasive than pine."

This is absurd on its face -- 'struggle to hold an edge in anything more abrasive than pine.' Pure hyperbole and exaggeration, probably on even the worst chisels somebody could lay hands on, much less decent brands.
By CStanford
#972219
Bluekingfisher wrote:I would suspect your Fatmax chisels do not retain a sharp as long as some other chisels because that is the way they have been set up by Stanley? They are of course carpenters chisels and most likely subject to all manner of rough and aggressive treatmen. They probably will not need to be razor sharp, as one would expect from a furniture grade chisel.

I would have thought carpenters don't spend time honing a blade on a stone, more likely to grind an edge on a belt sander or such. So perhaps the manufacturer knows this and formulates the steel accordingly.

A classic case of the right tool for the job?

David


It's better if a carpenter's chisel fail by rolling rather than by fracturing. They are made this way intentionally. They need to be honed at a higher angle because they are most often used to chop framing lumber and not pare fine joints. In the U.S this might mean chopping Southern Yellow Pine whose rings can seem as hard as petrified wood.
Last edited by CStanford on 06 Jun 2015, 12:38, edited 1 time in total.
By Corneel
#972221
Here is some data from the steel makers.

First to compare O1 to A2. O1 is Arne. A2 is Rigor:

Image

Then a very interesting article from Crucible. Here you can compare A2, D2 and stuff like CPM 3V

http://www.crucibleservice.com/eselector/general/generalpart1.html

As you can see. A2 has a little more abrassion resistance then O1, but is less tough. D2 is slightly more abrassion resistant then A2 but is very much less tough. And a steel like CPM-3V is better overall, but it is harder to grind (takes longer) and you need diamonds for honing.
By Cheshirechappie
#972227
G S Haydon wrote:I'm not and engineer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gittWRq2Sjk is that called a die press? I think that video a good example of mass made quality tools.


Hi Graham!

Yes, I think that is a hydraulic forging press fitted with suitable dies. The dies have to be made individually for whatever you're forging, so Narex will have a top and bottom die for each size of chisel they make. Sometimes, the dies have two or even three 'stages' (say, a roughing stage, a press to final shape stage, and a final stage trimming off the 'flash' - the waste squeezed outround the edge of the chisel blank). Conequently, Narex will have a lot of capital tied up in expensive one-off tooling and a large press. The rest of the video shows some pretty specialist grinding and heat-treatment kit, too; they've clearly invested a lot, and intend to manufacture and sell in bulk. I do agree that it's a good example of mass production engineering; they may well have had to do quite a bit of trial-and-error fiddling ('development' in engineer-speak) to get things just right, though.

There are several other ways to make a chisel. Obviously, there's hand-hammer and anvil, which would be appropriate for one-offs or very short runs. Then there's multiple-strike forging under a small power hammer (usually a spring hammer, though Henry Taylor use a Blacker hammer for some of their carving tools) fitted with dies made for the job. Ashley Iles still use the spring hammer method for drawing out their chisel blades, though I think they use a hydraulic press for the tang and bolster end. Then there's drop forging, which uses similar dies to those in the hydraulic press, but with the top die attached to a large weight (up to 10 tons for some applications, probably a ton or so for chisels) which is hoisted to a suitable height and then allowed to drop under gravity, thus doing with one bang what a spring hammer would need maybe a couple of hundred to achieve.

All those methods are quite capable of producing a decent chisel blank. Some people claim that some steels respond better to one method rather than the others - to be honest, I do wonder if there's a bit of personal preference involved. The method selected by an edge tool maker is probably more about capital investment in dies and plant against expected production volume as it is about the finer points of individual tool steels. Most edge-tool steels respond quite well to forging, but you do have to be a bit careful about forging temperatures with some of them.
By Cheshirechappie
#972229
G S Haydon wrote:

I don't have O1, A2, M2, M4, D2, CPM-3V, and PM-V11 in constant use in my set of tools. Heaven knows I like to experiment and see how other things work but I think most people interested in making something would be better served by practicing paring, chopping, sharpening and sawing to a line using a set of chisels from a supermarket and an appropriate saw rather than worrying about how long and edge might last.

Just my 2d's worth


I'm rather inclined to agree. A lot of the 'this steel is better than that steel' debates sound a bit like motor-sport enthusiasts arguing the finer points of Ferraris and Maseratis. Such differences could matter in motor-sport racing, but for most of us needing a car for the daily commute, the weekly shop and an occasional trip to visit Aunt Mabel then the bog-standard Ford, whilst not as glamorous, will do the job perfectly adequately and not cost as much to buy or service. That said, the motor-racing wallahs are perfectly entitled to their sport, too, of course.
By Cheshirechappie
#972234
rafezetter wrote:Well up to the last few posts (steady boys - and you too Derek) this has been a fascinating read. I'm not surprised the Japanese seem to have the edge (sorry) on making super sharp, but also long lasting, tools. After all they started making swords hundreds of years before anyone else and to a standard that even relatively modern antique versions (the last 150-200 years or so) sometimes command 6 figures sums. For them the art is in the making, not the making of profit from that making, and it's worth noting there isn't a traditionally trained sushi chef in the world that would deign to use a western knife.

The info on microcracking and how to reduce it's manifestation is something I'll definitely try to remember as I've have to grind out a few nicks recently and have a load of old chisels that I bought I've not yet got around to sorting out. For the regrinds, I have (and would have continued) to just put them in my sharpening jig and sat it on a belt sander until the nicked edge was just gone.

It's also made me resolute to go over a few of my very new chisels, which have only been taken to my level of sharp edge (still paper slicing razor - or so I thought...) once or twice and hardly used, again. Prolly the reground plane blades too.

I'll be honest and say I've not noticed a difference, but then my sense for this sort of thing is still extremely new.

Someone might be able to answer a simple question though which may advance that sense... recently I was working some reclaimed cedar and in the box joint bases should a ChrVa tool steel chisel be sharp enough to slice out the endgrain instead of mostly tearing? (my sharpening regime finishes with 5000 grit wet,dry and a micro back bevel; good enough to slice paper).

If it should have sliced - what do ppl recommend to get that final zing for this sort of very soft wood as I have a fair bit of it to work.


When grinding out a nick, you've no option but to grind past the edge. I'm not sure I'd go as far as to say that micro-cracking WILL occur, just that if you end up with an edge that seems a bit brittle, it might have happened. However, just carry on using and re-honing, and if it has happened, the chances are that intervals between rehonings will increase as the damage is honed away.

On the softwood problem - yes, I know exactly what you mean! In some respects, soft, open-grained woods can be a harder challenge than harder, denser ones; they tend to crush rather than cut. They really demand sharper edges than some harder woods. If possible, using a slicing rather than stabbing cut can help, thogh that's not always possible - cleaning up dovetails, for example. Another thing some have tried is a lower bevel angle, but regrinding bevels for different woods can shorten chisels faster than most of us would like! Some people keep a few paring chisels with a lower bevel angle than their chopping chisels, and use those for situations like this - not with a mallet though! Probably the best solution is keeping the edge dead sharp, and touching up on the polishing stone more often than you usually would, and being a bit pragmatic about surfaces that will be hidden after assembly - work from both sides so that surfaces are cut clean to the marked line, and don't obcess too much about the middle, hidden, bit.
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By G S Haydon
#972237
Thanks for the helpful post CC!

My knowledge of tool making is pretty limited. I like the cut of Narex's jib, great value tools made to a high quality standard and enough for David Savage to recommend to his students "These Narex blades are, to my mind, exceptionally good value and I will be recommending them to students here." I've found tool his tool list to be broadly very good http://www.finefurnituremaker.com/woodworking_tools.htm and well worth a visit for a list of tools when you want to be at the highest level.

I love the motoring analogy and I know the thrust of your point but I reckon the performance is closer than Ford > Ferrari. And, like you said I'm all for people buying all kinds of things, Holtey, LN, Stanley, whatever they like and at whatever the cost however within reason none of them are the Golden Ticket to perfect results at the bench. Time and practice are much more important.
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By Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz)
#972240
I don't have O1, A2, M2, M4, D2, CPM-3V, and PM-V11 in constant use in my set of tools. Heaven knows I like to experiment and see how other things work but I think most people interested in making something would be better served by practicing paring, chopping, sharpening and sawing to a line using a set of chisels from a supermarket and an appropriate saw rather than worrying about how long and edge might last.

Just my 2d's worth


Hi Graham

Keep in mind that I was not stating which steel is "best". My post was to show that there are pros and cons to all the steels, that evaluation of them is not a simple matter as in Charles' pronouncement which was good and which was poor since his sharpening media is not up to getting the steels sharp in the first place. Furthermore, the title of this thread is "Does better steel get sharper?"

Incidentally, do you really think that I sit around and experiment rather than building stuff?

Regards from Perth

Derek
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By G S Haydon
#972247
Hey Derek,

I fear with this kind of thread the tone of voice and body language is lost. I'm sorry if my responses have been taken as personal. I enjoy seeing your projects and reading your posts and I'm thankful you take the time to discuss this stuff with me, I enjoy it! I'll extend that offer of a cold one you made me a while back should you ever find yourself in my neck of the woods.

On Grayorm's point about better steel getting sharper we would first have to agree about "better". The Fatmax is a better steel for site tools, the 5001 or whatever better for fine work etc etc. The sharpest always seems to be simple carbon steels.

The thrust of my point was that someone wanting to improve "people" would be better served not worrying too much and steel that's easier to hone would be easier to deal with for them. Then focus on the practice and making

The "people" did not mean "Derek". I know I've bought and then sold more planes over the past few years than is healthy to learn about them as I find the topic interesting and I wanted to find out for myself what suited me best. I'm sure you find the same with the tools steels, methods of work too.
By CStanford
#972250
If one's upgrade path is essentially infinite then the debate is meaningless. Rest assured there will be a "new" steel in a year or so and babies everywhere will go out with the bathwater.
By rafezetter
#972261
Cheshirechappie wrote:When grinding out a nick, you've no option but to grind past the edge. I'm not sure I'd go as far as to say that micro-cracking WILL occur, just that if you end up with an edge that seems a bit brittle, it might have happened. However, just carry on using and re-honing, and if it has happened, the chances are that intervals between rehonings will increase as the damage is honed away.

On the softwood problem - yes, I know exactly what you mean! In some respects, soft, open-grained woods can be a harder challenge than harder, denser ones; they tend to crush rather than cut. They really demand sharper edges than some harder woods. If possible, using a slicing rather than stabbing cut can help, thogh that's not always possible - cleaning up dovetails, for example. Another thing some have tried is a lower bevel angle, but regrinding bevels for different woods can shorten chisels faster than most of us would like! Some people keep a few paring chisels with a lower bevel angle than their chopping chisels, and use those for situations like this - not with a mallet though! Probably the best solution is keeping the edge dead sharp, and touching up on the polishing stone more often than you usually would, and being a bit pragmatic about surfaces that will be hidden after assembly - work from both sides so that surfaces are cut clean to the marked line, and don't obcess too much about the middle, hidden, bit.


Thanks for the reply, I did take the pragmatic view in the end, and stopped stressing about the middle bit, and I did as best I could to have crisp edges as I made the layout lines deeper from each side with my marking knife that did slice better; as you say probably down to the fact the blade is only 1.5mm thick and a very shallow cutting angle. I've enough chisels I can spare a small one and make it a shallow paring chisel - I need a skew with shallower shoulders anyway.