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woodbrains

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Hello,

I have a theory, of which I am prepared to be proven wrong, but none the less curious about. Ahem... is the dislike of A2 steel plane irons and chisels more prevalent in free hand honers than jig honers? My notion is that a jig will allow a greater number of strokes on the stone at the required angle with just enough extra precision to allow a sharper edge on the more difficult A2 steel, therefore, jig honers are more likely to get the best from this steel and tend to like it more than freehand sharpeners. I have used Hock A2 cryo and really like the stuff. On the plane iron tests which Bugbear recently directed us to, Hock A2 was said to out preform that of LN and LV at 30deg honed bevels, which might have something to do with my liking of it. I have only recently got a LV BU jack, but have not used for long enough to come to any conclusions. My LV shoulder plane has an A2 iron which I get on fine with, though admittedly not used for the same purpose as bench planes so not a great comparison, but compares favourably to other shoulder planes I use.

One stipulation, though, anyone who says 'for or against' must actually sharpen their irons to a reasonable degree. People who think rubbing their irons on a concrete slab, or equivalent and then saying they don't like them, will be discounted.

Here is my contribution to start (and perhaps end?)

Vote FOR Hock A2, in block plane, Jack Plane, 04 smoother; Veritas Jig, Japanese waterstones to 6000 or 8000 grit depending on the job.


I will say that I used to sharpen with oilstones, Surgical black Arkansas and chrome oxide strop for years with good results on O1 and the likes. It was getting some A2 which initiated the change to Japanese stones as they do take ages to get a fine enough edge on oilstones IMHO. Since changing, I have never looked back, these are just so quick to get a superior edge.

Mike.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Never having used A2 irons, I'm afraid I've nothing constructive to contribute.

However, perhaps I might be permitted to extend the question. Has anybody noticed differences in use between A2 cryogenically treated steel, and A2 non-cryogenically treated cutting tools?
 

Jacob

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woodbrains":1bnpc7sh said:
........ is the dislike of A2 steel plane irons and chisels more prevalent in free hand honers than jig honers? .......
Not as far as I know. I have no problem with the two A2 plane blades I use (Veritas and Hock). In fact they seem easy to sharpen freehand, much to my surprise considering the bad press. I wonder whether it's down to different batch variations and luck of the draw?
 

woodbrains

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Cheshirechappie":1qadffhh said:
Never having used A2 irons, I'm afraid I've nothing constructive to contribute.

However, perhaps I might be permitted to extend the question. Has anybody noticed differences in use between A2 cryogenically treated steel, and A2 non-cryogenically treated cutting tools?
Hi,

This was something I wondered about, and perhaps this will get mentioned if anyone thinks this is a worthwhile thread to contribute to.
I am unsure whether LV is cryogenically treted or not, it doesn't seem to be well identified. For a while, Steve Knight did some O1 Cryo which (with limited data) was reputed to out perform regular O1. I believe Ron Hock has subsequently made the irons for Steve Knight in plain O1 and perhaps this situation has now changed too, so this line of investigation is limited, unless anyone here knows better.

Mike.
 

woodbrains

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Hi,

Just checked and LV's A2 irons are not crogenically treated, but double tempered, air hardened as ar LN. So it would be Hock versus LN, LV inthe cryo, non-cryo test, at least for plane irons. If anyone is brave enough to own the new Stanley Sweetheart planes, they might have something to say about their A2 irons.

Does any lucky sod have Blue Spruce A2 chisels?

Mike.
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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I do not see freehand vs guide honing to be the issue with A2. I freehand hone (- mostly - but also use a guide),

If one uses the appropriate honing and polishing media, then working with A2 is almost as easy as O1 steel.

For example, Shapton Pro ceramic waterstones, which are pretty common place these days, are by far the better media than oil stones or the older waterstones, such as the generation of King stones still sold several years ago. I now use Sigma waterstones, and they make light work of even more abrasion-resistant steels, such as 3V and M4.

The other factor is whether one hones a micro bevel or a full face. Obviously one is going to create more work than the other and influence your perception of the steel.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Jacob

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Interesting. So far woodbrain's hypothesis appears to be completely wrong - freehanders find no prob with A2 steel!
TBH in use I notice very little difference - this is because I tend to do a quick hone, little and often, whenever I feel the need. I would need a time & motion observer with a stop watch to tell me which blades need most work.
 

Ollie78

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I have the A2 blade in my Veritas block plane. I have no issues honing it freehand using water stones. I can only compare it to standard Stanley blades really or my Japanese chisels. It seems slightly harder to hone than the Stanley blades (ie. slower) but it holds its edge for considerably longer and seems to just get `sharper` somehow.
Never tried honing jig so can`t comment on that method.

Ollie
 

yetloh

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I have cryo and non-cryo A2 blades and hone with a guide but i am really not a fan of either. I find the dge obtainable is nothing special either in sharpness or longevity. I use water stones up to 12,00o grit or sometimes diamond paste, depending how the fancy takes me. I find Japanese lminated blades superior for edge quality and comparable for longevity. The Quangsheng T10 seems superior in both respects.

Jim
 

bobbybirds

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woodbrains":366op4ju said:
Hi,

Just checked and LV's A2 irons are not crogenically treated, but double tempered, air hardened as ar LN. So it would be Hock versus LN, LV inthe cryo, non-cryo test, at least for plane irons. If anyone is brave enough to own the new Stanley Sweetheart planes, they might have something to say about their A2 irons.

Does any lucky sod have Blue Spruce A2 chisels?

Mike.
I do have a full set of the BS bench chisels as well as some of his other offerings. They take and edge very well and I have no problem keeping one.
 

JohnCee

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I will never understand the antipathy some people show towards the LN A2 blades. IME they are beautifully manufactured, easy to sharpen, take a great edge and hold it for a long time.
 

custard

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JohnCee":25vh2cbs said:
I will never understand the antipathy some people show towards the LN A2 blades. IME they are beautifully manufactured, easy to sharpen, take a great edge and hold it for a long time.
+1
 

Jacob

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JohnCee":n1su0i0g said:
I will never understand the antipathy some people show towards the LN A2 blades. IME they are beautifully manufactured, easy to sharpen, take a great edge and hold it for a long time.
It's because people have experienced real problems, unless they are making it up, which seems unlikely. There have been reports of crumbly edges going back a long way and a general consensus that honing below 35/30º is not viable.
Not my experience, or yours I presume, but that's the reason.
I wonder if there is a lot of variation in quality?
 

mtr1

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I had real problems with my A2 LN iron that I didn't make up, see here.

LN traced it back to a time when their Rockwell tester was not working properly, once they realised, they recalled all the planes but a good few slipped through the net.
 

Modernist

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mtr1":25s8q00h said:
I had real problems with my A2 LN iron that I didn't make up, see here.

LN traced it back to a time when their Rockwell tester was not working properly, once they realised, they recalled all the planes but a good few slipped through the net.
That sound like marketing department speak to me. I doubt if their process is such that they reject many. Personally I have had the full range of experience from superb to useless with no apparent common thread. Having said that the corner dropped off my AI 01 chisel recently on first use so hardening and tempering problems are not confined to A2.
 

woodbrains

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Hello,

My OP was a bit cheeky, really, as I know hand honing can be just as effective as jig honing, and indeed do both myself as suits. What I am really trying to establish is why there is such a great polarisation in opinion about A2. Quality control problems aside, there must be some differentiator to account for the split in opinion. Jig honing could give that extra level of precision that A2 might need to get it a degree or two sharper, whereas the less demanding carbon steel would gain a lot of fans by being a bit less demanding. It appears that the free hand honers who like A2 also have a very disciplined and precise sharpening regimen, which suggests A2 does need to be fussed over a little more to get the best results.

Is there anyone who previously disliked A2 then changed their sharpening methods and found they disliked it less. Perhaps an oil stone sharpener changing to Japanese stones or scary sharp, or someone stropping who did not before?

Mike.
 

Jacob

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woodbrains":crpg71ic said:
Hello,

My OP was a bit cheeky, really, as I know hand honing can be just as effective as jig honing, and indeed do both myself as suits. What I am really trying to establish is why there is such a great polarisation in opinion about A2. Quality control problems aside, there must be some differentiator to account for the split in opinion. Jig honing could give that extra level of precision that A2 might need to get it a degree or two sharper, whereas the less demanding carbon steel would gain a lot of fans by being a bit less demanding. It appears that the free hand honers who like A2 also have a very disciplined and precise sharpening regimen, which suggests A2 does need to be fussed over a little more to get the best results.

Is there anyone who previously disliked A2 then changed their sharpening methods and found they disliked it less. Perhaps an oil stone sharpener changing to Japanese stones or scary sharp, or someone stropping who did not before?

Mike.
It's not a split in opinion it's a split in experience. Some people have had a poor experience, some have not. Trying to blame it on honing seems very improbable. For a start, my freehand honing isn't "disciplined and precise" yet I get good results
 

yetloh

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Jacob":2e3do0s2 said:
JohnCee":2e3do0s2 said:
I wonder if there is a lot of variation in quality?
i am told that there is A2 and then there is A2 by the person who first introduced it as a steel for plane blades. In my experience, his blades don't crumble but some others do, which fits with your hypothesis that there are significant variations in quality.

Jim
 

JohnCee

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Edges will crumble with all steel if the bevel angle is too low. How low is too low depends on the type or treatment of the steel, that's all you need to keep in mind.
 

yetloh

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JohnCee":29zag5i0 said:
Edges will crumble with all steel if the bevel angle is too low. How low is too low depends on the type or treatment of the steel, that's all you need to keep in mind.
But my point is that some A2s will crumble when others don't when sharpened at exactly the same angle and with similar usage.

Jim
 
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