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How long do your blades stay sharp?

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ydb1md

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Being an amateur woodworker, my planes usually only get a work out on the weekends.

For some reason, a plane that seemed to cut well just a week ago seems to just skate along the surface of the wood now, making nasty sounds almost like metal on metal.

Is it just me or does the same thing happen to the rest of you? Do you pull the blades out of your planes and oil them up to eliminate any chances of corrosion at the blades' edge?
 

MikeW

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Nope. Not here. While my usual set gets used often enough to be "always" honed (almost daily) there are those that only get honed when used. If they get put up sharp, which I always sharpen prior to storing, then they're sharp when I need them.

Maybe the little people are sneaking in and dulling them? Even though we're on the wrong continent, they must have cousins that have crossed the water...

Is it possible that they are not as sharp as you think? And when you use them after a period you are more aware of how they are cutting?

A good practice is to hone after use--or before use. Your choice. I do it while drinking my morning coffee.

Mike
 

Frank D.

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Hi guys,
I'm of course an amateur too, but how long my blades last is a major concern of mine because I bring tools downstairs and sharpen in the kitchen when necessary. I work mostly on hard maple (sounding like a broken record here...) and my A2 blades last about...half an hour's work each, more or less (not including my scrub or rough jack, because I just ram them into the wood). I have also found that the higher the bevel on my bevel-up planes, the faster the blade will just skip over the surface, so even though it might resist chipping more than a blade sharpened to a lower angle, the sharp edge seems to wear out faster. Avoiding sharpening is one reason why I have multiples of the same or similar planes.
 

Alf

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Frank D.":1zhsmvvb said:
I have also found that the higher the bevel on my bevel-up planes, the faster the blade will just skip over the surface, so even though it might resist chipping more than a blade sharpened to a lower angle, the sharp edge seems to wear out faster.
Mmm, found the same thing. I always forget what the benefits of A2 are supposed to be exactly, but my feeling is I'd sooner have HCS and at least make that more frequent honing that much speedier. But then (again a broken record) I tend to favour honing often anyway.

Dave, my blades can stay sharp for months. Usually this coincides with not using them. :D I did try to be good and sharpen before I put them away, but it didn't always happen, so I tend to sharpen them before I use them now. At least I think I do, but it's getting hard to remember it's been so long. :cry: Can't say as I've noticed any loss of edge from a blade being left unused for any length of time. Although for a long time blades on seldom-used planes did seem to be getting blunt in storage. Truth was my idea of "sharp" had changed between putting it away and using it again. :oops:

Cheers, Alf
 

DaveL

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I only use the factory grind, then get a new plane when it dulls.
Derek,

I would like to the DaveL Blunt Plane re-homing service to your attention, all types of plane can be found new places to retire to. :shock: :wink:
I will even allow you to send those nasty LV BU ones to me when they stop producing translucent shavings. :whistle: :wink: :-s

Well you got to try and I am told I am very trying.
 

Philly

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Good thing Rob is pretty prolific with his plane offereing, Derek! :wink:
You great big fibber,
Philly :lol:
 

Alf

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waterhead37":nd56rmql said:
I have got a plane that takes throwaway blades.. :p
Not something I thought I'd hear you admit to, Chris. :shock: But yes, so have I. Although arguably it's closer to being a throwaway plane considering how terrible it is to use... :-k

Cheers, Alf
 
A

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My A2 blades stay sharp for a month or-so (usually 3 days in the workshop and about 3-4 hours actual planing). This is amateur use of course :wink:

My Hock blades last about half as long

The standard Stanley or Record plasticine blades get honed after about 1/2 hours use

I sometimes go into the workshop and just sharpen all planes and chisels - it is quite relaxing and allows one to simply think about projects and life in general
 

MikeW

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Tony":eaqfxskq said:
...I sometimes go into the workshop and just sharpen all planes and chisels - it is quite relaxing and allows one to simply think about projects and life in general
One of my favorite things. A cup of tea in the evening or coffee in the morning. Work at the bench sharpening (well, or the kitchen sink) and think about the day and the work to be or that was done, or what the weather is like at the beach today. The what to think about isn't important.

It is quite relaxing, and productive. And I can't complain about starting work with a dull edge, either :wink:

Mike
 

Midnight

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Is it just me or does the same thing happen to the rest of you? Do you pull the blades out of your planes and oil them up to eliminate any chances of corrosion at the blades' edge?
depends on the blade, the type of stock and how hard I'm working the plane.. Hardwoods give even my A2's a work-out... If I'm using the same plane constantly I'll give the edge a wee tickle every half hour or so; nothing much.. just a couple of strokes over the 10k stone, tickle the back before stropping on my t-shirt...

if it were a stock Stanley blade, I'd be lucky to get 5 mins before the edge looks like its been through a rock crusher....
 

GCR

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Try a laminated blade, Axminster sell them. The edge holds much longer than, for example, my 1960's Record plane irons. Some timbers will remove the edge almost instantly, you just have to keep re-sharpening. Character forming and all that.

Bob
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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ydb1md

Asking how long a blade lasts between sharpenings is like asking how long is a piece of string. It really comes down to the timber you plane and the steel that the blade is made of.

I do a lot of work in really hard Aussie woods. I do not know what there is in the UK to compare these to, but until you have planed something this hard you will not truly appreciate the importance of sharpening. Semi-sharp blades just do not get there. And less than tough steel does not last long.

The best steel blades for such timber are HSS. I have a Mujingfang HSS blade that goes forever. Well, nearly. Nothing goes forever with hard Jarrah. Somedays I seem to get about 10 minutes before I need to re-sharpen. Today was such a day. A2 steel and all. Building a tabletop out of salvaged Jarrah floorboards that are about 80 years old (the floorboards, not the timber, which is probably 200-300 years old - which is why I only use recycled timber). I was changing blades, changing planes, even contemplating a ROS.

In my recent LV BU Smoother review I had a chance to not only compare a variety of planes, but also a variety of timbers. Three from Oz and three from the USA. The USA timbers (Rock Maple, Mahogany and Cherry) hardly raised a sweat . If this is representative of the timber more commonly used in the USA, then many woodworkers there really do not get the opportunity to test the limits of their blades. All I can say is if you are working timber like this, and your blades are not holding an edge, then you must take a closer look at what "sharp" is, that is, the sharpening methods you are currently using.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 
A

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You are right, Derek. The majority of our North American hardwoods are not hard at all comparted to your Aussie timbers or some ot the South American woods. Some of our woods can have tricky grains (i.e. Birdseye maple) that are difficult to plane without tearout but they really aren't that demanding on the steel. I work mostly with walnut, cherry, and various species of oak and maple and my blade edges outlast me. :lol:
 

trevtheturner

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Hi Derek,

I have some Tuart, which I believe is only found growing in your part of the world (in the vicinity of Ludlow, near Perth?) and is now subject to considerable conservation efforts. :?:

I find it a very hard wood compared to what I am used to. I have used it only for turning but it seems to be quite demanding on the chisels and gouges, increasing the frequency of visits to the grinder.

If I have my geography right, you are probably familiar with Tuart. I would be interested to hear how it compares for hardness with, for example, the jarrah that you mention.

Cheers,

Trev.
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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Hi Trev

Tuart is Tough timber, more dense than Jarrah, but not harder than Wandoo (which has been known to make grown floor sanders cry).

Here are some specifications for comparison. From http://www.worldwideflood.com/ark/wood/timber_list.htm

Name Source Density (kg/m3) Hard (kN)

Blackbutt NSW Aus 930 9.5

Jarrah Western Australia 820 8.5

Karri Western Australia 900 9.0

Tuart Western Australia 1030 11.0

Wandoo Western Australia 1110 15.0

Oak, European Great Britain 690 5.5

Fir, Douglas Great Britain 500 3.4

Oak, white, American USA 750 6.0

Pine, jack USA 480 2.5

The piece I am currently working on, a hall table, has a Jarrah top (with a hardness that goes waaayy beyond the above figure) and Blackbutt legs.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Neil

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Derek,

I moved house a couple of months ago and the flooring in the new place is Red Ebony - the previous owner imported the whole lot from Australia. From a Google search I found an alternative name 'Cooktown Ironwood' and figures of 1220kg/m3 for density :shock: and 13-17kn for hardness. I was wondering if it is used a lot over there - do you know anything about it?

We were left a big pile of offcuts, and it really is incredibly hard and dense. All I've made so far is a T-section mitre slide for the track in my router table so no hand-tool experience so far, but it certainly gave the thicknesser a hard time...

Cheers,
Neil
 

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