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How long for an Edge?

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samlarsen

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Good folks of the forum,

Recently moved over to using more hardwoods now my furniture making skills are passable enough to deserve it!

I am finding the edge on my tools is lasting a very short space of time.

In particular my hand plane blade, a stanley (rubbish I know!) is only lasting a few strokes (less than 20) on kiln dried oak / ash!

How long is reasonable for an edge? How can I best improve the situation?

On the plus side, I'm getting quite good at sharpening!

Any thoughts gratefully received.

Cheers
 

engineer one

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hi there suggest that this might well be better served on the hand tool site, but of the top of my head, i would suggest get a better blade, like a clifton, or one of the japanese ones from axminster.

also maybe you should try improving your sharpening skills to ensure that
the edge is more effective. see other postings on hand tools

all the best
paul :wink:

ps you could also buy a lie nielson, or a veritas plane to make life easier. :lol:
 

Philly

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Sam
Glad you are getting some work done with hardwoods-as you have discovered, it is not just a clever name :lol:
What are you using for sharpening?? Before you upgrade it may be time to touch up your sharpening method.
Cheers
Philly :D
 

Chris Knight

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Sam,
You may need to steepen the bevel angle - what is/are your bevel angle(s) at present? I think Oak could happily be planed with a 35 to 38 degree final bevel angle for an edge that lasts a reasonable time.
 
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Anonymous

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Hi Sam

Possibly a combination of all of the above. A Hock blade will improve matters considerably (I put one in a Stanley Jack and it made a huge difference), but first of all try the steeper angle and let us know how you sharpen
 

Midnight

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In particular my hand plane blade, a stanley (rubbish I know!) is only lasting a few strokes (less than 20) on kiln dried oak / ash!
Commiserations Sam... for what it's worth I ran smack into the same prob with both my Stanley planes.. didn't matter how sharp I got em, how well I nursed 'em... I swaer you could almost hear em scream and feel the recoil at the prospect of working oak and elm...

I bypassed the prob by switching to L-N planes, but recently placed an order with L-N for a pair of their Stanley compatable irons c/w chipbreakers. Right now they're awaiting clearance from the local Parcelforce depot.. I'll get back to ya when I've put them through their paces....
 

Frank D.

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I use a LN replacement blade for my Stanley #7, which I use as a fore plane (it has a crowned blade). Holds an edge very well. It really depends on what woods you use and what kind of finish you want. I don't use much oak btu it's usually not that hard to plane (my edges can last over an hour's work) but I've also planed some VERY tough red oak that killed my edges, they only lasted 5 minutes or so. I'd say when I want a fine finish my blades last 1/2 hour of planing, if it's just rough work I can squeeze 2 hours out of them on maple. Some people like to hone once in a while which helps. I used to use a blade till it was utterly dead, but now I've got some oilstones to hone in my shop (I used to sharpen only in the kitchen), and I must say I like the fact that I can touch up a blade and keep going. It does break the rythm a bit but less than going down to the kitchen where the beer is.
 

bugbear

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Sam; the other folks have offerred good tips - especially the bevel angle.

Assuming you've read all the stuff about tuning your plane (which can be taken as far as you feel like... ask me for info...), the blade is the most important part.

Pretty much any Stanley blade post 1980 will be very soft (Record followed the same degradation curve with around a 5-10 year lag).

If you can't find an older Record or Stanley at a car boot sale (which would cost around 10-15 GBP for the whole plane, including a better blade than the one you have), I would recommend the Japanese laminated blade from APTC. In my experience it's as good as any of the other after market blades out there (Hock, Clifton, Lee Valley, LN...) but a good deal cheaper.

http://www.axminster.co.uk/recno/5/prod ... -22303.htm

ALL of the after market blades are a truly MASSIVE step up from the Stanley/Record stuff. The difference amongst them is very small by comparison.

BugBear
 

samlarsen

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Thanks All,

Plenty to think about and try.

I'm using Jap waterstones which I like using. Quick and clean (er) than oil.

I use a honing guide on the main bevel at 25 deg on an 800 stone. Then use a 1200 stone then 6000 stone on the edge by hand to give a thin second bevel with a curve. I have had a look at the edge a few times with the x10 lens I have (just after sharpening) and think it looks reasonable. It sure cuts redwood end grain well!

I had suspected the blade might be very soft. Large nicks are visible in the blade after a very short duration of work on hardwood.

Can anyone recommend / offer some first hand sharpening tuition somewhere in the cumbria area to help me with this fundamental? All the joiners I know locally think a chisel is something you hit with a claw hammer to remove plaster!

Cheers folks

Sam
 

bugbear

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Can anyone recommend / offer some first hand sharpening tuition somewhere in the cumbria area to help me with this fundamental?
It sounds like you already know enough not to need a lesson.

From your description, you're probably getting around a 30 degree secondary bevel.

In modern, soft, Stanley blade, against hardwood, that's NOT strong enough.

Another 5 degrees might help - try moving to using the jig at 30 degrees and hand/final sharpening at 35.

If you're having trouble judging angles, I recommend cutting simple wedges from scrap 1" pine plank - these act as a nice "tactile" reference, and are much easier than trying to view protractors sideways.

If you still have trouble (these blades are soft) get the APTC laminated blade as suggested elsewhere.

BugBear
 

Midnight

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FWIW.. I'd the chance today to do a back to back comparrison of the stock Stanley blade and chip-breaker v's the L-N counterparts. The difference was chalk and cheese...

Noth blades were honed on the same stone prior to fitting, both set loose on the same board.. The Stanley struggled with the few knots in the board while the L-N sliced through them with minimal fuss...

I haven't had enough hands on time to try to get the most from the upgrade... I might try that tomorrow, but first impressions were positive.. The blade change by no means imbues the #5 with L-N esque performance, but what it's done is transform a door-stop into something with potential to be a useable plane...
 

samlarsen

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Apologies for not giving feedback sooner but christmas, new year, work etc!

Thanks for all the advice given. To improve the situation;

I bought a smoothcut laminated blade from axminster and fitted it to the modern stanley. I also purchased a reground USA made plane with Ashley Illes blade from old tools.

WOW!!

Firstly the laminated blade was far easier to flatten than the modern stanley was when it was new. Much flatter to start with. Soon polished up with the jap stones. The result (fitted to the modern stanley) is incredible, esp on end grain. Durability is incomparable to the stanley blade.

The USA stanley and Illes blade is also fantastic. The blade also polished up easily and holds an excellent edge. The reground plane is flat and square and itself is a very competant plane. For 65 quid inc new blade it is far superior to the c. 50quid modern stanley.

Planing is now a very different task so many thanks to all who advised.

Im off now to make a marking guage out of the old blade!!

Sam
 

bugbear

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samlarsen":3nrbgate said:
I bought a smoothcut laminated blade from axminster and fitted it to the modern stanley. I also purchased a reground USA made plane with Ashley Illes blade from old tools.

WOW!!

Firstly the laminated blade was far easier to flatten than the modern stanley was when it was new.
Which is interesting - because it's much, MUCH harder.

Much flatter to start with.
Ah. That'd help :)
Soon polished up with the jap stones. The result (fitted to the modern stanley) is incredible, esp on end grain. Durability is incomparable to the stanley blade.

The USA stanley and Illes blade is also fantastic. The blade also polished up easily and holds an excellent edge. The reground plane is flat and square and itself is a very competant plane. For 65 quid inc new blade it is far superior to the c. 50quid modern stanley.
Tricky question for you. How much difference is there now in the performance of the 2 planes?

BugBear
 

samlarsen

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Was hoping you wouldn't ask!!!

Not really sure if there's a huge difference yet as I've only done a small amount of work with them.

I'll certainly let you know if there's a noticeable difference that arrises. I'll be making a welsh dresser in the coming weeks so might find out then.

Cheers

Sam
 

Paul Chapman

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I think this whole subject is fascinating, because of all the variables involved. These include the type of plane, the blade, the chipbreaker, the sharpening method and the sort of wood being planed.

My experience has been as follows. From about 1970 I have used Record planes - Nos. 7, 5.5, 5 and 4. About three years ago I swapped the standard cap irons for Clifton two-piece cap irons (known as stay set cap irons when Record used to make them). These made a significant improvement to the performance of the planes but not as much as I wanted.

Then about two years ago I fitted Clifton blades which made a further significant improvement.

However, still not satisfied, I recently went the whole hog and bought a Clifton No. 7 and No. 4.5. Wow, what a difference :D

I think the marked improvement with the Clifton planes is a combination of things, including the weight (they are much heavier) and the overall rigidity which stems from the bedrock frog and the overall better engineering. And what a joy being able to alter the mouth without dismantling the plane :D

The difference is most apparent when dealing with very hard woods (at present I am battling with some very hard oak and not having a planer/thicknesser I am having to do it all by hand) or woods with knots in it. The planes have a smoothness in the way they operate and the blades seem to want sharpening less often - although I think I was sharpening more often before because the Record planes were not operating as smoothly rather than because the blades were blunting quicker. It's quite difficult to explain but it's worth trying a good plane just to experience how much better they are. I am sure the Lie Nielsen planes give similar results.

I want to experiment next with my sharpening technique. Currently I use DMT diamond stones (coarse, fine and extra fine) with WD40 - I hate any system which uses water because of rust problems and I found water with diamond stones far more messy than WD40. However, I might dig out the oil stones again because the extra fine diamond stone doesn't seem fine enough to give a really good edge.

Hope this helps the debate :?

Paul
 

bugbear

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Paul Chapman":8txeq49o said:
I think the marked improvement with the Clifton planes is a combination of things, including the weight (they are much heavier) and the overall rigidity which stems from the bedrock frog and the overall better engineering. And what a joy being able to alter the mouth without dismantling the plane :D
Yep, that makes a big difference. Every time you alter the mouth...

It's a lovely little piece of engineering, but I'd personally prefer the older bedrock design (same large mating area, with straight through bolts)

I want to experiment next with my sharpening technique. Currently I use DMT diamond stones (coarse, fine and extra fine) with WD40
At the risk of being blunt (oops!) you'd get better results with sharper blades. Either natural oil stones (many British "slates", washita or Arkansas), or diamond paste on a flat substrate would work for you.

BugBear
 

Paul Chapman

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Hi BugBear,

Thanks for the tips about sharpening. I went over to diamond stones mainly because they stay flat but I've been disappointed that they don't come in finer grades. I'm thinking of finishing off on a fine oilstone and using one of the diamond stones to keep the oilstone flat. I'm also keen to try the diamond paste idea.

Thanks again

Paul
 

Alf

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Paul Chapman":1oyett99 said:
I'm also keen to try the diamond paste idea.
I can recommend 0.25 micron for that really wicked my-goodness-was-that-an-atom-I-just-sliced-in-half-? edge, fwiw.

Cheers, Alf
 

Paul Chapman

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Thanks Alf.

Having read a lot of your posts and seen your website, you seem to be the resident guru on all matters to do with hand planes :) (hope I haven't started anything :oops: ) so I'm more than happy to take your advice. Where can I get hold of the paste you recommend?

Thanks again for your help,

Paul
 
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