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I don't get why all plane irons aren't laminated?

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ali27

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Only the edge of the plane iron does the cutting, so why would the whole
iron be made from the same steel? Makes sharpening a lot tougher and time
consuming. Why not a very thin layer(0.5mm or so) of tough steel(A2,M2,HSS)
at the cutting edge laminated or glued with very soft steel or even aluminium?



Something like that.

I know they do this with japanese plane blades. If I had to guess why this
isn't done with western plane blades, I'd think it's too expensive. What about
just gluing some soft steel of 3mm thick above a very thin tough steel?

Thanks
 

bugbear

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it's a cost play-off between the saving on high grade edge-holding steel, and the cost of the laminating process.

BugBear
 

ali27

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Ok, so cost is an issue. What about just glueing a very thin tough steel with a much
softer steel or maybe even aluminium? Why isn't this done?
 

TheTiddles

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That kind of glue hasn't been around for more than a few years, diffusion bonding would be a better way, how thin should the hard bit be? I'd say at least 2mm to allow a decent size second bevel, that's heading towards a full thickness of blade for an old blade.

Aidan
 

Jacob

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ali27":3lrc42rg said:
Only the edge of the plane iron does the cutting, so why would the whole
iron be made from the same steel? Makes sharpening a lot tougher and time
consuming. Why not a very thin layer(0.5mm or so) of tough steel(A2,M2,HSS)
at the cutting edge laminated or glued with very soft steel or even aluminium?

........

I know they do this with japanese plane blades. If I had to guess why this
isn't done with western plane blades, I'd think it's too expensive. What about
just gluing some soft steel of 3mm thick above a very thin tough steel?

Thanks
Cost.
But the need for it has been designed out by Bailey - his whole design turns around the thin non-laminated blade and how to make it work as well as a heavy bladed woody. Result; cheaper (blade, not plane), easier to sharpen, easier to remove /replace/set/adjust, and works a whole lot better than a wooden plane with a laminated blade.
It still needs a good deal of stiffness so 0.5mm steel on aluminium wouldn't have the strength I guess.
A very similar design to the Bailey plane is the Gillette safety razor, where the stresses are different and an even thinner blade is possible. Don't know which came first, or was it a case of great minds thinking alike?
 

bugbear

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Jacob":1flrdyha said:
But the need for it has been designed out by Bailey - his whole design turns around the thin non-laminated blade...
The tool historian in me feels obliged to point out that both Stanley and Record used laminated blades in their Bailey planes for a long period.

It may be of interest to some to quote what Stanley say:

"The cutting edge portion is a very high carbon crucible steel of a
compositon particularly suited to hold a keen edge. The remainder of the
Cutter is a lower carbon steel and it acts as a backing for the hard
cutting edge. Both parts are welded together when originally cast in the
ingot and cannot be separated."

And (from OLDTOOLS) we find:



BugBear
 

ali27

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Jacob":15kzg666 said:
ali27":15kzg666 said:
Only the edge of the plane iron does the cutting, so why would the whole
iron be made from the same steel? Makes sharpening a lot tougher and time
consuming. Why not a very thin layer(0.5mm or so) of tough steel(A2,M2,HSS)
at the cutting edge laminated or glued with very soft steel or even aluminium?

........

I know they do this with japanese plane blades. If I had to guess why this
isn't done with western plane blades, I'd think it's too expensive. What about
just gluing some soft steel of 3mm thick above a very thin tough steel?

Thanks
Cost.
But the need for it has been designed out by Bailey - his whole design turns around the thin non-laminated blade and how to make it work as well as a heavy bladed woody. Result; cheaper (blade, not plane), easier to sharpen, easier to remove /replace/set/adjust, and works a whole lot better than a wooden plane with a laminated blade.
It still needs a good deal of stiffness so 0.5mm steel on aluminium wouldn't have the strength I guess.
A very similar design to the Bailey plane is the Gillette safety razor, where the stresses are different and an even thinner blade is possible. Don't know which came first, or was it a case of great minds thinking alike?
Jacob, wouldn't glueing the 0.5-1mm to lets say a 4mm thick aluminium or very soft steel
provide enough stiffness? I was under the impression that glueing a 0.5-1mm thick piece
of steel to steel of 4mm would give the stiffness of something around a 4mm thick piece
of steel.

Ali
 

Jacob

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I think that once down to a certain thickness there's little point in laminating, which will be why Stanley dropped it I guess.

PS or to look at it another way - the conventional set-up already is laminated - the blade "unit" consists of frog/blade/cap iron/lever cap; four lamina all held together by a bolt, rather than being welded or glued.
 

ali27

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Jacob":1vz434tv said:
I think that once down to a certain thickness there's little point in laminating, which will be why Stanley dropped it I guess.

PS or to look at it another way - the conventional set-up already is laminated - the blade "unit" consists of frog/blade/cap iron/lever cap; four lamina all held together by a bolt, rather than being welded or glued.
Jacob you have a point here, but how do explain then the improved performance
when using thicker replacement blades? Many people claim this after they
switch to veritas,hock, clifton or qiansheng blades which are thicker. Even without
changing the blade, but using a thicker chip breaker there is improved performance.

I would like to try this idea and then ditch the chipbreaker as a bonus. 0.5-1 mm
high carbon,a2 or HSS steel plate glued to 4mm thick very soft steel or even
aluminum. Cut a slut on it for the yoke and ditch the chipbreaker.
 

Jacob

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People get enthusiastic about all sorts of things and fashions come and go. Personally I haven't tried a thicker chip breaker, though I have tried different blades, a Hock and a Smoothcut, both in no 4s or 5s. They are good yes, but so is the standard blade. When you are actually head down and planing I don't think there is much difference. The Hock keeps an edge longer (I think) but takes longer to sharpen.
Basically I'm sceptical about all the mysterious and magical alternatives on offer and I have put a little effort into trying some of them.

PS virtually the whole point in having a chip breaker (so-called) is to permit the use of a thinner blade. It keeps the blade pinned tight against the frog so that it will function as well as a trad thick blade. By all means turn the clock back if you want to, but then sharpening will take longer, blades cost more, etc etc.
 

Paul Chapman

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Unless you hone the whole of the bevel, sharpening a thick blade takes no longer than sharpening a thin blade. That's why most people use a primary bevel and a secondary bevel - it's only the small secondary bevel that is honed when re-sharpening the blade.

Cheers :wink:

Paul
 

bugbear

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Jacob":b7gsp6mn said:
PS virtually the whole point in having a chip breaker (so-called) is to permit the use of a thinner blade. It keeps the blade pinned tight against the frog so that it will function as well as a trad thick blade.
Woodies and infills, both of which have very thick blades ALSO have chip breakers (sometimes called cap irons). If the purpose of cap irons were to allow thin blades, planes with thick blades wouldn't have them, but they do.

BugBear
 

ali27

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Paul Chapman":2s9eyut6 said:
Unless you hone the whole of the bevel, sharpening a thick blade takes no longer than sharpening a thin blade. That's why most people use a primary bevel and a secondary bevel - it's only the small secondary bevel that is honed when re-sharpening the blade.

Cheers :wink:

Paul
Yes I am aware of this and use it myself. However the microbevel gets
bigger everytime you sharpen and after 5-6 times you need to go to the
grinder. You can microbevel with my idea as well and have a much easier
task when going to the grinder as the aluminium or soft steel upper layer
is much easier to grind. The aluminium would probably be easily removed
on a waterstone.

It just doesn't make sense to have a 3mm thick plane iron with 2-2.5mm of
tough steel which does not do anything more than provide stiffness. The only
required toughness is at the edge.
 

bugbear

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ali27":1yhs81c4 said:
Yes I am aware of this and use it myself. However the microbevel gets
bigger everytime you sharpen and after 5-6 times you need to go to the
grinder. You can microbevel with my idea as well and have a much easier
task when going to the grinder as the aluminium or soft steel upper layer
is much easier to grind.
Bench grinders go through even hardened tool steel on the primary bevel more than quick enough for me - I'm not concerned about saving the labour of a power tool!

Making a laminated blade is a complex enough process that the costs might exceed the benefit - the only laminated blade I know of outside traditional Japanese ones if the Smoothcut/Samurai one.

Historically, it was more common, with European woodie plane blades being laminated (pretty much universally), and (as I mentioned before) Bailey blades from Record and Stanley being laminated for an extended period.

There is a saving on the high grade steel, so it's to do with materials costs versus process costs.

The performance advantages of lamination have been (heatedly) discussed on forums before. You might want to ask yourself wether the soft layer is providing mass, stiffness or both.

BugBear
 

Jacob

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Paul Chapman":a8saiqvb said:
Unless you hone the whole of the bevel, sharpening a thick blade takes no longer than sharpening a thin blade. That's why most people use a primary bevel and a secondary bevel - it's only the small secondary bevel that is honed when re-sharpening the blade.

Cheers :wink:

Paul
However you do it, all the bevel has to be attended to. There are no short cuts. Honing or grinding; it's all re-sharpening. The advantage of a thin blade is that you can do it all by hand quite easily.

ali27":a8saiqvb said:
.... the microbevel gets
bigger everytime you sharpen and after 5-6 times you need to go to the
grinder. ......
Only if you choose to do it that way. This has always struck me as very inefficient.
No reason why you shouldn't back off on a coarse grit and hone on a fine grit , every time you sharpen. Or with a thin blade you can do both on a moderately fine grit, in one operation; either as two bevels, one flat bevel, convex bevel, or any other arrangement you fancy!
 

bridger

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laminating aluminum to steel is going to have problems. their working temperatures are different enough to preclude welding processes, and they have different enough thermal expansion rates that even if you could glue them together you'd have problems keeping the resulting blade flat. besides, abrasives that work for steel will gum up quickly used on aluminum.
 

Sawyer

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Just what I was about to say, Bridger!
Aluminium may be soft, but put it anywhere near your grinder and the stone will quickly resent it by clogging up. What time you save will be lost on dressing the grindstone, which, being clogged, will probably have overheated and blued the tool steel too. #-o

I once restored an old wooden jack with a very thick laminated blade: chipped, so I had to regrind it - it took forever! With a thin blade, the same thing would have taken about one minute.
 

Richard T

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Welding tool steel to wrought iron is an art in itself anyway - steel has a lower welding temperature than iron. If anyone has tried forge welding, you'll know how difficult it is to get two pieces of metal with the same welding temps together ..
Yet generations of Sheffield smiths put blades together like this day in, year out. Not just plane irons either, everything: axes, adzes, billhooks, scythes, all plated or Sandwiched. All because crucible steel could only be made in small quantities.
Though lamination has the advantage of the iron supporting the steel from cracking when quenched and when left harder after tempering than would be advisable if it were the same hardness front to back. The Japanese play on this to the extreme with those huge lumps of soft iron with insanely hard steel on the front.
Not sure how much the Brit irons were left "over" hardened but I have some old'uns that are pretty much like trying to grind glass, ... so maybe.
All in all Ali, I really don't think that gluing very hard thin stuff to very soft thick stuff would work ..... for long.
 

Benchwayze

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ali27":3rttr5sf said:
Jacob":3rttr5sf said:
I think that once down to a certain thickness there's little point in laminating, which will be why Stanley dropped it I guess.

PS or to look at it another way - the conventional set-up already is laminated - the blade "unit" consists of frog/blade/cap iron/lever cap; four lamina all held together by a bolt, rather than being welded or glued.
Jacob you have a point here, but how do explain then the improved performance
when using thicker replacement blades? Many people claim this after they
switch to veritas,hock, clifton or qiansheng blades which are thicker. Even without
changing the blade, but using a thicker chip breaker there is improved performance.

I would like to try this idea and then ditch the chipbreaker as a bonus. 0.5-1 mm
high carbon,a2 or HSS steel plate glued to 4mm thick very soft steel or even
aluminum. Cut a slut on it for the yoke and ditch the chipbreaker.
I know some experts who would disagree that thicker blades are better and hold an edge longer. (They usually employ both though.)
So do I and although no expert, in the guru sense, I prefer the thicker blades. They take longer to sharpen, and need two or three honing sessions from new, to get the ultimate edge. But I find the edge lasts longer; depending on the species of timber you are working with, of course. I usually give my planes and chisels a good hone before I start a new project. (Which has been some time since mind! :mrgreen: )

The idea behind laminated blades was explained to me some time ago. This is how it was explained.
The quality of steel required to hold a good edge is expensive to produce, and a thicker blade was less inclined to 'chatter'. So the best of both worlds was to laminate the blade; a veneer of good steel for the edge, backed up by lesser quality to get the stiffness. Maybe that applied to wooden planes initially, as most of my laminated blades came from old 'woodies'. I have had Baileys with thin irons chatter on me, but usually because they were not set up properly, or the iron was blunt. Even so I still prefer a thicker blade. But maybe that's just me. :wink:
John :)
 

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