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Steel for plane blades

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Which steel do you prefer for plane blades

  • High Carbon

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • A2

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • D2

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • D3

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • HSS

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • S3

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    0

Chris Knight

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I prefer high carbon steel for plane blades. A2 is of course rather common these days and so is cryogenically treated A2. However, I reckon A2 takes longer to sharpen and I never get an edge quite as sharp as when I use HCS. A2 of course lasts longer so there is a trade off.

Paraphrasing Konrad Sauer's words in his latest brochure nicely sums up my feelings - when you take a few more swipes with the plane on a piece of fine furniture, rather than go and sharpen it when you know it's getting dull is maybe a sign that your tool steel needs thinking about.


But what is your personal preference? If I have left any favourites out let me know!
 

Alf

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That was easy; I only recognised two of them* and I know I don't like A2. :lol: Isn't D2 the stuff Ray Iles has used for his mortise chisels? Hey, if we get enough votes for HCS maybe Rob'll get a move on with those alternative irons for the Bevel-Up Brigade and I can stop playing with diamonds. \:D/

Cheers, Alf

* Only a tiny exaggeration, I'm ashamed to say. :oops:
 

Alf

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waterhead37":21pro6c3 said:
Alf":21pro6c3 said:
Isn't D2 the stuff Ray Iles has used for his mortise chisels?
Ian used it for his 98 too.
Mmm, I remembered that right after I'd posted. What's supposed to be its benefits? I can't see the same ones being good for both a smoother blade and a mortise chisel. :-k

Cheers, Alf

Afraid she's not going to understand the answer... 8-[ :roll:
 

Ian Dalziel

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D2 is not the easiest thing i've sharpened.....in fact its the worst i've had a go at.....it takes an edge and holds it though but not a material i will use again purley because its so tough......it took Andy King almost 1 1/2 hours to get an initial bevel on the diamond stone and i gave Geoff Brown of Brimarc a go on his Tormek.....his reply after nearly 3/4 of a hour...he has never sharpened any steel like it in 15 years...it kept glazing his stones. Ray Iles made my blades and got them to RC64 but my next ones will probobly be either A2 or HSS....
I only went this route because i got ignored from Hock and Ray had material in stock and was actually easy to deal with plus he also knows a bit about steel
I now have the problem of getting the hollow grind out of one of the blades........good side it holds well and doesnt take to long to sharpen once its pre bevelled. Konrad did use D2 for a while but has gone back to HSS...

I like most materials that work and would probobly tick a few on your list because if prepared right it'll work well.

I normally use my planer thicknesser for removing most of my timber then a final finish with the hand or block plane....i dont really go running to the waterstones every few shavings and when i pull them out i prefer to do a batch at a time because its so messy....so if i'm in the middle of a run and i really need too i just change blade then sharpen a batch at a time while everythings quiet and their isnt the possibility of getting a watery mess anywhere (god i hate mess) :roll:

Like most tools i use if it feels right in my hand and i like the balance then i'm going to use it,whether it cost £1 or £500 ......
I am probobly one of the only people here not to like the grip any of my lie nielsens....i had to change every handle on them and sometimes the weight puts a strain on my arms i then revert back to my stanley no 5......but at the end of the day i dont expect a major manufacturer to be able to come up with a handle design that suits everyone so i make my own.....once the tool feels comfortable to use the results usually improve.....and i would think very few people try to adapt to their own hand grips which is probobly a pity.....


Ian
 

Ian Dalziel

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waterhead37":36ip8nqv said:
D2 is semi stainless btw.
blends right in in the 98

need some help to come up with a name for the 14 inch version of the 98

Ian
 

Frank D.

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IME D2 is tougher than the chart indicates. It's a bear to sharpen as Ian has said, so I avoid it. No tools steel is perfect, I have some old O1 which holds an edge marvelously, but on the whole I prefer A2. It can take a good enough edge to take a .3 thou shaving, which is more than sharp enough. The edge doesn't break down the same way as with O1, it has a tendency to micro-chip rather than round off, but that depends on the bevel angle and the planing angle too. I've had trouble with a few A2 blades chipping quite quickly, but they were both from the same manufacterer. I've just gotten some A2 hardened locally for my chisels, I can't wait to give them a go.
 
A

Anonymous

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I like A2 cause of the edge retention over O1.

I believe O1 does take a better edge initially but dulls quicker.

In a perfect world I would have A2 in all of my planes except my smoothers.

I have no experience with D2, M2 or U2 (the band)

Dan Clermont
 

ydb1md

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Ian Dalziel":28ti8zhe said:
waterhead37":28ti8zhe said:
D2 is semi stainless btw.
blends right in in the 98

need some help to come up with a name for the 14 inch version of the 98

Ian
Are you going to start selling your planes so that the rest of us can enjoy them?

:D
 

MikeW

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Another obvious person to select HC...

I don't generall push a blade to full edge failure. I home depending upon the operation regardless of whether it is A2 or HC, so neither get used to the point of failure. So in that respect, they both last just as long as the other. It's just that A2 takes more effort to hone. To me. Personal opinion.

Take care, Mike
 

Alf

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Ian Dalziel":3bu7oq21 said:
i dont really go running to the waterstones every few shavings and when i pull them out i prefer to do a batch at a time because its so messy....so if i'm in the middle of a run and i really need too i just change blade then sharpen a batch at a time while everythings quiet and their isnt the possibility of getting a watery mess anywhere
Watch out, Mike'll be onto you...

Ian Dalziel":3bu7oq21 said:
(god i hate mess) :roll:
Anyone who's seen your workshop could probably have guessed that! :lol:

Ian Dalziel":3bu7oq21 said:
need some help to come up with a name for the 14 inch version of the 98
How about the 1498? Or pick something from 1498 to name it after. Everyone will then puzzle as to why it's called that. :wink: Anyway, everyone gives their planes numbers; why not a catchy name instead?

Depressingly I see the votes for A2 have increased overnight. :( However, I have a theory. My theory is the quality of plane blades was reduced so much during the 70s and 80s by certain plane manufacturers well known to this forum that public perception became such that anything of "ordinary tool steel" must be useless and no more use than a rust attractor. Anyone who's used a good carbon steel blade from times of yore can tell you what rubbish that is, but the perception is there. Instead of making good HCS blades and re-educating the masses, certain manufacturers have pandered to this perception, so we have folks believing that nothing less than A2 is fit to use. From a piece of Stanley processed cheese slice to A2 makes sense, I grant you. From a Sorby or Ibbotson or Victor to A2? I just don't see it. Looking at Chris' chart, I can only assume the major appeal of A2 to the manufacturers is the greater stability in heat treating, hence the keeness to promote it; wouldn't we be being offered the better wear resistance of M2 otherwise? I gather the same benefit to the manufacturer might be claimed for cryo treatment too. Sheesh, are we easily manipulated, or what? :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

ydb1md

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Alf":1bzw7udp said:
Instead of making good HCS blades and re-educating the masses, certain manufacturers have pandered to this perception, so we have folks believing that nothing less than A2 is fit to use. From a piece of Stanley processed cheese slice to A2 makes sense, I grant you. From a Sorby or Ibbotson or Victor to A2? I just don't see it. Looking at Chris' chart, I can only assume the major appeal of A2 to the manufacturers is the greater stability in heat treating, hence the keeness to promote it; wouldn't we be being offered the better wear resistance of M2 otherwise? I gather the same benefit to the manufacturer might be claimed for cryo treatment too. Sheesh, are we easily manipulated, or what? :lol:

Cheers, Alf
I grant you that a lot of the force behind A2's growth is marketing. It sounds kind of cool -- A2 sounds much better than O1 or HCS -- and once one manufacturer started carrying it, the rest had to carry it or be perceived as "behind."

How much different are A2 and O1? Not a whole lot. The A2 is about 1/3 more wear resistant than O1. Logically, it should take 1/3 longer to sharpen and stay sharp 1/3 longer. But, of course, people will have an opinion and a preference.

A2 has become one of those things that people (me included) just assume has to be better because we've been told it's better. Those of us that compare A2 to HCS and quantify their strengths and weaknesses are in the minority. Even though we are a vocal bunch, I imagine that we represent between 1% to 5% of the woodworking community. Maybe if someone began promoting proper HCS in the magazines, we'd see a shift but everytime that a tool comes out in A2 or D2 or some other exotic matrix, it catches readers eyes.

From the manfacturers perspective, they really have to pick one kind of steel and stick with it. I imagine it'd be tough for Veritas or LN to offer buyers the option of A2 or HCS on the majority of their products. Let's face it, I'm not sure how many planes Rob Lee sells in a year, but it's not a super high volume kind of business. I'm sure he has to weigh the pros and cons of all of this. It's not something to jump into lightly. It also becomes overwhelming for the salespeople taking the orders and the consumers making the orders. Give the average person too many choices and they become overwhelmed, their eyes glaze over and they just turn the page. From the sales perspective, when you have a blade for a plane made with three different bevels in two steel formulations the possibility for making a mistake when shipping increases. Everytime you make a mistake in shipping, you lose money on the postage and risk damaging your reputation and/or losing a customer.

So, all the way around, it seems like tool manufacturers have decided to go with A2 and it's going to be a tough course to change.

Just my .02
 

MikeW

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Alf":11ixogjv said:
:-$ Sheesh, Dave. Don't put Rob off; he's planning to offer HCS.
Cheers, Alf
But is that because even Rob prefers HC to A2 at a personal/professional use level? I think so from what he has mentioned in the past.

Mike
 

Ian Dalziel

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Thanks for the ideas Alf...i'll give it some serious thought

Dave....not at the moment but maybe sometime soon

very interesting debate

Ian
 

Alf

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MikeW":709aqxjc said:
Alf":709aqxjc said:
:-$ Sheesh, Dave. Don't put Rob off; he's planning to offer HCS.
Cheers, Alf
But is that because even Rob prefers HC to A2 at a personal/professional use level? I think so from what he has mentioned in the past.
Well I assume he hasn't let the power go to his head quite so much that he's doing it just for his own benefit... :-k :lol: But yes, he did say as much at the show. Personally I don't care why, just when. :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

MikeW

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Well a little strongly worded...and I don't really care why, either. I just want them.

Of course, I only have 3 LV planes left. My LA block, LA smoother and the #6. Good intentions gone awry, my plan was to purchase the BU planes using some of the money from the sell-off. But it has gone all into making saws. Oh well.

And just to balance things out, all of my LN planes larger than a block plane are gone as well <g>. Oops. The #9 is still here. That one will stay.

Take care, Mike
 

ydb1md

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MikeW":1y58k4ns said:
And just to balance things out, all of my LN planes larger than a block plane are gone as well <g>. Oops. The #9 is still here. That one will stay.

Take care, Mike
Well, technically, the #9 is a block plane. ;)

That #9 is one pretty plane. If I had a need for one and they weren't so expensive . . . :roll:
 
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