Steel yourself

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Joe Bottigliere 5 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #2613

    Bill Leonhardt
    Participant

    I’ve been looking at getting a shoulder plane from Lee Valley. I’m thinking I would get the “medium” size as the width is 11/16″ and I could use it to clean up 3/4″ dadoes. I tried it in Saratoga and it “feels” fine.

    There are three different blade materials I can order, so I’d like to get input (especially from you plane [plain?] gurus) on which one you would choose and why. The choices are:

    A2, O1, PM-V11 (+$10)

    Thanks, Bill

    Really, we needn’t discuss the merits of toothing planes here, steel not withstanding. 😉

  • #2614

    Charlie James
    Participant

    Bill, I have a few old record shoulder planes that were given to me, some of the best presents I’ve gotten. The blades are really old so there’s no cryogenic’s involved. They stay sharp a long time but there’s no abuse either, I’m only taking small shavings, cleaning things up. I don’t think there’s a need to spend extra. It can take quite a bit more effort to sharpen the harder it is so take that into account. As far as toothing planes, unfortunately there’s only about a half dozen users on this website, we gotta keep it interesting….I’d check lie-nelson for feel as well, there quality is hard to beat! Enjoy…

  • #2615

    Bill Leonhardt
    Participant

    Thanks Charlie. I hadn’t considered that the “premium” steel would be harder to sharpen, but that makes sense. And, as you say, it’s a plane that shouldn’t get too much abuse.

  • #2616

    Michael Mittleman
    Participant

    Bill, I have a Lie-Nielsen medium shoulder plane in A-2 steel. It is beautifully constructed and the blade remains sharp after much use. The only pain is the price @ $195! My principal regret is that I waited so long to purchase this tool.

  • #2617

    Joe Bottigliere
    Participant

    Bill,
    I have a couple of the L-V shoulder planes and I love them. It’s no surprise that I am a huge fan of Lie-Nielsen tools but I was never keen on their shoulder planes. That, of course, is all a matter of personal preference. As Charlie stated, these tools get little abuse (unless you cut your tennons REALLY fat). That said, the newer PM-V11 steel is claimed to be the ultimate compromise for holding a fine edge for a long time while requiring little effort to sharpen. I can not personally attest to that since I don’t have any of that steel. However, my personal favorite is the common O1, high carbon steel. It sharpens much easier than A1 (which I have) to a finer edge (it’s all about the crystals) and lasts long enough particularly in a shoulder plane or any similar tool.
    On the other hand, you could take the stance that such a tool does not require a super fine edge to do it’s job well and since it doesn’t get used as much it doesn’t require a lot of time sharpening. So, you could opt for the A1 which holds an edge longer (even longer under such conditions) and sharpen it even less frequently with adequate results.
    So, to sum up, it’s basically a coin toss (or two). I would base it on my skill at the stones and my willingness to sharpen. Or, go for the PM-V11 and let us try it.

  • #2618

    Daryl Rosenblatt
    Participant

    I have an old Clifton shoulder plane, and I have the original little Lie Nielsen shoulder plane back when it was a kit. When you need them they are great. Old time English woodworkers would tell you to build it right without them, so you don’t need them. I also think they had them and just snuck them out and used them when nobody was looking. They don’t make big cuts, so I think paying more for fancy steel is a waste of money.

    I have one of those cryogenically treated blades. I figured great, I would almost never have to sharpen it. And it’s true, I haven’t had to in several years. Of course, it took forever to sharpen in the first place. NWeeks actually. That cured me of wanting super duper high end blades like that. I don’t mean don’t get great steel, I love my Hock blades, but sharpening isn’t so difficult you need to avoid it. So I would go with the cheaper of the 3 price options. Lee Valley tools and steel is great in all their levels.

  • #2619

    Bill Leonhardt
    Participant

    Daryl, Joe & Mike: Thanks for your comments. Good, useful input. Charlie, too.

    Daryl: the A2 & O1 are the same price.

    Knowing I’m not so good with the stones (at this point, perhaps I’ll get better), I’ll most likelt opt for the O1.

    Bill

  • #2620

    Charlie James
    Participant

    Lapping the back of the blades is the hardest part of sharpening. I use the machine now, better than spending hours at the stone. I use the stones for the edge and finish with the leather strop. I find it makes all the difference and saves time between sharpening as well. When the chisel or plane edge gets a little dull I use the strop to bring the edge back for a little more use.

  • #2621

    Bill Leonhardt
    Participant

    Charlie,

    I have & use the “Work Sharp”. Love it.

    What machine do you use?

    Bill

  • #2622

    Charlie James
    Participant

    Bill, same one, work sharp. Took me a few years to work myself up to getting past wanting to do it all by hand. Mike Daum brought one to one of my Saturday sharpening workshops and I bought one from Bob that day…

  • #2623

    Joe Pascucci
    Moderator

    I agree, you cab’t beat the Work-sharp for chisels. The last time I used my water stones was at that same Saturday workshop.

  • #2624

    Charlie James
    Participant

    I lap all my tools with the worksharp but still sharpen all my edges with stones. I have extra plane blades as well as extra scrapers. If I’m in the middle of a project I’ll use them all before I go to the stones…

  • #2625

    Daryl Rosenblatt
    Participant

    I’ve heard hand tool junkies and sharpening mavens complain the WorkSharp doesn’t sharpen as well as oil or water stones do. They might be right, but it doesn’t matter. Because up to a point, sharp enough is all we have to aim for. My Japanese plane blades have to be sharpened by hand because the blades are tapered. But if I could I would use my WorkSharp. I’ll use any method that’s faster.

    And Bill, since you brought up shoulder planes, how about we bring ours in and compare how well they feel or work? I always say there is nothing more fun than whipping out a good tool.

  • #2626

    Charlie James
    Participant

    I’d rather use my stones for all my edges, I feel I get a better edge that way. Just personal preference and I can get an edge very quickly with my stones, no reason to get my worksharp out.

  • #2627

    Bill Leonhardt
    Participant

    Daryl,

    If you’re thinking about bringing the planes to next week’s round robin, I haven’t even placed the order yet.

    That being said, I may look over my plane collection and bring one or more in with some scrap wood.

    Bill

  • #2628

    Joe Bottigliere
    Participant

    For me, it depends on the tool and the status of the blade in deciding when to use the Worksharp rather than my water stones. If I’m putting a camber on a plane blade, I stick with the stones. Like Charlie, the strop is always the final step. Even after using 4000 grit micro mesh on the machine, I find a get a superior edge from the strop. I’ve tried the Worksharp strop but I really don’t like it. But that could just be me. If I doing extensive chisel work, I will simply strop the edge after a short time to keep it razor sharp and get back to work.
    If you haven’t yet pulled the trigger, Bill, I can bring in my LV shoulder plane for you to try at the round robin next Wednesday.

  • #2629

    Bill Leonhardt
    Participant

    Joe,

    I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. There is Father’s Day in June and my birthday late July. Following some hinting, I got an LV gift card for Father’s Day. Continued hinting might result in an LV gift card for my birthday. Either way, I will take the plunge at the end of July.

    I would very much like another look so, yes, please bring your shoulder plane on Wednesday. Thanks,

    Bill

  • #2630

    Joe Bottigliere
    Participant

    Hint all you like but you ain’t getting a birthday gift from me.
    But I will be happy to bring a shoulder plane or two.

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