Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Plane float hardness

  1. #1

    Plane float hardness

    I've seen more than one source suggest that plane floats were traditionally made from unhardened steel, worn out files, etc. Does anyone have any experience with just how soft you can get away with? Perhaps annealed O1 or A2? (Obviously the tool would have a very limited lifespan.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
    Posts
    18,326
    Blog Entries
    1
    Worn out files are worn, not soft. Of course they could be set in a fire to anneal them. By the same token after they are given new teeth they could be heated and quenched to harden them.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Calgary AB
    Posts
    124
    Sure you can get away with using unhardened even mild steel. And it’ll even work for a few minutes. But if you’re going to go to the trouble of making one then might as well make one which doesn’t have you filing all day and let’s you float more. If you’re going to spend the money on O1 or A2 then might as well get it hardened. Though I wouldn’t suggest buying A2 just for floats unless you already have it on hand. Even then unless you can HT it, it’s a bit of splurging.

    An old file is a good place to start. Edge floats are easy to make. Take the file and draw the temperature to around 52 Rockwell. Theoretically you should be going to temperatures near/above 650 Fahrenheit. But that’s assuming the file had a near perfect HT and got it’s max martensite.... anyways sneak up on it. A torch will do. Be careful, and let the colour form evenly. Go for a deep blue first and then hit it with a file to test. If it’s something you think you can file teeth into then stop. If not then keep going. Again sneak into it. You don’t want to get it too soft where you’ve just wasted propane and good steel. You’ll know because the steel works like butter and the teeth dull like butter. Also you can choose to leave the float harder. You can always draw the temper a little more later. Once you’ve gotten to where it’s acceptably hard enough but also soft enough to work then take the file to some PSA sandpaper on granite or a diamond plate, whatever you got; and abrade the faces of the file until the file teeth are nice and smooth. The way to tell is really go at it with your nail; it should not touch it. Sandpaper is nice because some abrasive gets loose and really dulls things down. And you need those two faces dull, an edge float that is abrading on two faces at once is no good. Now mark out the angle and hacksaw it out. Fresh blade is always nice. File the angle nice smooth straight and flat. Then mark and hacksaw and file the teeth out. I actually cut the teeth into the existing edge of the file for one of my floats. Worked fine. Didn’t even bother to file that edge “safe”, after chasing the teeth to level all was well. So if that’s easier for you then go for it. For really good photos on this go to Steve Voigt’s Instagram and have a look. Lots of photos on the cutting teeth part. A few photos of HTing O1 floats too if you want to go that route.

    Good luck!

    Vincent
    Last edited by Vincent Tai; 12-07-2018 at 1:33 PM. Reason: I wrote 650 Celcius instead of Fahrenheit. Oops. Hopefully no one actually went and heated their steel to that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Calgary AB
    Posts
    124
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Worn out files are worn, not soft. Of course they could be set in a fire to anneal them. By the same token after they are given new teeth they could be heated and quenched to harden them.

    jtk
    No need to anneal, just draw the temper to where you’re comfortable like a saw’s. It is quite workable with hacksaws and files then. And the state of the steel will be quite nice especially if the file was a good one. You know the HT was good then, and all you are doing is drawing the temper. It becomes a bit hard to recreate that nice HT the file had with a hairdryer and wood fire attempt. Also lots more effort and risk. Even with a full blown array of proper HT équipement i would just draw the temper of the file to where I want it and go from there. Steel around a sawplate’s hardness is not a challenge to work with.

    Vincent

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    2,321
    Tyler; you may find the process that Jim Hendricks followed of interest.

    http://www.ktproductions.co.uk/blog/?page_id=233
    Last edited by Stewie Simpson; 12-07-2018 at 4:59 AM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Tyler Bancroft View Post
    I've seen more than one source suggest that plane floats were traditionally made from unhardened steel, worn out files, etc. Does anyone have any experience with just how soft you can get away with? Perhaps annealed O1 or A2? (Obviously the tool would have a very limited lifespan.)
    As Vincent suggested, there is no need to anneal. And it is not a good idea because hardening something like this would be no picnic. So usually we temper the steel to where it is similar to saws, then file in the teeth, and we can then sharpen the teeth also with the file because they are somewhat softer than chisels and the like. So this is still hardened steel, just somewhat more tempered than what we usually have for edge tools.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •