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Thread: There's nothing wrong with A2

  1. #61
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    My experiments demonstrate that, when planing, a higher bed angle will be associated with more chipping on A2 steel than a low bed angle. Here the bevel angle is held constant.

    My interpretation is that, if planing with a BD plane (with a bed of 45 degrees and higher), increase the bevel angle to about 35 degrees. This is what David Charlesworth recommends as well.

    If you are using a BU plane (with a 12 degree bed), shooting end grain, then you can safely use a 25 degree bevel on your A2 blade. Obviously, higher bevel angles will simply beef up the edge further (this would be the case when planing face grain).

    Research support for the above: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ToolRev...tingPlane.html

    Chisels with A2 steel can get sharp enough for any task with bevels at 30 degrees. Edge holding is better than O1, but A2 is not on the same planet as Koyamaichi white steel or PM-V11.

    Research for the above: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ToolRev...sCompared.html

    I might add this: during pre-production research for Lee Valley's mortice chisels, when comparing their A2 and PM-V11 steels, I gave up testing their limits as both just held an edge beyond the limits of the test situation. Secondary bevel angle here was 35 degrees.

    Please note that these are my opinions based on my research, which is as objective as I could get. I stand behind these results and conclusions.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 02-21-2019 at 5:17 AM.

  2. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm Schweizer View Post
    Personally, I prefer the X19 steel, which is compact and aerodynamic, and was a lot of fun back in my college days. Recently I've been using some vintage RX7, which is a rotary tool steel, and some BMWM3 German steel. I found it much better and used less oil than the XJ2 British steel. Of course there's the Japanese GXR750- lighter weight, faster, but much more dangerous. If you're wanting an American steel, you can go with the old GT350, or a newer GT500. I prefer the classic, but the prices on eBay have skyrocketed. Anyway, I'm saving to one day have the ultimate steel of them all: The 427AC. Old, but still a classic. There are a lot of good modern copies of it these days, as original 427AC steel is very rare and very expensive.
    Malcol, I prefer vintage GT40 steel myself, though there is an excellent modern formulation.

    I use A2 with a hollow grind and shapton ceramic stones. It gets nicely sharp for me and any deficiencies there are because Im learning to freehand. But I used a Veritas Mk2 for a long time with no issues.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  3. #63
    Thanks Phil, Brian and Derek. Both my blades are unmarked and I bought the plane in ~2010. Iíll assume theyíre O1 (and maybe W1).

    Best,
    Chris

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    Malcol, I prefer vintage GT40 steel myself, though there is an excellent modern formulation.

    I use A2 with a hollow grind and shapton ceramic stones. It gets nicely sharp for me and any deficiencies there are because Im learning to freehand. But I used a Veritas Mk2 for a long time with no issues.
    Pretty much the same as what I do Fred for all modern tool steels, except I use Spyderco stones, going from medium to fine to ultra-fine (after a hollow grind). The last few strokes on the ultra-fine (all free hand), I raise the angle a hair (your choice of brunette, blonde or red), and take a final couple strokes.

    For my vintage tools, it's a hollow grind, then a Washita and then a translucent Arkansas.
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by david charlesworth View Post
    Jessica,


    I have been producing exceptionally sharp edges for a great deal longer than you.

    David Charlesworth
    I was trained to sharpen freehand in 1962. I have been producing exceptionally sharp edges for even longer. So what? If one person is more sensitive, more perceptive and more disciplined, his edges are likely better. It is a cheap "trick" to dismiss someone's criticisms because they are younger.

    Frankly, when you write something like "There is nothing wrong with A2", after many have testified to the contrary, you invite criticism.

    Added: This post was edited by a moderator this morning seventeen minutes after it appeared. However, nothing I wrote was changed. Apparently what I quoted from Charlesworth was too vile to be repeated and so it was removed. The offensive language still appears in the Charlesworth post that I quoted.
    Last edited by Warren Mickley; 02-23-2019 at 6:02 PM. Reason: explanation

  6. #66
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    Can you imagine the conversations that were had when the best edge tools were made of bronze? A2 would have seemed like a miracle.
    It's wood dust. Saw dust would suggest a problem.

  7. #67

    A2- maybe not wrong but a limitation

    Steel companies provide technical performance data on the steel they sell. Studying these data enable prediction of performance. The A2 dos not retain toughness at high hardness as well a O1. Not the direction to go for a chisel. Lack of toughness lead to chipping. Lee Valley PMV11 excels in retaining toughness at high hardness. Other steels are even better(CPM 3V), but would be harder to sharpen.

  8. #68
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    I’ve never quite understood why manufactured laminated blades are still commonly available in Japan but aren’t a ready made option in the US. They’re inexpensive and very good, I’m sure they would cost a very similar amount to the current crop of alloy steel blades.

    Given that A2 is basically used because it is easily heat treated for mass manufacturing, it would seem an excellent solution to use pre-laminated irons.

    Stanley provided laminated blades into the early 20th century, probably up until WWII. One if my friends brought a plane over for me to sharpen, it was not exceptionally old and it had a laminated iron. It sharpened beautifully.

    A technology still being produced during that time period should not be difficult to reproduce now, and obviously isn’t given that Hitachi does it.

    I modified my LN #7 for one of these blades and it was the best thing I did to that plane. I prefer it to the O1 iron in my #4. O1 is ok but laminated plain carbon or mild alloy is better still.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  9. #69
    Public Service Announcement: I just discovered how to add someone to my "ignore List". Click on their profile, then choose add to ignore list. Their name will still appear indicating that they posted something, but the text will be deleted. I just tried it and it seems to work.
    Last edited by Prashun Patel; 02-23-2019 at 10:12 AM.

  10. #70
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    I guess the only thing missing from the thread at this point is a list of people doing jaw-dropping work with A2, and by extension probably loaded into L-N tools, making a living with it and them, etc., etc. I'm fairly sure it would be a long list.

    While I'm not a fan of it, the premise in the OP's post is factually true for all intents. There really isn't anything wrong with it, certainly nothing that results in demonstrably inferior work, or that it's so difficult to deal with it might impact the profitability of a piece made in a professional setting.

    I suppose the risk is that somebody shows up in the thread and posts pictures or video of a masterpiece or pieces, made with A2 cutters, and captioned "What's the Problem?" And then by extension somebody asks to see pictures of a similarly difficult masterpiece that supposedly would only have been possible if done in 01. Sounds a little absurd when you think about it this way. And it probably is. The point is, it'll work, and the OP was only providing useful information on dealing with a few of its eccentricities.
    Last edited by Charles Guest; 02-23-2019 at 11:37 AM.

  11. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Gaudio View Post
    Public Service Announcement: I just discovered how to add someone to my "ignore List". Click on their profile, then choose add to ignore list. Their name will still appear indicating that they posted something, but the text will be deleted. I just tried it and it seems to work.
    I'm just not gonna ask the obvious question Phil....
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    Can you imagine the conversations that were had when the best edge tools were made of bronze? A2 would have seemed like a miracle.
    With the sharpening equipment available at the time it would have been a miracle if they could have gotten it to a workable edge.

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

  13. #73
    Ha: lest we get shown the door of this forum!

  14. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Mickley View Post
    I was trained to sharpen freehand in 1962. I have been producing exceptionally sharp edges for even longer. So what? If one person is more sensitive, more perceptive and more disciplined, his edges are likely better. It is a cheap "trick" to dismiss someone's criticisms because they are younger.

    Frankly, when you write something like "There is nothing wrong with A2", after many have testified to the contrary, you invite criticism.
    I saw no criticism, but views and opinions -- some supporting, some disagreeing; some expressed in a neutral tone, some in strong and sharp tone.

    I see nothing wrong with the heading David uses; it is firm and inviting. I like it. It did encourage a lot of responses, did not it?

    On the A2 blades, I don't think I treat them any differently from the rest (O1, PMV11 or M2) in my sharpening routine. The importance of steel, angle, and sharpening technique has been blown out of proportion by many or for too long a time. For example, in researching for his article, Chris Schwarz found over two dozen ways (!) of sharpening a card scraper.

    Simon
    Last edited by Simon MacGowen; 02-23-2019 at 3:41 PM.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    Iíve never quite understood why manufactured laminated blades are still commonly available in Japan but arenít a ready made option in the US. Theyíre inexpensive and very good, Iím sure they would cost a very similar amount to the current crop of alloy steel blades.

    Given that A2 is basically used because it is easily heat treated for mass manufacturing, it would seem an excellent solution to use pre-laminated irons.

    Stanley provided laminated blades into the early 20th century, probably up until WWII. One if my friends brought a plane over for me to sharpen, it was not exceptionally old and it had a laminated iron. It sharpened beautifully.

    A technology still being produced during that time period should not be difficult to reproduce now, and obviously isnít given that Hitachi does it.

    I modified my LN #7 for one of these blades and it was the best thing I did to that plane. I prefer it to the O1 iron in my #4. O1 is ok but laminated plain carbon or mild alloy is better still.
    Brian, this is very interesting and something that is in line with my interests. I remember a short discussion on Insta where Oliver Sparks the plane maker mentioned to someone that a British company tried to recreate the laminated plane irons but then had huge issues with wrapping and even more warping during grinding. I remember chuckling a little because the solution is simple enough in Kanna irons made by blacksmiths, use the ura design and as for the bending along the length of the tool; the black smith pre-bends the other way. The same thing is done with knives etc. I remember thinking there is no way that factory is going to have a smith pre-bending and straightening irons by eye. My chuckle faded as those Tsunesaburo irons popped into my mind. I have never heard complaints about warpage in those, and they look very machine finished. How Stanley and Tsunesaburo manufacture these thin irons at a mass manufacturing level befuddles me. The thin part is really what befuddles me, when you get the steel down to that slim slim Stanley style, the mild body isn't very resistant to the warping during hardening.

    I had predicted this when I was making vintage tapered irons just a short while ago; these were very small, 1-1/4" width. Because of their width they were quite slim in thickness too. Only one iron was satisfactory for HT (trying to forge in minus 21 Celsius not including windchill creates some problems). I adjusted for some extra warpage but the iron curved and bellied out so much that I was shocked. It ignored the pre bends going the other way, and the amount of belly the other way I had put in; a little more than in a kanna iron was completely for naught. The carbon face was so bellied out I could've been holding a laminated scoop of sorts. I'm rather good at coaxing things to flat so I did, and it is easy enough by hand eye, clamp, tempering and a hammer with copper shims to adjust these irons. (though in the end I did put a crack in it when I bent it one way too far and then back the other while the iron was cold). I would be amazed if any factory did that with those Stanley style irons. My theory I've just thought of is they can get the irons laminated very very neatly, so that the high carbon layer is the same thickness throughout all the irons. One single die set that presses the irons to a predetermined curve and belly and then off to the HT, where because of the uniformly thick high carbon layers, the irons all warp back to relatively flat. A session at the surface grinder, being careful to mind the tension in the iron and maintaining that tension without grinding too much or too little on either face gives that final surface, or a lapping machine as the final step.

    There is no escaping warping in these irons, it is the nature of the HC vs the mild. So we prebend the tool. This is why a Kuro ura kanna is prized, grinding and adjusting the kanna is usually needed after the HT.

    I suspect the knowledge to make these in factory has died out a little in the western world. One would have to make and sell a lot (like a lotttttt) of irons to sell them at a price near solid irons. Solid irons are literally just Water jet, CNC some holes and slots, and HT, and surface grind/ lap. Throwing laminated tools in there, a whole new crop of steps and challenges. Brian; did Stan ever tell you what happened with his plans for laminated western irons? Perhaps he could be enlightening. Though I do remember him saying there would be a slight ura etc, which leads me to think that these were smaller scale blacksmith made items.

    IMG_4321.jpg IMG_4329.jpg
    The little iron I was working on. Photos are upside down, but at this point I've given up trying to flip every photo in preparation for this site. Apologies for the clay still on the iron, I'm lazy.

    Also I've realized this has nothing to do with A2. oops.

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