Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 21

Thread: O1 got an unfair bad rap.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    US Virgin Islands
    Posts
    3,528
    Blog Entries
    6

    O1 got an unfair bad rap.

    I recently posted looking for some O1 steel chisels. I found a set made by Andrew Kimmons at Kimmons Hand Tools. They arrived today and they are wonderful. I want to first say buy from him with confidence. I love these and the handles are perfect- long enough for paring, yet fat enough for striking.

    My post, however, is in defense of the O1 steel. It got a bad rap due to it “needing more frequent sharpening.” I, myself, many years ago, went with the A2 Lie-Nielsen chisels because I didn’t want to spend a lot of time sharpening. Now that I am older, wiser, and more experienced, give me O1 chisels any day. The steel takes a sharper edge than A2 or PMV11. It literally gets sharper. It is to me very noticeable, but I do a lot of paring, so maybe I am sensitive to minute differences. It does NOT require constant sharpening- just a few more touch-ups here or there. Also, it is easier to sharpen. That is a big plus to me. I love sharpening things, but I also prefer to get back to work. I keep a fine stone on my bench when working to quickly swipe a chisel over. I would rather have easier to sharpen and takes a better edge over harder to sharpen but have to sharpen less frequently.

    To be fair, A2 isn’t much more difficult to sharpen. PMV11 I literally groan when I have to sharpen. O1, however, is quick and takes a fine edge.

    BD44548E-4DDD-4E30-8820-89853D587C9A.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    5,522
    01 for me, and the woods I work too!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
    Posts
    23,158
    Blog Entries
    1
    Another vote for O1, almost all of my chisels are O1. A few of my plane blades are A1 or A2. There are also a few PMv-11 blades in the shop. The PM seems less trouble for me to sharpen than the A1 & 2.

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

  4. #4
    I have some O1 carving tools from North Bay Forge in Western Washington State. They are hand forged and take a very good edge. I strop often, using Al Oxide on leather. Don't need to visit the stones very often.
    The O1 carving tools from Pinewood Forge are very nice also. They sell the blades, if you want to make the handles. I did.

    Best,
    Rick

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    97
    +1 here. I have made a few blades, too, from internet purchased O1. Super easy to make anything that I need. I also especially like that I can get a really good edge with just the Washita and green compounded strop.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    US Virgin Islands
    Posts
    3,528
    Blog Entries
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by scott lipscomb View Post
    +1 here. I have made a few blades, too, from internet purchased O1. Super easy to make anything that I need. I also especially like that I can get a really good edge with just the Washita and green compounded strop.
    I really need to do this, but I never have time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Indy
    Posts
    984
    Lie-Nielsen reportedly had problems with inconsistency in their O-1 steel, however that might have been from the manufacturing perspective. Certainly their customers would still buy O-1 if they offered it. I have some chisels and plane blades from them in the 0-1 alloy, and I find that a keen edge is easier to achieve than with the A-2 versions of the same tools, so I will use the A-2 for coarser work and the O-1 for finish work or paring. By doing that I can go longer between sharpening sessions and perhaps get better results. To me the real advantage of O-1 is the variety of sharpening media that can be used, whereas the A-2 pretty much requires waterstones for best results.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    The Sunny Southeast
    Posts
    607

    Not all 0-1 is equal

    If one buys the cheapest 0-1 tool steel they can source then you will end up with an inferior product. Carbon content can vary widely. Some of the cheaper stuff can have carbon content as low as .72%, whereas a good domestic 0-1 tool steel can have carbon content of 1% or more. As you can imagine there would potentially be quite a bit of difference in the tools made from those steels.

    Then of course there are issues with proper heat treating. Hardening is pretty much the same with most oil hardening tools steels even though it pays to read the manufacturer's specs. Some do vary but the most difference is in the tempering specs. Also the tempering properties could be different based on the end use.

    For instance you might want to leave a plane iron slightly harder than say a chisel that would be used or chopping.

    I've heard recommendations for tempering to 400 degrees for an hour. If you're making a chopping chisel using that tempering spec will most likely leave you with a chippy chisel. If tempered properly one should be able to pare with a chisel, then chop with it and then be able to go back and pare with it. Most likely if it's tempered at 400 degrees for one 60 minute tempering cycle then I doubt it will pare well after it's used or chopping.

    Presco 0-1 from the Marshall mill in PA. recommends it be tempered at 450 degrees to achieve a hardness of RC 58 which would probably be a more reasonable hardness for a chisel. A chisel blade that is of high quality steel and is normalized twice before hardening and then goes thru 2 tempering cycles stands a chance of being a good tool. Otherwise you may end up with a tool that gets a bad rap.

    Ron

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    2,676
    Not all O-1 is Equal.

    This is one of the best comments that I have read. It is important to understand that all tool steels are made to a range of chemistry. These variations can lead to some large differences in properties. This is also true of the processing of the steels.

    It is very easy to have two lots of O-1 perform very differently in terms of edge sharpness or chipping. The same goes for A-2 or other tool steels.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Brese View Post




    I've heard recommendations for tempering to 400 degrees for an hour. If you're making a chopping chisel using that tempering spec will most likely leave you with a chippy chisel. If tempered properly one should be able to pare with a chisel, then chop with it and then be able to go back and pare with it. Most likely if it's tempered at 400 degrees for one 60 minute tempering cycle then I doubt it will pare well after it's used or chopping.
    I have some chisels that were tempered at 375. They do not chip when chopping. I do prefer chisels that are more highly tempered because they are easier to sharpen.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Fairbanks AK
    Posts
    653
    I like O1 because it is easy to sharpen. I like A2 (at high bevel angles) because I don't have to sharpen as often. I have my first PMV11 iron on back order at Lee Valley.

    If I like PMV11 half as much as some of you do I will get a spokeshave blade in PMV11. Usually when I sit down at my shave horse with my spokeshave I bring the sharpening gear over so I can resharpen (my O1 spokeshave iron) without having to get off the horse.

    I don't have nearly the experience of many users here, but the often expressed opinion that O1 can take a finer edge than A2 seems to be true in my shop. I am basing my judgement on the feel of the wood off the tool, not taking the edge to an electron microscope.

    I _think_ I read a Tom L-N interview a few years ago that was already a few years old then where Tom said the contractor who was doing the tempering on the L-N O1 product retired and they just haven't been able to replace the operator doing the tempering. I think I read it on the internet so it must be true. I love my L-N tools, but A2 is not my favorite steel.

    At the end of the day, ease of sharpening and edge retention are important to all of us. The "Holy Grail" if you will is a steel that is easy to sharpen and holds its edge forever. Until then, we discuss.

    For now, on my bench planes I like O1. If PMV11 lives up to its hype, I will get a spokeshave iron in PMV11. If I need a tongue and groove plane someday I will likely order from Tom and deal with A2.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    7,931
    Scott, PM-V11 really does live up to its "hype". As fine an edge as good high carbon steel, and twice as enduring.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm Schweizer View Post
    My post, however, is in defense of the O1 steel. It got a bad rap due to it “needing more frequent sharpening.”
    O1 does simply not have a bad rap, no need to defend it.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Brese View Post
    If one buys the cheapest 0-1 tool steel they can source then you will end up with an inferior product. Carbon content can vary widely. Some of the cheaper stuff can have carbon content as low as .72%, whereas a good domestic 0-1 tool steel can have carbon content of 1% or more. As you can imagine there would potentially be quite a bit of difference in the tools made from those steels.

    Then of course there are issues with proper heat treating. Hardening is pretty much the same with most oil hardening tools steels even though it pays to read the manufacturer's specs. Some do vary but the most difference is in the tempering specs. Also the tempering properties could be different based on the end use.

    For instance you might want to leave a plane iron slightly harder than say a chisel that would be used or chopping.

    I've heard recommendations for tempering to 400 degrees for an hour. If you're making a chopping chisel using that tempering spec will most likely leave you with a chippy chisel. If tempered properly one should be able to pare with a chisel, then chop with it and then be able to go back and pare with it. Most likely if it's tempered at 400 degrees for one 60 minute tempering cycle then I doubt it will pare well after it's used or chopping.

    Presco 0-1 from the Marshall mill in PA. recommends it be tempered at 450 degrees to achieve a hardness of RC 58 which would probably be a more reasonable hardness for a chisel. A chisel blade that is of high quality steel and is normalized twice before hardening and then goes thru 2 tempering cycles stands a chance of being a good tool. Otherwise you may end up with a tool that gets a bad rap.

    Ron
    Ron: Thanks for that enlightening writeup! Phil

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerome Andrieux View Post
    O1 does simply not have a bad rap, no need to defend it.
    Ain't that the truth,

    ken

Posting Permissions

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