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Thread: Plane blades and chip breakers.

  1. #1

    Plane blades and chip breakers.

    I while ago I bought a PM-V11 blade from Lee Valley, actually last winter. I mounted it in my Keen Kutter K series #4 C plane. I used the original, what I call chip braker and what LV calls a cap iron. I sharpened the blade but, I haven't been able to get to my bench to really check out the new blade. I also bought a plane for parts, with had Hock iron in it. I have a Keen Kutter #5 C that it can go into.

    So here I am with two after market blades and I am wondering if a couple of new cap iron from LV would make a big enough difference over the standard Stanley model to warrant the purchase. Trust me when I say that I know quite a bit about rehabbing planes and that I also know about fitting the chip breakers to the blades, So there is no reason to go there.

    I am asking those who have purchased new cap irons if there is enough difference in performance to warrant the purchase. I have both after market and original blades to decide as far as blades go. I also regrind the bodies so you do not have to go there as far as the body being Flat, Here also a picture of a Keen Kutter K series 4 1/2 and a Bedrock 605 round side. Same plane, different casting numbers. So you can understand why I collect Keen Kutter K series planes.

    DSC03610.JPG DSC03614.JPG DSC03040.JPG

    I know the decision to buy or not is mine, but being on a fixed income it doesn't hurt to do research first. And for the record here is the bench over the winter which ended in the middle to last part of May, that I has as yet to get completely cleaned off


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Does Lee Valley have free shipping on now? If so, PM me your shipping address and I'll have one sent to you for the 4-1/2. I would rather have your in hand opinion than try to sort it out of other opinions. Not that it really matters much to me, as stock irons and cap's do all I need for them to, but I rarely work extremely hard figured wood, so just for curiosity and good information.

  3. #3
    I do not have the 4 1/2 anymore, but I do have a K7 that one could be used on. I do not understand (I'll have one sent to you for the 4-1/2). I have always been a supporter of stock irons and stuff also so I am just trying to find out if all the bus has any validity.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Longview WA
    Blog Entries
    Not being familiar with LV chip breaker/cap irons I can only give my opinion based on Hock chip breakers vs Stanley originals.

    The big benefit of a new chip breaker is not having to correct what ever has happened to the original over the last century.

    Other than that, the wood being worked doesn't seem to notice any difference.

    My Hock chip breakers did get a bit of a secondary bevel to improve their performance.

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

  5. #5
    The purpose of the cap iron is to control tearout. The bevel of the cap iron is rounded, not flat and meets the iron at a steep angle. The cap iron is placed various distances from the edge of the plane iron, depending on the thickness of the shaving and the quality of the timber.

    The Lee Valley cap iron was designed for workers who don't know how to use a cap iron. It has a flat bevel which meets the plane iron at a low angle, rendering it ineffective. It would take some work to make it effective. The cap iron you have is probably the better choice.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Perth, Australia
    ALL chipbreakers from manufacturers are essentially the same design. There is no point singling out Veritas when Lie Nielson and others are the same. When pushed close to the edge of the blade, straight out of the box, they will not work well. If they are not to be used this way, then they all work just fine.

    There are two factors which need to be addressed, and these are easily remedied: the leading edge of the chipbreaker comes ground at 25 degrees, and there is too little spring in the steel to keep the leading edge flat against the blade. A good starting point is to grind a 50 degree leading edge, just like a secondary bevel on a plane. It does not need to be more than 1-2 mm in width (yes, I know Warren that you prefer 80 degrees and a rounded leading edge, but there are pros and cons to the angle, and the straight vs rounded design has yet to be decided - I have both and the differences are negligible).

    Tom, regarding Veritas PM-V11 vs Hock O1 or A2 steel, it may come down to the wood you work. PM-V11 is far more abrasion-resistant than the other two, and still sharpens like a good O1 owing to the fine grain composition of PM steel. O1 steel is less micro-chip resistant than A2, but the latter holds the edge better.

    For wood I generally work, PM-V11 is my preferred choice. However, I also have O1 (e.g. hammered Clifton plane blades) and A2 steels (generally LN plane blades), and they do a fine job. Keep them (all) sharp and the results will be good in Bailey designs. The O1 will work sweetly, but need re-sharpening long before that of a PM-V11.

    Stanley #3 with Clifton blade

    A factor to account for with the thicker blades - compared with the original thin Stanley blades - is that they are better prepared with a hollow grind (my choice) or a secondary bevel. Also, make sure that the blades you get fit the plane. The main issue here is the yoke, which needs to be thick enough to enter the chipbreaker through the plane blade.

    Regards from Perth

    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 06-12-2022 at 9:06 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Fairbanks AK
    Blog Entries
    Tom, I am confident you know enough about restoring planes to not go there. I have a couple or three aftermarket irons in my fleet, all are doing fine with OEM Bailey chip breakers. The big issue up here for me is corrosion on the cap irons. I have two (cap irons) that I can think of that will probably have to be replaced in my lifetime. I have them both working 'good enough' for now, but they aren't ideal because of rust pitting on the nose the chip is supposed to slide over.

    The aftermarket irons are thicker at the front where the cap iron cinches down, but the iron are also thicker at the screw (might need to back the screw out a bit) and also thicker where the cam locks down. The new thicker iron ends up invisible to the cap iron, at least on Baileys.

    Edit: I went and looked. My replacement irons from Toronto are all uniform thickness end to end. Some of my Bailey irons, esp the sweethearts, are a bit thicker at the tempered end compared to the other end with the logo on it. Toronto, pretty much 0.100 end to end. Sweethearts maybe 0.085 at the edge and 0.080 at the logo end. I have not had to adjust the height of my stone when honing the back side of cap irons to mate with plane irons, just back the screw out a smidge. Tom is detailed enough he may want to change the angle he homes on the back of a chip breaker, but still and all if an OE chipbreaker could be made to work well with a factory iron I haven't had any trouble getting them to work with thicker replacement irons.
    Last edited by Scott Winners; 06-14-2022 at 10:57 PM.

  8. #8
    I wanted to find out for my self so I got one. I combined it with the PM-V11. I went with Lee Valley because of the blade. I did find it easier to set than the standard Stanley one. I used it on some Hard Maple and I was pleasantly surprised. I havesome more planning today so I am going to switch back to the Stanley and give it ago on the same wood. The iron is new to me so I will have to see how long it stays sharp also. I will let you know.

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