Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Have I told you lately

How much I dislike thick irons in planes? I have a LN #51 Shooting plane. It is a very good shooting plane and I was fortunate enough to have a O1 cutter in it. The other good thing about it is it doesn't need sharpening often and it needs a straight edge. If it did need sharpening more than every once in awhile I think I would pay someone to take it away. I can't imagine what it would be like keeping a A2 cutter sharp for the #51.

What brought this rant on was of course needing to sharpen the 51's iron last night. Even with a CBN wheel on the Tormek setting the primary bevel took forever. Damn there can be a lot of steel to remove. I had waited too long and didn't grind pass the wear bevel, so removing the burr didn't happen, I had to either go back and grind some more on the primary bevel or work some on the back. I decided to work the back then go back to the stones to redo the secondary bevel. Once that was done the burr came off with just a "pull" on the finish stone.

What should have been a 5 minute or less job, ended up taking most of an hour.

Now for the crazy guy yelling at you:

LV and Hock irons are "thick" as well but still much thinner than LN irons. The LN planes are a marvel of workmanship but I find I use them less and less just because of the thick irons. They are hard to shape and sharpen. LV and Hock iron can be used in LN planes but to do so requires modifying the adjustment prong and even though they are thinner they are still "thick" and harder to shape and sharpen. I would love to love the LV planes, I have one of the old style and one of the new style and they are both very nice planes but....there is that damn but....I have never mastered the iron adjustment, it just doesn't work for me, I have to remove my hand from the tote to adjust depth making it hard to do on the fly.

What I would like is a lite Bailey plane made to LN or LV standards with a modern but thin O1 cutter. I would pay the note to tote and I expect others would as well. Hell I'd be happy with just someone making good thin O1 replacement irons for Stanley planes. The best I've found are from Tools from Japan but they are not available in all sizes.

OK the meds are starting to work, I'll go back to the shop and shut up for now.



  1. Agreed, i dont care at all for A2 blades neither, a pain to sharpen. Much, much prefer good old carbon steel O1, which also is hard to beat for taking a wicked sharp edge. Similarly in my kitchen, our long favorite kitchen knife is a New Old Stock 1933 French knife that LV unearth years ago (90s)
    Love the edge on it, but of course being carbon steel, you jave to religiously keep it clean or it will darken quickly. It beats my modern SS knives any day, and i love the handle shape. LV made a new modern copy of it, which i bought, but the steel is more modern SS and it never became a favorite and I gave it away....
    Long live good old carbon steel edge tools

    Bob, who woke up to snow this AM...arhhhhhhgggg

  2. Add me to the list of someone making that plane or just the iron.
    Bob, no snow here at all.

  3. Ralph,

    I know it will not happen.....Too many people have been sold a bill of goods that heavy is better and thick is best. Good marketing, and there are a hell of a lot more folks out there with more money than knowledge than the other way around.


  4. Bob,

    I have some white paper Japanese knifes I feel the same about.

    BTW, mid-90s yesterday, I expect today it will be in the same range or higher. Summer is here, our Saguaro is blooming, the Palo Verde has been filling the pool with flowers for a couple of weeks now, and the Dove are doing it on the patio fence....Nope, last I looked no snow in the gully Summer must be here :-).


  5. Long range snow balls coming your way... :-)