Plane blade test

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
I did a "quick" search and didn't see any one post about James Wright plane blade test, but I think I saw someone comment in a thread, but I didn't go find it...

I am thinking some of you are fans of James Wright (Wood by Wright) on "The Tube"
He recently completed a test of 24 different blades and has a LOT of data.
Here is a link to the long-version video:

Some of you will remember a discussion from 2014 (2014, seriously?): https://ncwoodworker.net/forums/ind...el-versus-plain-tool-steel.52542/#post-480059
In my post #5 I suggest EXACTLY the test that James did...

Now the real reason for my post - While there is a lot of good information in the data, the one thing that disturbed me is he stated edge retention and hardness in his test had no correlation!
I assumed that edge retention would increase as the blade got harder.
I did post this question on his YT channel: My new question for our metallurgy friends out there is then what is the "Factor" or a test to determine edge retention if we negate hardness based on these data?!

I thought I would bring it over here for a discussion point.

What IS the factor or test that determines edge retention?
 
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Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Toughness or the ability to resist abrasion.
Also too hard makes the edge brittle and breaking, even microscopically, is as bad or worse than ware.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
Toughness or the ability to resist abrasion.
Also too hard makes the edge brittle and breaking, even microscopically, is as bad or worse than ware.
Agreed - so you are saying edge retention is more based on abrasion resistance. Is there a test for that? (like a hardness test)
 

jfynyson

Jeremy
User
I would think there could be an edge rollover test where the contact angle of the edge of the blade is measured as it relates to the measurement substrate and the amount of force required to roll the edge by a certain amount. Can microscopically measure contact angle and one should be able to measure change in angle as a function of force applied to that edge. It would be a destructive test where a lot of regrinding/rehoning would be required in order to get enough test replicates per blade type but would be data I'd be looking at if I were a tool mfg trying to one up my competition.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
I would think there could be an edge rollover test where the contact angle of the edge of the blade is measured as it relates to the measurement substrate and the amount of force required to roll the edge by a certain amount. Can microscopically measure contact angle and one should be able to measure change in angle as a function of force applied to that edge. It would be a destructive test where a lot of regrinding/rehoning would be required in order to get enough test replicates per blade type but would be data I'd be looking at if I were a tool mfg trying to one up my competition.
That would work, but a non-destructive test would be best and my thinking is if you could incorporate that into the test data he put together, you might so some slightly different trends... at least it would make for some more discussion...

Here is an article (only skimmed, not fully read yet) on abrasion testing: Understanding the Different Types of Abrasion Testing - The TABER Test

I know in my past life we used 4140 pre-hard for certain things (jigs and fixtures) and when I was at Gardner disc grinders we did specify 4140 AR (abrasion resistant) steel for some fixturing. I couldn't find what I was looking for, but here is a short interesting read:


Wear-resistant steel plate, also called abrasion-resistant or AR plate, is made from steel billets and comes in many grades. Alloys like carbon, manganese, nickel, chrome and boron are added in different proportions. The grades therefore have different mechanical and chemical properties that will produce different results in an end product.

Carbon plays a key role in making the wear plate steel abrasion- and wear-resistant because it increases the steel’s hardness and toughness. But too much carbon alloy will reduce the steel’s tensile strength, making it brittle and susceptible to cracking.

That’s why good steelmaking processes are vital. You need just the right “recipe” with a balance of alloying, heat treatment and chemistry to achieve the properties you want. (Wear-resistant steels)
 

Oka

Casey
Corporate Member
This is awesome, what makes it worse for me is I love geeky stat stuff. So this is like candy....... :D

One comment I have noticed, if you are used to a certain type of steel, you tend to like it more, not logical, but true
 

Oka

Casey
Corporate Member
In tech terms Modulus of Elasticity, the ability to deflect and return back to its original shape and withstand impact are really important. Just being hard is not a true determiner of performance and ease of use. One thing I have noticed is some of the hard steel chisels are my least favorite, do not like the feel of their cut. It just seems I lose connection with the feel of the edge cutting/shaving the wood. Maybe just me.

Toughness or the ability to resist abrasion.
Also too hard makes the edge brittle and breaking, even microscopically, is as bad or worse than ware.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
That’s why good steelmaking processes are vital. You need just the right “recipe” with a balance of alloying, heat treatment and chemistry to achieve the properties you want. (Wear-resistant steels)
I have always said the best steel is a perfectly balanced compromise of hard, tough, ease of sharpening, and size of carbide clusters. Any one of these outweighing the others by too much makes a poor cutting tool.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Off to search on it, but I can say, I love all my Hock irons. Only thing I can compare them to is the OEM Stanley, Bailey, Craftsman etc. Sharp and tough.
 

Graywolf

Board of Directors, Vice President
Richard
Corporate Member
Some interesting information I’ll have to take a closer look at it when I have more time. From what I could tell over all the data was relatively similar with the data he was comparing. I do question the correlation or lack of between hardness and edge retention. That said, and even he stated, more testing could be done to get more accurate data. I’m glad he did this, but you have to be cautious and not fall into the trap of “analysis paralysis” .
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Wow. Learned a LOT. Off to look at his other tests. Well. looked at chisels.
What I learned is my tools, are a big step up from junk ( what my Dad bought) but quite a step up can be had for a reasonable cost, and marginal more for huge price. Glad to see mine ate not on the bottom, but might buy a couple select tools in my most common go to sizes.

Learned a lot on screw drivers I have given up on fully made drivers and only use hex bits. HOLLOW ground for flats. Makita bits for Philips. Still use Milwaukee for T20 and T25 as I nave not analyzed or bought better ones. Hot a pile of magnet handles from e-bay

Found out the hard way why not to buy HF cutoff-wheels. Cheep but fly apart. After watching objective tests, bought a pack of about every Bosch jig saw blade. Use the Diablo for my saws-all. Similar huge differences is sand paper.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Darn. He sold me a scraper and rod. I have junk scrapers and one supposed to be good, so will compare. No wonder why my burnisher was so hard to use. ( little pointy polished jobber)
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Some interesting information I’ll have to take a closer look at it when I have more time. From what I could tell over all the data was relatively similar with the data he was comparing. I do question the correlation or lack of between hardness and edge retention. That said, and even he stated, more testing could be done to get more accurate data. I’m glad he did this, but you have to be cautious and not fall into the trap of “analysis paralysis” .
Yup. Sort: Crap, Good, Better, and too expensive. Same as with the chisels.
Some odd things in his glue test. I have use JB Weld for a lot of things, but usually for metal. I wonder if the wood being porous to moisture was the failure reason. I like the TB III for the longer working time, have switched to resin glue for many things.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
I do question the correlation or lack of between hardness and edge retention. That said, and even he stated, more testing could be done to get more accurate data. I’m glad he did this, but you have to be cautious and not fall into the trap of “analysis paralysis” .
I do NOT see any chance of “analysis paralysis” the results are VERY clear. and as tvrgeek pointed out - you can clearly see "Good, Better, Best" and the comparative costs. I am not surprised at the result "[...from mediocre tools a] "step up can be had for a reasonable cost, and marginal [step] more for huge price" I think this is typical of any hobby or equipment (thinking of stereo, camera, etc. equipment / tools)

I too had questioned the "the correlation or lack of between hardness and edge retention" (see my original post) "While there is a lot of good information in the data, the one thing that disturbed me is he stated edge retention and hardness in his test had no correlation!"

But as Mike and I discussed it further, I am coming around to the idea it is abrasion resistance, not hardness that is more important to keeping the edge.

BUT, the "REAL" solution is exactly what Mike pointed out; "I have always said the best steel is a perfectly balanced compromise of hard, tough, ease of sharpening, and size of carbide clusters. Any one of these outweighing the others by too much makes a poor cutting tool."

My question still stands - if you did a hardness test and an abrasion test - could you easily determine a "good" vs. "great" plane blade?
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
I have since viewed the video, Not completely but skimmed.
I agree that the PMV-11 is my pick for #4 smoothing plane and possibly #8 where great steel makes a big difference.

MY other planes are perfectly happy with standard Stanley original or replacement blades.
I may even look into the $6 blades for my #6 scrub plane but it still has a lot of life left on it.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
I have since viewed the video, Not completely but skimmed.
I agree that the PMV-11 is my pick for #4 smoothing plane and possibly #8 where great steel makes a big difference.

MY other planes are perfectly happy with standard Stanley original or replacement blades.
I may even look into the $6 blades for my #6 scrub plane but it still has a lot of life left on it.
I agree - but ALL of my Stanly blades have been performing and my "set" is all 1902 patent, I understand there is some collector value, especially if they are in a set, so I don't want to open the mouth when things seem to be working...

BUT, I was thinking of buying the $6 blades even though I don't really need one. Maybe a group buy is in order? I wish they had made some wider blades #6, #7 and #8 as those are SO stinking expensive!
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
I an now a fan of his.
Always good to have cheap junk around for when you need it. Roughing out a bit of knotty wood, I would use one of my old irons.
 

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