Vintage plane with modern blades

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
MessyTendon
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Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by MessyTendon » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:22 am

From an economic standpoint, I have old Stanley and Bailey planes...so I figured, it would be more cost effective to buy a well tempered modern steel...The standard tool steel options seem like great value, where as the more super steel oriented plane blades, not so much.

What do ya'll think? My vintage blades are all well used and need to be completely trued up and sharpened. Of course I can do it, and have stones, but would it not make more sense to buy better blades that are more or less plug and play.

I really want to enjoy the vintage blades...but it seems like a modern blade is just that much better.

Do any of you folks actually use antique blades? Will an antique blade, be sufficient to shave glorious curls of hardwoods? Surely they can, but wouldn't the modern tempered blade retain the ability longer and just be worth the initial expense?

I don't think I want to buy new planes, rather, I'm thinking it would be an incredibly value to simply purchase new blades/irons for all you old timers :)

simonm
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Re: Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by simonm » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:42 am

I can't recall a plane thread here or certainly not any time recently. Mimf is likely has more people with PAS. For replacement blades I guess Ron Hock or Veritas would be the places to look.

Marshall Dixon
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Re: Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by Marshall Dixon » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:08 am

MessyTendon wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:22 am
From an economic standpoint, I have old Stanley and Bailey planes...so I figured, it would be more cost effective to buy a well tempered modern steel...The standard tool steel options seem like great value, where as the more super steel oriented plane blades, not so much.

What do ya'll think? My vintage blades are all well used and need to be completely trued up and sharpened. Of course I can do it, and have stones, but would it not make more sense to buy better blades that are more or less plug and play.

I really want to enjoy the vintage blades...but it seems like a modern blade is just that much better.

Do any of you folks actually use antique blades? Will an antique blade, be sufficient to shave glorious curls of hardwoods? Surely they can, but wouldn't the modern tempered blade retain the ability longer and just be worth the initial expense?

I don't think I want to buy new planes, rather, I'm thinking it would be an incredibly value to simply purchase new blades/irons for all you old timers :)
The old planes are fine if true. (And even not true if used for roughing out.) The old blades are fine if sharp. When they get pitted with rust (the $3 garage sale planes) the truing process can get tedious enough to go for a new one. It's always nice to figure that out before you put an hour into hand sanding. But the blades only need to be shiney near the cutting edge. Some of the modern blades are thicker and thats nice. I've got both for some planes; nice to have a sharp blade as back up. I can't say as I've noticed any appreciable difference as long as they're sharp. I tend to hone them before any important work anyhow and never need more than the extra fine stone and stropping. I use diamond sharpening plates on a metal surface.

A belt sander comes in real handy for all that truing stuff.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by Michael.N. » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:27 am

Just use the vintage blades. Most of them are perfectly adequate for our needs. If you think about it pretty much every single guitar maker prior to around 1980 used vintage blades. It's also a pretty safe bet that they were doing every single operation with a hand tool, so their vintage blades saw a great deal of use. Some of the modern steels give a slight advantage in terms of wear rate but it's hardly a night day difference.
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simonm
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Re: Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by simonm » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:32 pm

Michael.N. wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:27 am
… It's also a pretty safe bet that they were doing every single operation with a hand tool, so their vintage blades saw a great deal of use. …
And it would also be a good bet that they had learned to sharpening the blades efficiently and well. :-)
Probably best spend money on learning how to sharpen blades rather than getting new blades and new planes ...

chiral3
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Re: Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by chiral3 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:41 pm

You might want to make sure "old" means pre-war. I understand that during the war additives and shortcuts were added to re-direct the best materials and worker's time towards war efforts.
"Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect" - Margaret Mitchell

Dave M
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Re: Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by Dave M » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:17 pm

Yes it does depend on what you mean by vintage... The Stanley/Bailey/Record planes of the last few decades have been rather poor tools with thin rather soft blades and poor machining. Older ones - and I'm not putting a date to this - were much better. Still the blades are rather thin and lose their edge quite quickly. As someone has said if the blade is pitted and rusty you need to replace it.

I have bought several second hand and I have replaced all the blades with better quality, thicker ones. Brand will depend on where you live though I don't think you need to go quite to the Ron Hock price level to get quality. The extra thickness reduces any tendency to chatter - around 3 mm rather than 2 or less. You may have to widen the mouth a little.

Along with the blades there is lots you can do to improve planes, as it sounds like you already know. Flatness of the bottom being key. I won't try to explain it all as it is well covered by various publications. In the furniture world in the UK at least David Charlseworth is the primary expert.

I should say that the second hand Record 5 and a half that I have improved works pretty much as well as my (very expensive) Lie Neilsen even if doesn't look quite so pretty!
Dave

Marcus Dominelli
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Re: Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by Marcus Dominelli » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:45 pm

I have found some of the old plane blades to have excellent steel, and some have poor steel. The Stanley tools in general I thought were really good quality, but the blades are often very thin, and I prefer thicker blades in general.

I am a fan of high carbon steel blades, in particular the blades made by Ron Hock. They sharpen easily and very well hold an edge.
I really dislike the Veritas A2 steel blade which I have in my Veritas block plane. The edge breaks down very quickly, and yet it is a very difficult blade to sharpen, except right after it has been ground. It wreaks havoc on my water stones....

The Veritas high carbon blades are likely very good, but I have not tried them.
Lap the sole of your planes so they are flat, set the frog straight, and make sure the cap iron has a really tight fit against the top of the blade, so that the shavings curl up and do not get stuck in any space between a poor fitting cap iron and blade. After I have the cap iron fitting perfectly, I buff the top of the cap iron with jeweler's rouge until it is smooth and shiny, and the shavings shoot out of the mouth much better, and there's no clogging.
The blade affects performance big time, but so does the overall set up of the plane.....just like with a guitar...

Alan Carruth
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Re: Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by Alan Carruth » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:09 pm

I have an older (mid-70's) Record #4 with a Hock cutter. I bought the plane new when I was starting out, and spent a fair amount of time tuning it up. I ran through two of the Record cutters before a student gave me the Hock iron. I have it set up for jointing and the harder/figured woods, with a bit of a secondary bevel and the chip breaker as close to the edge as possible, with a tight throat. I have a duplicate that I bought later, with the original softer iron, that is set up for softwoods and smoothing. Both work well for their intended uses, but the Hock cutter holds it's edge longer. I, too, am a big fan of high carbon plain steel, but it's hard to get these days.

A friend gave me a Veritas low-angle block plane, and it worked well right out of the box. The new Stanley 'Sweetheart' block plane is a virtual clone, except for the more positive adjustment for the throat opening.

mqbernardo
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Re: Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by mqbernardo » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:43 pm

take a look at the quangsheng/woodriver/dick/juuma repalcement blades. they´re all made in china by the same factory, but they´re actually pretty good and cost a fraction of an Hock/Veritas repalcement balde. don´t really know what kind of alloy they´re made of, they´re tougher than plain carbon steel, but don´t seem to need much extra sharpening effort and hold an edge very well. around 11 eur for a block plane blade. i veritas and Lie Nielsen palnes with A2 blades and frankly can not say they´re better blades.

i also prefer carbon steel, though.

Marshall Dixon
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Re: Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by Marshall Dixon » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:24 pm

simonm wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:32 pm
Michael.N. wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:27 am
… It's also a pretty safe bet that they were doing every single operation with a hand tool, so their vintage blades saw a great deal of use. …
And it would also be a good bet that they had learned to sharpening the blades efficiently and well. :-)
Probably best spend money on learning how to sharpen blades rather than getting new blades and new planes ...
I read of someone that did and apprenticeship in a Japanese woodworker's shop. The first two years were spent sharpening tools!

Dave M
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Re: Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by Dave M » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:23 pm

I also have not found the A2 steel very friendly. I can never get the single LN chisel I own to get properly sharp, though I can eventually sharpen the plane blade.
Dave

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Michael.N.
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Re: Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by Michael.N. » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:01 pm

Marshall Dixon wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:24 pm
simonm wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:32 pm
Michael.N. wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:27 am
… It's also a pretty safe bet that they were doing every single operation with a hand tool, so their vintage blades saw a great deal of use. …
And it would also be a good bet that they had learned to sharpening the blades efficiently and well. :-)
Probably best spend money on learning how to sharpen blades rather than getting new blades and new planes ...
I read of someone that did and apprenticeship in a Japanese woodworker's shop. The first two years were spent sharpening tools!
Must be rather slow learners.
I have both the Veritas carbon and A2 steel. Quangsheng. LN, Vintage and modern Record/Stanley, HSS and many vintage English cast steel blades. Every single blade works. The odd example of modern Stanley wears quickly, not worth using. All the vintage Stanley/Record (pre 1960's) have been good. I too dislike the Veritas A2. The Veritas carbon, Ray Iles and LN is nothing special compared to some of the vintage blades, not bad just not worth paying the extra for. Quangsheng steel is very good, up there with my better blades. I don't see a problem with using thin blades on a Bailey style plane with a cap iron. Get your blades truly sharp, set up the plane/cap iron and give your blades a chance. They may well be perfectly adequate.
Historicalguitars.

MessyTendon
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Re: Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by MessyTendon » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:36 pm

Thanks Michale...I suppose buying a few more stones would help get the knives and planes sharp.

I don't have dead flat stones right now...I might try one or two modern blades. The chinese high rockwell blades look to be a good value.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Vintage plane with modern blades

Post by Michael.N. » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:46 pm

You need very little in terms of stones too. I've been through all manner of planes, blades and stones. I've now downsized from a 8,000G waterstone to an Arkansas oil stone that I bought 30 odd years ago. Strange how you end up where you started! I guess it's about 1200G which doesn't seem very fine but couple it with a bit of leather and things are certainly sharp enough. The only other requirement is something very coarse that restores a primary edge. I happen to have a small hand crank grinder. It's effectively two stones and some leather. You certainly don't need a flat stone if you can sharpen freehand.
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