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Will Urban

Question for woodworking tools

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Hello all,

 

So my father and I have been doing a lot of looking at woodworking planes lately because he is a user/collector of hand planes. Most of the blades are o1 and a2 but there are also the blades from veritas which are labeled as pmv-11. Which is described as a cryo heat treated powder metallurgy steel. I'm curious if anyone knows more about it including up to chemical make up I'm curious why woodworkers think it's better. And more importantly what it is, stainless or carbon and if it can be sourced.

 

We are looking to make irons for the Stanley 45 and 55.

 

Thanks

Will 

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Been reading up on it and Veritas speaks pretty highly of it.  Sounds like an excellent choice for plane blades............especially with the Cryo treatment.  I can't find a source for it, so it might be their own formulation.

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I was wondering if it was a "trade secret" type alloy since I havent come across any information other than what they provide on their website. It does seem to hold a better edge for longer so I am curious why this would be the case.

 

I made a quick guess that it's probably a vanadium containing stainless able to get to 62 Hrc. But other than that I'm in the dark.

 

I'd love to be able to replicate the performance with something similar. Without resorting to my standards for knife steels.

 

Thanks

Edited by Will Urban

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Yup..............I think it's a proprietary product to Veritas.

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No idea what alloy it is, but this reminded me I need to make some irons for my Stanley 45...

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Hard to believe no one has taken one of these to the XRF scanner- just a simple interwebs search shows this steel has been around since before 2012- Oct 2012 Fine Woodworking PM-V11 article

 

If they are using a boutique manufacturer (low run counts strict quality/lot/proprietary sales) then they have a great secret... Sounds like a bit of smoke/mirror ahem... ummm "Marketing" materials.

 

But- then again- maybe they are just really into developing cutting edge tools (couldnt resist- pardon the pun!)...

 

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Lie-Nielsen used to offer both O1 and A2 for their planes. As they explained it, the O1 was ground at 25 degrees and gave a sharper edge but would need to be sharpened more often. The angle for the A2 was limited to 30 degrees, didn't give as sharp of edge and was harder to sharpen.  However the edge lasted far longer then the O1.

 

While unasked:  Me, I keep life simple. If I was to make an planer blade, I would use one of the simple carbons.

Edited by Gerald Boggs

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Alan,

I feel as though that's one of those things you've been saying for a long time. It sounded too similar to how I talk about long forgotten projects.

 

Kerri,

I may try to see what I can do as far as testing it for personal use that is a really good idea since I currently have some bloomery iron and crucible steel out for chemical analysis I may be able to get one more test done with that.

 

Honestly I figured it would be smoke and mirror myself but after hearing some of the reviews including my father's (and when it comes to sharp things he makes us knife makers look weak.) They all seem to say it takes a better edge and keeps it longer. Which makes me all the more curious. With a typical 20 to 30 degree edge on chisels and a bit more on planes it makes me wonder if it could be a good steel to use for other projects down the line. 

 

Cutting edge tools. Should have seen that coming.

 

Gerald,

 

That was my understanding as well as far as standards went and from what I've heard and seen I'm curious why this different steel would be any better than the old standards.

 

I'd much rather just make them from 1095 O1 or even 80cRv2. But my dad was curious so I thought I'd ask the knowledge base.

 

Thanks

Will

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Just a comment on "proprietary alloys".  Often makers do not share the chemistry, not because they don't want people to know.  Manufacturers are well aware that other people (i.e. competitors) have the ability to find out what the chemistry is.  It is typically not shared for 2 main reasons:  1) "Hey look at us, we know what we are doing enough that we create something new and specific to fit this application" and 2) Don't confuse customers.  The typical customer has no clue what a chemistry means, and those that have some idea often think they know enough to want a chemistry and in reality know enough to get things wrong.  "This alloy is the one we use now and it is way better than what we had before, it must be the 0.30% V added.  Let's buy one that is 10% V and we'll be much better off!"  

 

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Jerrod,

 

In most situations I would agree with you that simplifying information for the customer base is absolutely the best approach it confuses less people and leads to less frustration. 

 

However in this case I am always learning but do know enough about material science to make me dangerous haha, having a mechanical engineering degree. What I'm trying to see is if I can learn enough about this proprietary alloy that I would be able to source something similar enough that I could gain the same effect that the woodworkers using pm-v11 seem to say that they are gaining using this steel. 

 

I am not trying to copy anyones work just trying to learn if there is a better approach for a woodworking tool like this. I could easily use an established steel like o1 but then I'm not improving just replicating. 

 

I guess my best approach would be to test the steel and then compare the existing steels to that analysis. I had assumed I may not have been the first person to think this though seeing as this steel has been available for almost a decade.

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I was just generally trying to shed light on why makers do not generally share their chemistries.  I think what is really going on here to give the improved properties is the powder metallurgy.  This keeps grain size and carbides very small and evenly distributed.  It would be very interesting to see pretty much any other PM steel tested to go on that chart from the Veritas website.  Since they are trying to sell their PM alloy as better than O1, A2, and M4, it wouldn't surprise me if another PM steel would get similar results.  I find it very interesting that they mention CPM-3V, but didn't include it in the graph.  On their test page they have an un-named one that is pretty dang close to PM-V11.  Their sharpening page has some stuff that is just completely wrong (it would seem they think that when you sharpen steel you remove while grains at a time, but you can in fact cut grains).  Now, if you're talking about carbides, then they would be more correct.  I'd be very interested in knowing which alloy they designated "Y-1".  

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I wouldn't get too carried away.  Read the following article: https://knifesteelnerds.com/2018/10/01/super-steels-vs-regular-knife-steels/, it helps explain a bit about the tradeoffs with hardness (edge retention) versus toughness in fancy steels.  If you filter the graph you posted through the BS meter, it looks surprisingly like CPM D2.  See also https://knifesteelnerds.com/2019/05/26/new-micrographs-of-42-knife-steels/ for further enlightened nerdiness.

 

And yes, I've been meaning to make some octagonal plows for the #45 for about 15 years or more.  I have most of the full set of standard plows from 1/4" to 1", a couple of beading irons, and a tongue-and-groove set.  I was inletting octagonal rifle barrels at the time, using the plows to cut the main grooves and cleaning up the bottom angles with a scraper.  I haven't had the need to inlet barrels in a long time, thus the #45 just sits in its box.

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@Jerrod Miller, since you touched on grains there, I’ve been wondering. We always refine the grains to get them (more or less) as small as possible. What would a blade be like if we could grow the grain size to where the whole thing was one large crystal (i.e. no grain boundaries within the blade)? Hard but brittle I would assume?

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Actually one single grain would be fantastic.  This is in fact what they do to make the blades in jet turbines.  Generally speaking, failure occurs along grain boundaries, as that is where all the weakest connections are.  Much of the "junk" in an metal will segregate to the grain boundaries, and thus they have bad properties.  What we are doing when we refine the grain structure is making a longer windier path that the failure has to move along (thus taking a lot more work to fail).  Every time the stress has to change directions it takes more energy.  Now let's say you mess up your single grain material and get 2 grains.  Now you have one gigantic failure path.  

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Cool, thanks.

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It all boils down to how long you can go between sharpening. I have no idea why woodworkers get so hyped up about sharpening. You can touch up a plane blade in less than a minute. So hey.....my new expensive hand plane blade will save you 30 seconds a day!! I don't want to be bothered to learn how to properly tune my plane so I'll spend $80 each on a set of new fangled steel for all of my hand planes!! I'll never understand it.

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On 2/12/2020 at 10:39 PM, Alan Longmire said:

I wouldn't get too carried away.  Read the following article: https://knifesteelnerds.com/2018/10/01/super-steels-vs-regular-knife-steels/, it helps explain a bit about the tradeoffs with hardness (edge retention) versus toughness in fancy steels.  If you filter the graph you posted through the BS meter, it looks surprisingly like CPM D2.  See also https://knifesteelnerds.com/2019/05/26/new-micrographs-of-42-knife-steels/ for further enlightened nerdiness.

 

And yes, I've been meaning to make some octagonal plows for the #45 for about 15 years or more.  I have most of the full set of standard plows from 1/4" to 1", a couple of beading irons, and a tongue-and-groove set.  I was inletting octagonal rifle barrels at the time, using the plows to cut the main grooves and cleaning up the bottom angles with a scraper.  I haven't had the need to inlet barrels in a long time, thus the #45 just sits in its box.

 

Hi Alan,

 

My apologies to Will Urban for the slight hijack and derailment of his thread, but  I need to thank you for the posting of the links above, but even more so for putting me onto the knife steel nerds website. I have been looking for a website like this for quite a while and as a newbie to knife making it is quite a thorough and detailed sight.

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I have used quite a few different planes, including the a2 veritas ones, I do not have any experience with the pmv11 however.

 

I suspect the main advantage in the higher end planes is the thickness of the iron, the irons are much thicker and more stable, it would be easy for a woodworker to think his blade cuts better because of the ''super steel'' while it is in fact the thickness of the iron making most of the improvement.

Also the modern steels don't rust and are harder to overheat when sharpening on a grinder, this might make the edge sharper for longer.

 

 

 

 

 

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From my perspective, based merely on my own experience.  These next generation steels don't give a sharper edge then simple carbon steels, what they give is greater durability.  To para-phrase Lie-Nelson " O1 gives a sharper edge, but the A2 gives a longer lasting edge"  Yes, I know A2 isn't a next generation steel, it was just a example of edge vs durability.

Edited by Gerald Boggs

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This all goes back to the metallurgy articles I linked above.  The reason simple high carbon alloys are considered to give a finer or "sharper" edge is that the high-alloy steels tend to have huge carbides by comparison.  That was the idea behind the introduction of powder metallurgy steels, that method of manufacture produced much finer carbides than traditional melting methods.  Note they are still huge in comparison to something like 1075 (which has no carbides).  They're just finer.  Look at the micrograph article.  The ones with big carbides or a lot of small but hard carbides will be extremely wear resistant (hold an edge longer), but it will be difficult to get as fine an edge with the large carbides versus the small.  Plus big carbides do not wear down, they break off, leaving a microscopically jagged edge. 

 

Add all that to the thicker irons on Veritas blades versus Stanley, and A2 or O1 is sure going to feel like it's superior to the original 1095, even if it isn't, simply by the reduction in chatter.  

 

And Don:  I suspect they are pushing the edge-holding thing because guys new to hand planes tend to be freaked out about pulling and resetting the blade, so the fewer times you have to do that the better.  We of course know better... :lol:

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Was curious as to the angle pmv-11 is ground, but found no mention by Veritas or Lee Valley.  However, my quick search did show that there's a number of woodworking forums having discussions about pmv-11.  The general consensus by those that have used planes with pmv-11 is "Good Stuff, but not the be all that Veritas claims it to be.  One gentlemen pointed out that for whatever reason, Veritas didn't test pmv-11 against the other next generation steels used by their competitors or if they did, decided not to publish the results.

Edited by Gerald Boggs

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i have a few japanese style planes that i made, they work as well as i can sharpen them, i cant understand being afraid to take out the blade and reset it because i do that by hitting mine with a hammer. plane blades need to be really sharp to cut end grain or to thin leather, can the fancy steels with carbides get sharp enough to plane the endgrain of something like ipe?

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