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A-2 vs. PM-11

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Forum topic by BubbaIBA posted 08-07-2014 03:45 PM 432 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BubbaIBA

226 posts in 1035 days


08-07-2014 03:45 PM

Let me state up front this is not a A-2 bashing thread, my experience with working a well sharpened A-2 iron in a plane vs. either an O-1 or a PM-11 if it were a “blind” test I doubt I could tell the difference. Sharpening is another story and that is the reason I prefer either O-1 or PM-11 irons.

As I posted awhile back LN no longer offers O-1 in their planes. Which is a shame because LN made a good O-1 iron for their line of planes and I prefer the Bailey style adjuster to the Norris style of the LV planes. More than likely that preference is just “because” but whatever it is what I prefer. BTW. I have a LV #4 and use it, it is a very nice plane with good features but….I ordered a LN #4 the other day with the A-2 iron.

Last night I finally got around to prepping the LN #4 for use. After an hour of working on the back of the A-2 iron I remembered I had a new in the box with chip breaker LV 2” PM-11 iron on the shelf. Out it came and on to the 3mu diamond “stone”. BTW, I knew that starting on the 3mu stone would work because I’ve used several of the new LV irons and they are all perfectly flat and only need polishing. After no more than 30 seconds on the 3mu stone and a few strokes on the 0.5mu “strop” I had a good back.

Like I said earlier I had already spent over an hour on the back of the A-2 running through my diamond stones going so far as to dig out the Extra-Extra Course one and all the A-2 did was laugh at the effort by skittering across the stones. I guess the bottom line of why I don’t like A-2 is not just the time it takes to get a good edge it is also the “feel” on the stones. I just do not get good feed back while sharpening A-2 and much of my sharpening depends on how the iron feels on the stone. Maybe if I worked more with A-2 I could develop that feel but the question is why…...What does A-2 bring to the table that would make the effort worth while?

One other thing I found interesting: The LV chip breaker doesn’t seem to work with LN planes. Not a biggie, my new LN #4 now has a LV PM-11 iron and a LN chip breaker with the LV chip breaker screw (I like the LV chip breaker screw, it is knurled and has a shoulder) and is a really sweet working plane. Damn I can be picky :-).

The iron on the left is the A-2 LN after more than an hour of work. The one on the right is the LV PM-11 after maybe 1 minute of work.

I expect it will just be SOP, order a LV PM-11 or O-1 iron when I order a new LN plane. Adds to the cost but I’m too old to spend time flatting backs on irons. That’s the bad news, the good is I don’t need any new planes, of course need and want are two different things.


4 replies so far

View PaulJerome's profile

PaulJerome

48 posts in 1692 days


#1 posted 08-07-2014 06:03 PM

I’ve run across the same issue when prepping the A2 versus the PM-V11 with LN and LV tools. It’s ridiculous the amount of time it takes to prep the A2 blades. I don’t know if it’s a manufacturing issue with flatness tolerances, but it truly is disheartening. Truth be told, I don’t believe there is much of a difference in how much longer the O1, A2 or PM-V11 hold their respective edges. I like my tools sharp and find I sharpen my tools, no matter the blade type, just as often whether it be O1, A2 or PM-V11.

-- Paul, Central Illinois

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Manitario

2347 posts in 1541 days


#2 posted 08-07-2014 06:11 PM

I have A2 and O1 blades and vintage Stanley steel, as well as a few PM-V11 chisels. I don’t really remember what blades are the O1 and which are the A2 but I suspect that a few blades which take forever to sharpen and never really get a satisfactory sharp edge are the A2. My favourite steel, for easy of sharpening, edge retention and ability to get really, really sharp is Japanese steel, either white or blue.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Mark E.'s profile

Mark E.

378 posts in 2401 days


#3 posted 08-07-2014 11:51 PM

I have several PM-V11 plane irons and they always arrived ready to work. I don’t care much about polishing the backs, as long as they are flat, and every PM-V11 iron I have received had a perfectly flat back. LV lapps the backs of their irons which leaves a matte finish that is as flat as flat needs to be for a sharp cutter.

As for sharpening and/or honing, I find the PM-V11 irons to be as easy and fast to sharpen/hone as an O1 or even the old vintage steel. I base this on the few times I have had to hone those PM-V11 irons. They do seem to stay sharp much longer than any of my other plane irons, so my experience honing them is limited. The PM-V11 plane irons are the best I have used.

On to the LV chip breakers. My experience with these has been less ‘exciting’. Everyone of the LV chip breakers that I have received has been very well made/machined, requiring little if any tweaking. The problem comes in when trying to use them on later model Stanley Bailey planes. I have been unable to get them to work for me in my type 15 or later Stanley’s. They woprk great for the earlier types.

This is the problem I have had with the LV chip breakers in the later model Stanley Bailey planes. With the chip breaker set for a fine cut, under 1/16” (which is already too much), the screw the holds the chip breaker to the iron, bottoms out in the recess on the top of the frog, above the lever cap screw. With the bottom edge of that screw touching the top edge of the recess in the frog, the iron does not reach the sole of the plane. The only way to get the iron to reach the sole of the plane (and the wood to be planed) is to have the iron extend past the chip breaker edge by nearly 1/8”.

I have corresponded with LV technical support about this issue and they have indicated that they will be checking into this problem. I will wait to hear the results of their analysis before buying another LV chip breaker for any Stanley Bailey made after type 14.

For my type 15 or later Stanley Bailey planes I have used the LN chip breakers with the LV PM-V11 irons successfully. The threaded hole in the LN chip breakers is just a little higher (towards the top of the chip breaker) than the LV chip breaker, eliminating the binding problem I experienced.

-- Mark

View BubbaIBA's profile

BubbaIBA

226 posts in 1035 days


#4 posted 08-08-2014 01:11 AM



I ve run across the same issue when prepping the A2 versus the PM-V11 with LN and LV tools. It s ridiculous the amount of time it takes to prep the A2 blades. I don t know if it s a manufacturing issue with flatness tolerances, but it truly is disheartening. Truth be told, I don t believe there is much of a difference in how much longer the O1, A2 or PM-V11 hold their respective edges. I like my tools sharp and find I sharpen my tools, no matter the blade type, just as often whether it be O1, A2 or PM-V11.

- PaulJerome

Paul,

I’m glad it is not just me. For the last couple of years there has been a big difference between LN irons and LV irons. Like you I find little difference in time of usable sharpness between the different irons (Japanese white steel excepted) but a big difference in ease of sharpening.

ken

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