Woodwork Tools Blog



A better steel for your woodwork tools?

Creating, and maintaining, a sharp edge on your woodwork tools is one of the keys to success with any edge tool such as a woodworking plane or chisel.

At the same time, it is one of the things that many people struggle with, particularly newcomers to woodworking.

There have been many advancements in tool steels over the years, with new alloys being produced, but as is so often the case, each new product brings its own set of problems. In general, the harder the metal, the longer it will hold its edge. At the same time, the harder the metal, the more brittle it will be, and the more difficult it is to sharpen.

As a result, I expect that the announcement from Veritas that they have started manufacturing their woodworking plane and chisel blades from a new, improved alloy is sure to evoke many heated discussions and debates over which steel is best for making blades.

The metal, which is known as PM-V11 (just rolls of the tongue doesn’t it) is said to hold its edge longer, and yet still be relatively easy to sharpen, so it seems to tick all the boxes required for a good tool steel. I will be interested to hear a few reviews of the new blades, to see if the experts agree that it is worth the investment.

Whilst the alloy itself is not a new product, Veritas do appear to have completed a good deal of testing before deciding to use PM-V11 for their blades. You can check out this site for more information on the qualities of the steel, and the testing that was carried out by Veritas.

As with most hand tools, I suspect that the only people that will notice the difference in steel quality will be the experts who are using their woodwork tools every day. For the rest of us, I suspect that we would probably gain more from learning to sharpen our existing tools better, than we would from investing in a set of replacement plane blades and chisels!

Looking forward to hearing any comments from people who do try one of the new blades!

Enjoy your woodwork tools!

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