sharp/dull blade drawing Holtey small map
Finest abrasives.
Microbevels front and back.
Use a jig.
Copyright (c) 2002-15, Brent Beach

Test Summary

A High Speed Steel iron, made by Carl Holtey in the U.K.

The edge was a surprise. This is a very high-tech steel, but while very wear resistant, there were edge defects not found in other blades.

Holtey S53

Carl Holtey makes planes and plane blades. This blade was purchased directly from Holtey. The blade is quite thick, fitting only a limited number of standard planes - only those with very wide mouths.

The Test

April 10, 2002.

As with all my other tests, I honed three front and back bevels using 15, 5, and 0.5 micron 3M micro abrasive paper.

The front bevel, 200 X magnification, after the 0.5 micron paper.

The 0.5 microbevel looks much different from other irons. This is the only iron that showed this pattern of bright spots. I understand that these blades are made of powdered bits of carbide (or something like that). Perhaps the individual bits of carbide are reflecting separately from whatever holds them together. Then again, it could just be the angle of the light.

The front bevel, 200 X magnification, after 100 passes along 4 foot douglas-fir board.

Very narrow wear bevel, about 4 pixels wide, but the edge has several failures.

100 passes
The front bevel, 200 X magnification, after 150 passes.

The wear bevel is still only about 4 pixels wide, but the edge has large failures.

The surface of the wood has a much different feel and there are visible lines corresponding to the defects in the edge.

The board was clear of knots, the same board as used in the other tests around this time. While I used up several boards during these tests, the boards were uniformly clear, straight grained, and from the same tree.

150 passes


Check out my jig page for a simple jig you can make in your shop, along with a sharpening set up using sheet abrasives, that reliably produces excellent edges, for all types of irons.

Blade Testing Page

Back to the Blade testing home page.

Home again

Back to the Sharpening and Testing Plane Irons home page.


Try looking around the site map. You can also reach the site map from the little map at the top of each page.

Questions? Comments?

You can email me here.