sharp/dull blade drawing Lie-Nielsen A2 small map
Finest abrasives.
Microbevels front and back.
Use a jig.
Copyright (c) 2002-15, Brent Beach

Test Summary

This test used a Lie-Nielsen A2 blade bought in May 2002. I am not sure if they cryogenically treated their A2 blades at that time.

In summary, the blade showed good edge durability and the edge deterioration common to A2 blades.

The Tests

May 7, 2002. This is a replacement iron, sold by Lie-Nielsen for use with Stanley type planes. At 0.121" thick, it is thinner than the irons they use for their planes, but the same steel.

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

Feb 8, 2005. As part of a test of the effect of different abrasives on tool steels, this blade was retested using a Norton Translucent Arkansas oil stone, rated at 8000 grit size. The primary bevel is at 25 degrees as usual, the first microbevel was made using 15 micron 3M microfinishing abrasive. The second microbevel at 31.5 degrees using the Arkansas oil stone.

The oil stone is held in a vice at the level of the surface of the vice, allowing the plane iron to be held in my style of sharpening jig.

The stone is called translucent, but has red swirls in it. The stone is a current production stone, purchased in 2004. The Norton designation is ?.

on oil stone holder

The Results

May 2002

Final microbevel using 0.5 CrO.

Feb 2005

Final microbevel using Norton translucent Arkansas.

The front bevel, 200 X magnification, before the test.

The CrO leaves a uniform surface with no visible scratches.

The Arkansas stone leaves a less uniform surface with some scratches, suggesting a variety of grit sizes with most quite small. It is possible that a longer honing period without cleaning the stone surface might have resulted in fewer large scratches -- the larger abrasive particles breaking down and filling the gaps, creating a smoother surface.

sharp 0.5 micron sharp oil stone
The front bevel, 200 X magnification, after 100 passes along 4 foot douglas-fir board.

The wear bevel is about 4 pixels wide. Beginnings of edge breakdown.

The lighting on the second test does not show up the wear bevel as clearly. It shows up as a slight change, perhaps a little clearer near the bottom. It is about 5 pixels wide.

100 passes, 0.5 micron 100 passes, oil stone
The front bevel, 200 X magnification, after 150 passes along 4 foot douglas-fir board.

The wear bevel is about 6 pixels wide in the first test, 8 or 9 pixels wide in the second test. The edge looks typical of A2 blades - it is wearing unevenly.

150 passes, 0.5 micron 100 passes, oil-stone


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.

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