Blades for planes

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 07-10-2018 08:51 PM 668 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5925 posts in 4047 days

07-10-2018 08:51 PM

Does anyone know what kind of steel is used for plane blades? I can make them if I know what steel is used. Can it be HSS, oil hardening or air hardening steel stock? I can use Starrett precision ground steel stock in either grade of hardness. I want to make some new blades for some small planes that have a non-standard blade size.

4 replies so far

View JADobson's profile


1448 posts in 2914 days

#1 posted 07-10-2018 09:02 PM

O1 and A2 would be the most common.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2697 days

#2 posted 07-11-2018 12:43 AM

Like James said, and you can find O1 and A2 all over the place.

Check out Ron Hock’s book, The Perfect Edge. There’s a chapter on steel, it’s pretty interesting. Actually, the whole book is interesting, it’s about all kinds of edges – planes, chisels, axes, serrated knives, gouges, etc.

So, for example, from his book he said about HSS: yes, you could use it for plane blades. I think LV used to sell some kind of wood plane with a HSS blade in it. I don’t know if they still do. But the reason you don’t typically see it in hand tools is because that kind of alloy is used when things get really hot and you still need a sharp cutting edge, and in order to make that alloy you need to add expensive stuff to the mix. Since a hand plane is never gonna turn cherry red when you’re planing a board, and since HSS does little to keep an edge sharper longer, there’s no reason to spend the extra money on a HSS blade for hand tools.

But if you had some flat stock HSS around the shop and wanted to turn it into a plane blade I think you’d be fine. People use that stuff for marking knives all the time. I’ve used it for that.

View Redoak49's profile


4798 posts in 2792 days

#3 posted 07-11-2018 11:18 AM

I think that I would use O1 or something like a 1090/1095.

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

1129 posts in 1192 days

#4 posted 07-11-2018 12:07 PM

Col Travis pretty well nails it. O1, W1, S1, A1, 1090/95. 1090/95 is the easiest to work/heat treat followed by O1. Air and Water hardening are a bit more complicated to work with. 1095 is high carbon and not good for high heat application, not something you have to worry about, easy to work, easy to heat treat, holds a pretty good edge, fairly easy to sharpen.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

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