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Am I a moron or are Sargent VBM blades trash?

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Forum topic by Winny94 posted 05-22-2021 11:04 PM 1253 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Winny94

75 posts in 1561 days


05-22-2021 11:04 PM

Got a 409 VBM, cleaned and setup, went to hit some walnut and when I got to some cross grain around knots, not only did it not cut, it chipped the chipped the blade. Figuring since it was well after midnight when I assembled it, i mustive dinged the blade, so resharpened, went back to work, and same result.
Went back to my Stanley #6 (type 19 w/ original iron), and it plowed right through without issue (albeit with a small amount of tearout).
I had it setup to take the thinnest shavings I can muster, so I’m a bit at a loss.

Anyone else with a VBM? What am I doing wrong?


22 replies so far

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1449 posts in 1023 days


#1 posted 05-22-2021 11:43 PM

Are there only two choices?

-- Phil Allin - There are woodworkers and people who collect woodworking tools. The woodworkers have a chair to sit on that they made.

View corelz125's profile

corelz125

3044 posts in 2096 days


#2 posted 05-23-2021 12:22 AM

You never know what type of abuse that iron has taken over the last 100 year’s.

View sansoo22's profile

sansoo22

1676 posts in 774 days


#3 posted 05-23-2021 01:13 AM



You never know what type of abuse that iron has taken over the last 100 year s.

- corelz125

Some of it could even be recent abuse. Late last year I saw a whole thread on Reddit about “re-tempering” the old irons. I have no clue where they got the idea that was needed.

Only other thing I can think of for the VBM iron in question is what the back looks like. I’ve seen pitting cause that because there is no support for the front bevel so it crumple like tin foil.

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

2026 posts in 1559 days


#4 posted 05-23-2021 02:43 AM

Maybe I’m wrong and I could be because I can’t see the length of the whole blade but, it looks to me to be kind of short distance from the cutting edge to the slot. What does it look like when in the plane?

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." MIke in CO

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sansoo22

1676 posts in 774 days


#5 posted 05-23-2021 03:03 AM

I was kind of wondering the same thing but thought it was just the angle or the fact the slot is reversed to a typical Stanley iron that I’m used to.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

8009 posts in 1694 days


#6 posted 05-23-2021 05:01 AM

Late last year I saw a whole thread on Reddit about “re-tempering” the old irons. I have no clue where they got the idea that was needed.

- sansoo22

I don’t know the answer as a positive, but my first thought is that with people trying to sharpen with high speed grinders, and in general just overheating with whatever they are using there are probably quite a few blades of all types out there that have absolutely lost any temper they once had.

Plus there are some schools of thought that feel all old steel was improperly processed. Metallurgy as a science has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 100 years, and zoomed right out of here in the last 50.

There is solid evidence by some Cave Dwellers who know and understand the old Stanleys and such that there isn’t anything wrong with any of them. Some were just not pampered, and a little TLC gets them ribbon like shavings.

So results are hard to argue with, but in the ones I have a Hock blade will go a lot further than an old Stanley, even after I have loved it a lot. Definition of better is quite subjective.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Winny94's profile

Winny94

75 posts in 1561 days


#7 posted 05-23-2021 05:14 AM



Maybe I m wrong and I could be because I can t see the length of the whole blade but, it looks to me to be kind of short distance from the cutting edge to the slot. What does it look like when in the plane?

- BlasterStumps


Here it is compared to the #6 iron

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

28775 posts in 3803 days


#8 posted 05-23-2021 12:58 PM

Too often…those talking down about the vintage irons, come off sounding just like a Salesman working for a commission…..anything to sell THEIR brand….

However..

Let’s look at a Sargent VBM #414 Jack plane….

Take the lever cap off..

Set the cutter assembly aside…..in fact, just flip it over..

Not too hateful? put everything back together…set up a Pine test track..

Hmmm, was still set up as a Jack plane….back the iron off a bit…

Not too bad…for a Jack plane.

Needless to say, I will NOT be in the market for a new Miracle Steel iron….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7026 posts in 3613 days


#9 posted 05-23-2021 01:03 PM

I am seriously lacking the experience/knowledge of some of the folks above, but I do have a 408 VBM. It seems to do just fine., and the edge holds up as long as any of my Stanleys.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

2026 posts in 1559 days


#10 posted 05-24-2021 02:47 AM

I might be wrong but, to my eye, it does look a bit worn off. I certainly not an expert on blades but one I had that was just about the same length remaining that would not hold an edge.

Maybe I m wrong and I could be because I can t see the length of the whole blade but, it looks to me to be kind of short distance from the cutting edge to the slot. What does it look like when in the plane?

- BlasterStumps

Here it is compared to the #6 iron

- Winny94


-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." MIke in CO

View sansoo22's profile

sansoo22

1676 posts in 774 days


#11 posted 05-24-2021 03:34 AM

therealSteveN – makes some good points about what an iron can be subjected to over its lifetime. I have seen plenty of posts on the internet about irons being ground so hot they turn blue. Or taking an angle grinder to them to cut off the pitted part and oops it turned blue.

Here is an assortment of different Stanley irons from my plane iron drawer. I drew with a sharpie where the tempering/quench line is on each of them.

The one on the far right is at the size I’d be shopping for its eventual replacement. I’ve had a few turn to mush that were roughly the same length. Two things can cause this that I’m aware of. They were subjected to something bad. Or they weren’t heated evenly long long ago when they were first tempered.

Bandit has been at this a lot longer than I have so he may have more details about the heat treatment of the older irons.

View Don W's profile

Don W

20095 posts in 3687 days


#12 posted 05-28-2021 02:47 PM

it certainly sounds like it’s lost it’s temper, and if a retempered was tried and done incorrectly, that just added to the problem (I’m not sure if thats what you meant)

It can be rehardened and retempered, but it’s not a straight forward process. I’ve hardened know steel, but never tried a vintage iron.

Sargent irons were on par with any manufacturer of it’s time. That’s not to say one couldn’t come faulty from any manufacturer, but after 100+ years, my money would be on misuse.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View AdmiralRich's profile

AdmiralRich

18 posts in 3646 days


#13 posted 06-03-2021 07:46 PM

From time to time, not rare occurrences but not all that often either, I’ve experienced irons from Stanley, Millers Falls and others that have good remaining length to them that lost their temper for some unknown reason; chit happens. I’ve had some limited success with grinding back the iron (carefully, quench after each pass) about 3/8” beyond the existing edge to hopefully reach hardened steel. Might work; otherwise, I’d find a vintage replacement.

-- Elvem ipsum etiam vivere

View Winny94's profile

Winny94

75 posts in 1561 days


#14 posted 06-03-2021 09:04 PM

For anyone sitting on the edge of their seat for a conclusion, I contacted the seller and they were understanding. We decided to split the cost of a new Hock blade. I also opted for the chip breaker and should be here early next week. It’s not a rare plane and will be used a lot so figured I can justify a splurge. Just concerned it may ruin me on my other vintage irons haha

View tshiker's profile

tshiker

139 posts in 2429 days


#15 posted 06-05-2021 04:12 AM

Wow that was a very generous settlement from that seller!

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

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