The Pros and Cons of A2, O1, and PM-V11

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I was reading a review of the PM-V11 steel from the Fine Woodworking site recently here -> Not sure if it needs a sub for that page. The bottom line is that it depends on what you are doing but if you can afford it it is well worth the extra money.


The steel appears to sharpen as easily as the other tool steels but the edge remains longer due to the fine consistent grain pattern. Oh, and remember that the finer you hone the longer the edge will last so to take full advantage of the steel you probably need to hone to the highest grit you have.


As for the V11 I get the impression that it can mean whatever you want it to mean. Spinal Tap reference, Veritas version, 11, fill in the blank with your own answer.

Chris Gochnour reviewed PMV11 in FW and loved it, though it did "finish second" to a premium Japanese chisel of his.  He didn't say one way or the other, but I assume that Japanese chisel was plain high carbon steel in lamination.


Here's the link:

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In my tests, the PM-V11 finished second to Koyamaichi white steel. 


Other chisels were a vintage Stanley 750 (High Carbon /O1 steel) and Blue Spruce (A2 steel).


It is worth repeating the results here:


"The PM-V11 and the White Steel really do deliver. The gap between them and the A2 and O1/HCS is very large. There is no appreciable extra effort to hone the steels when used with modern waterstones, such as Shaptons (used here) or Sigmas.

It must be emphasised that this was about the steel, not the chisels. What do I mean by that? A chisel is not simply a lump of steel with a handle. Edge-holding is sometimes less important than balance and control and comfort when in use. The Stanley here is one of my favourite users as I customised the handles for myself. The Blue Spruce is one of the nicest chisels around, with arguably the best handles made on this planet. The Veritas handles are really excellent as well, and the balance in use is surprisingly good, and they are lighter than they look, but not as light as the BS. The Koyamaichi are designed to be hit with a gennou rather than pushed, but do so OK. All good chisels. It is only when one works mongrel wood that good steel becomes a dominating factor."


Regards from Perth



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Here is an interesting spec sheet on white and blue steel:


Is it fair to say that in its finest iteration high carbon steel is still the best?  And that PMVII seems to be the best of the rest?  



No Charles, that's a big leap. You are being deliberately reductionistic to support your view, and it does not float.


If it is carbon steel that you believe to be best, then how do you account for the vintage Stanley 750 doing so poorly (as did the Clifton bench plane blade in the test I did with the shooting boards and various blade steels)?


The fact is that Japanese laminated blades are "the best" steels (in my opinion). They have a different construction, a different method of manufacture, and a different hardness rating. Western high carbon steel is not the same thing.


Regards from Perth



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