Veritas’s New PM-V11 Steel Coming Soon

Not like many hand-tool woodworkers (and turners), I’m not a lot
of a metal nerd. I’m not on a quest for the metal that guarantees
the last word in edge life.

The explanation I’ve not experimented with plenty of unique steels is
that each time I used CMP-10V, CMP-3V, D2 or no matter I discovered
that these steels achieved their hard-wearing properties on the
expense of two different vital traits of device metal:
how simple it’s to sharpen on conventional gear, and the way
eager the sting might get.

In different phrases, I don’t wish to must put money into a
diamond-based sharpening system to do one airplane blade. Or I
don’t wish to have to shine the sting on my waterstones for 30
minutes. And I need my edges to be as eager as the sting I get
with old school high-carbon metal.

In truth, I’ve all the time discovered A2 a little bit annoying as a result of it
takes a very long time to sharpen it on oilstones, which is the
sharpening medium I used for a few years earlier than A2 grew to become frequent
in woodworking instruments. So a couple of decade in the past I switched to
waterstones, which sharpen A2 shortly. Waterstones are messy
and put on shortly, however I discovered the mess to be value it for the
further edge life I get with A2.

Quickly, nonetheless, my oilstones is likely to be seeing some extra use.

Not like me, Veritas of Canada has been looking out exhausting for a device
metal that’s sturdy, takes a eager edge and is simple to
sharpen. And in line with firm officers, Veritas has discovered

It’s a proprietary powdered metallic the corporate is looking
PM-V11, and after years of testing it and investing $250,000 in
the method, Veritas will quickly offer the metal in its
planes, chisels and even aftermarket blades.

Since March 2012 I’ve been testing a airplane blade comprised of
PM-V11 in my store in side-by-side exams with A2 and O1. I’m
writing a brief article on my outcomes for a fall problem of
Fashionable Woodworking Journal, so I’m not going to spill the
beans on its plusses and minuses right here within the weblog. I’m afraid
you’ll have to attend.

However I did get an opportunity to interview Robin Lee, president of
Veritas and Lee Valley Instruments, concerning the metal, and I bought a peek
on the website online ( that the corporate will
be launching quickly that explains the story behind the metal and
accommodates among the firm’s testing information.

The story of PM-V11 begins with A2 metal. Veritas was an early
adopter of A2 for its line of bench and block planes, however Lee
says he was all the time delicate to the trade-offs for the consumer.

“A2 is problematic for oilstone customers as a result of it’s a little bit
harder to sharpen,” he says. “I feel individuals hand over
too shortly once they sharpen A2 and don’t get nearly as good an edge
as they might.”

When Veritas got down to launch its line of chisels (the O1
variations have been launched already), the corporate determined to
take an extended have a look at metal know-how to see if it might discover
one or two totally different steels to make use of for these long-awaited

The corporate winnowed down an extended listing of potential device steels
to 21 sorts (among the steels had been an identical however heat-treated
in another way). Then the steels had been coded and evaluated utilizing a
blind take a look at so the researchers didn’t know which steels they
had been utilizing.

The blades had been all sharpened to the identical level after which
submitted to a collection of exams.

Affect: Veritas engineers constructed a jig that simulated the
chopping motion of a woodworker hitting a chisel into a chunk
of oak. After a lot of strikes, every edge was photographed
underneath excessive magnification to seek out edge failure (the corporate took
greater than 6,000 pictures, Lee says). The take a look at was repeated utilizing
4 totally different micro-bevel angles. For impact-resistance, the
PM-V11 outperformed all the opposite steels within the take a look at, together with
M4, A2 and O1.

Put on-resistance: Once more, the Veritas engineers constructed a jig that
simulated planing or paring a chunk of MDF, which is a mash-up
of wood-like particles and glue. Nasty stuff. After planing
100’ of MDF, the blades had been photographed. This take a look at was achieved
utilizing three bevel angles for every metal. The PM-V11
outperformed all the opposite steels within the take a look at besides one (which
was undisclosed), together with M4, A2 and O1.

Sharpenability: This take a look at was a little bit extra complicated than the
different two. To measure sharpenability, the engineers created a
process the place the blades had been sharpened in a honing information
that was held down with a four.1 lb. brass weight. The blades had been
sharpened on a number of media. After a set variety of strokes, the
edge was examined with a profilometer, which measures floor
roughness. When the floor stopped bettering on that grit, it
was moved to the following finer grit. So the engineers had been
measuring how shortly you can transfer up within the grits when
sharpening. On this take a look at, PM-V11 outperformed all the opposite
steels besides O1.

For these of you who’re data-diggers, Lee says the corporate
will likely be releasing some, however not all, of its take a look at information.

So why is the PM-V11 metal so superior? A part of the equation is
its manufacturing course of. It’s one of many “powdered metals,”
which have turn out to be an vital a part of trade over the last
40 years.

Conventional steels are combined with their alloys and poured into
moulds to create ingots. When the metal hardens, the alloys and
iron kind a matrix and tiny carbides (very exhausting particles) are
produced. Getting a superb distribution of the alloying supplies
and carbides is the problem to getting a superb metal.

With powdered metals, the method is extra complicated. The liquid
metallic is was powder by pouring it by means of pressurized
gasoline. The ensuing tremendous powder is sifted after which completely
blended to make sure even distribution of all of the components, put
right into a mould after which heated underneath stress, making a stable
billet of metal.

“It’s like an ideal pancake combine,” Lee says. “You get a really
constant formation of carbides.”

Along with being simple to sharpen, long-wearing and
immune to influence, Lee says the PM-V11 additionally has different good
qualities. For one, it may be sharpened at low bevel angles (as
low as 15°) and work very nicely. One of many downsides to A2 is
that it tends to chip at bevel angles decrease than 30°. The
PM-V11 can also be extra corrosion-resistant, Lee says.

However what about the fee? PM-V11 ought to price about 30 p.c
extra on common, relying on the device. If the cutter must be
decreased in thickness throughout manufacturing, the value might be
much more as a result of the powdered metallic must be machined at

The opposite problem, Lee says, is sustaining the corporate’s
inventory of the metal. There’s a six- to 12-month lead time when
ordering the metal from the maker. So Veritas has to look at its
inventory and plan fastidiously. However even with all these challenges,
Lee says he and the corporate are excited concerning the metal.

“We tried to seek out the candy spot for woodworkers,” Lee says.
“Utilizing your similar gear, we wished you to get efficiency
with out the additional upkeep.”

Quickly we are going to all discover out. Veritas is releasing PM-V11 airplane
blades shortly. Then the chisels. And after that, PM-V11
mortise chisels.

— Christopher Schwarz

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