In Tool Reviews

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The aftermarket bench plane blades market is brimming with quality options, from Hock to Veritas to WoodRiver, and now, Taylor Toolworks Premium Blades. A common feature of these premium blades is their thicker steel construction compared to the classic Record or Stanley blades. This thickness enhances stability, facilitates easier freehand sharpening using the Hollow Grind technique, and significantly reduces chatter, resulting in smoother planing surfaces.

We fitted our Taylor Toolworks #4-1/2 plane with a Premium A2 blade to improve its edge longevity.

These blades typically come in a few standard steel types, each with different hardness and edge retention qualities. High carbon steel, such as O1, is the most affordable and offers good edge retention but requires more frequent sharpening. A2 steel blades, like those in the Taylor Toolworks line, are harder and retain an edge longer than O1, making them a more durable option. At the top tier is the Veritas PM-V11, known for its exceptional edge retention and toughness, outperforming both O1 and A2 in terms of maintaining a sharp edge.

The unique aspect of Taylor Toolworks’ Premium blade is its A2 steel composition at a price comparable to high carbon O1 steel. Recently, I ordered a Taylor Toolworks blade for our school’s woodworking program to replace the original O1 blade on our 4-½ smoothing plane. The original blade wasn’t bad, but since I needed a new blade for our old Stanley #6 plane, I decided to get a new blade and repurpose the existing 4-½ blade for the #6, while fitting the new premium blade into the 4-½.

Blade Compatibility

If you use the original chip breaker, thicker aftermarket plane blades typically fit older Stanley and Record planes made in the last 40 to 50 years without issues. However, in some cases, a thicker blade may require adjustments to the plane yolk or an increase in the mouth opening. If you opt for a thicker aftermarket blade and a thicker chip breaker, you might encounter compatibility issues with the existing mechanism. Moving the frog backward and acquiring a longer clamp-down screw can often resolve these problems.

The new premium blade and the original thick chip breaker that came with the plane are available on the company’s website. Affordable aftermarket chip breakers are also available.

Mike Taylor includes extensive information on the product page to help buyers understand the dimensions and fit requirements of the premium blade for older planes. Reading all the details before ordering is crucial to avoid disappointment if the blade doesn’t fit your plane, leading to one or two negative reviews.

After receiving the blade, I spent minimal time flattening the back and creating a secondary bevel on a flat stone. We’ve been using this blade for several months now. My students have been planing various types of wood, from rock maple to hard ash, and facing various planing challenges. I am thoroughly impressed by the blade’s ability to maintain its edge for a significant period. If you’re in the market for a thick, high-quality aftermarket plane blade and want to avoid exorbitant costs, consider this product.

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