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Nice work Reply. Nowadays, ink can be purchased in a rainbow of colors, some in permanent ink and even some that glow-in-the-dark. The oldest known wooden structure is a neolithic well liner discovered near Leipzig Germany, woodworking with simple tools quotes from oak timbers shaped by stone adze and joined at the corners with half-lap joints and pinned tusk-tenons at through mortises. The sumitsubo works on various surfaces yools wood, stone, concrete, gypsum board, and other construction materials. If I lie may crickets be my only friends.

If someone tells you they can tell the difference by looking at it, tell them to pull the other one. There are those who insist they can tell the difference between steels by licking them. Your humble servant has never tested these claims, even on a dare, and never will.

Please excuse this affectation. My tardis is just over there. A change into period-correct wardrobe will not be necessary, but please try not to embarrass me in front of the locals. Satetsu looks exactly like black sand. It is quite common throughout the world, as you may discover if you drag a magnet through a sandy river. Typically found in rivers and estuaries, for many centuries the area around Yasugi City in Shimane Prefecture was a prime source.

Satetsu was historically harvested in Japan using dredges and sluices creating horrendous environmental damage. Japanese satetsu as harvested is a fairly pure form of iron lacking nearly all the impurities typically found in iron ore from mines. This webpage has some interesting photos of tamahagane.

Tatara furnaces are still operated today producing Tamahagane in limited quantities for use by registered sword smiths. Tool blacksmiths use Tamahagane occasionally too out of interest in traditional materials and methods. It is expensive and difficult to work, with lots of waste. Clearly, Tamahagane was very labor intensive. Besides its peculiar forging characteristics, compared to modern tool steels Tamahagane is a difficult material infamous for being easily ruined and extremely sensitive to temperature during all phases of forging and heat treatment.

In use, tools made from Tamahagane behave differently from modern commercial steel, or so I am told. I own and use a straight razor custom forged from Tamahagane for me many years ago by Mr. I also own antique Scheffield and German razors, but my Iwasaki razor puts them all to shame in terms of sharpness, edge retention, and ease of sharpening.

I also own a couple of antique Tamahagane saws, but I have not used them much, nor have I used Tamahagane chisels, planes or knives, so my experience is limited to this one wickedly sharp little blade.

Why do I bother Gentle Reader with this story of ancient techniques and obscure products no longer viable?

Although imported Western steel served Japan well during its advance to modernity, the memory of the performance of cutting tools made from Tamahagane remained alive in the national memory. May that evening come soon. Enough ancient history. Besides, the import taxes are pure murder. And be careful no little kids sneak in with you.

When Japan began to mass-produce commercial steel from imported pig iron using modern techniques, the first tool steel made was identical to Western steels, including the impurities. Eventually, to satisfy the irrepressible sharpness gene of their domestic customers, Japanese blacksmiths and tool manufacturers pressured Japanese steel companies to produce steels with fewer impurities and with performance characteristics approaching traditional Tamahagane.

Rising to the challenge, Hitachi Metals endeavored to replicate the performance of Tamagane using modern smelting techniques and imported pig iron and scrap metal instead of expensive and environmentally unsustainable satetsu.

Hitachi purchased and modernized an old steel plant in Yasugi for this purpose. They formulated the best steel they could make using the best pig iron they could find, mostly from Sweden, an area famous for hundreds of years for producing especially pure iron ore. Each of these products are available in various subgroups, each having a unique chemical formulation.

Problematic, that. Few chemicals humans make are absolutely pure, and while White Label, Blue Label, and Yellow Label steels have exceptionally low amounts of undesirable contaminants, they do exist. Dealing with the results of these impurities has been the bane of blacksmiths since the iron age.

The most common undesirable impurities include Phosphorus reduces ductility, increases brittleness, and messes with heat treating , Silicon a useful chemical but too much decreases impact resistance , and Sulfur a demonic chemical that reduces strength, increases brittleness and warping.

Obviously, something must be done about these bad boys. While some impurities can be eliminated through heat and chemical reactions, it is not possible to reduce the content of those listed above to insignificant levels through smelting alone.

Undesirable chemicals can be tolerated in steel to some degree because, like arsenic in drinking water and carbon monoxide in air, below certain levels they cause no significant harm. White Label steel is plain high-carbon steel without other additives, while Blue Label, Yellow Label, Silver Label, and Aogami Super steels have various chemicals added to achieve specific performance criteria.

Please see the flowchart below. Another technique used to mitigate the negative effects of impurities found in steel ore is to add chemicals to the mix. Such high-alloy steels can reliably produce useful tools in mass-production situations by untrained labor and with minimal manpower spent on quality control. But no matter the hype, such chemicals do not improve sharpness or make sharpening easier.

If you look at the table below, you will notice that White Label and Blue Label steels both have the same minute allowable amounts of harmful impurities such as Silicon, Phosphorus, and Sulfur. Carbon of course is the element that changes soft iron into hardenable steel, so all five steels listed in the table above contain carbon, but you will notice that White Label No.

Likewise, Blue Label No. The greater the carbon content, the harder the steel can be made, but with increased hardness comes increased brittleness, so White Label No. Accordingly, White Label No. In the case of chisels, plane blades, and kitchen knives intended for professional use, White Label No.

Where high performance at less cost is required, Blue Label No. With impurities and carbon content the same, the chemical difference between White Label No. Chrome, and especially tungsten are expensive chemicals that make Blue Label steel costlier than White Label Steel steel, but with easier quality control and fewer rejects, overall production costs are reduced. All things considered, and this is a critical point to understand, compared to White Label Steel, Blue Label steel is easier to use, and more productive despite being a more expensive material.

Indeed, many blacksmiths and all mass-producers prefer Blue Label steel over White Label Steel, when given a choice, because it is easier to use and more profitable, not because it makes a superior blade. Many wholesalers and retailers insist that Blue Label steel is superior to White Label Steel because it is costlier and contains elements that make it more resistant to wear and abrasion intimating that it will stay sharper longer.

To the easily deceived and those who do not follow this blog this may make perfect sense. But when wise Gentle Readers hear this sort of tripe they will know to gird up their loins and ready their BS shovels to keep their heads above the stinky, brown flood.

Wise Gentle Readers who choose blades forged from Blue Label Steel will do so because they know that Blue Label steel makes a fine blade at less cost than White Label Steel, not because Blue Label Steel blades are superior in performance. Moreover, regardless of the steel used, they will always purchase blades forged by blacksmiths that possess the requisite dedication and have mastered the skills and QC procedures necessary to routinely produce high-quality blades from the more difficult White Label Steel.

The reasons are made clear in the Technical Example below. In the case of quenching, the steel is heated to a specific temperature, maintained at that temperature for a set amount of time, and then plunged into either water or oil, locking the dissolved carbon in the steel into a rigid crystalline structure containing hard carbide particles. After this process the steel is quite hard, indeed brittle enough to shatter if dropped onto a concrete floor, for instance; Basically useless.

This is achieved by reheating the steel to a set temperature for a set period of time and then cooling it in a specific way. This heating and cooling can happen in air e. All that really matters is the temperature curve applied.

Every blacksmith has their own preferences and procedures. If quenching is attempted outside these ranges, hardening will fail and the blade may be ruined.

Please note that this is a very narrow range to both judge and maintain in the case of yellow-hot steel, demanding a sharp, well-trained eye, a good thermometer, proper preparation, and speedy, decisive action. The practical temperature range for quenching and tempering Blue Label steel is still quite narrow, but this increase in the allowable margin of error makes the job a lot easier, making Blue Label Steel much less risky to heat-treat successfully than White Label steel.

Judging and maintaining proper temperatures during forging, quenching and tempering operations is where all blacksmiths, without exception, fail when they first begin working plain high-carbon steel. The guidance of a patient master, time and perseverance are necessary to develop the knack. Experience matters. I hope this partially brings into focus the challenges these two steels present to the blacksmith.

If you seek greater adventure, please look online to find similar data for many of the popular high-alloy tool steels. Comparing those numbers to White Label steel and Blue Label steel will help you understand why mass-producers of tools, with their lowest-possible-cost mindset, non-existent quality control efforts, and workforce of uneducated peasant farmers instead of trained blacksmiths, prefer them for making the sharpened screwdrivers represented as chisels nowadays.

A huge advantage of chrome and tungsten additives is that they reduce warpage and cracking significantly. This matters because a blacksmith using plain high-carbon steel like White Label steel must anticipate the amount of warpage that will occur during quenching and shape the chisel, knife, or plane blade in the opposite direction so that the blade straightens out when quenched.

This exercise requires a lot of experience to get right consistently, making White Label steel steel totally unsuitable for mass-production. Steel is an interesting material. When yellow hot, the carbon is dissolved and moves relatively freely within the iron matrix. Anneal the steel by heating it and then cooling it slowly and the carbon molecules will migrate into relatively isolated clumps with little crystalline structure leaving the steel soft.

But if the steel is heated to the right temperature and suddenly cooled by quenching, the carbon is denied the time and freedom it had during the annealing process, instead becoming locked into the iron matrix forming Easy Woodworking Projects With Hand Tools 3nd a hard, rigid crystalline structure. An interesting example is a sword blade. A Japanese sword blade is typically shaped either straight or curved towards the cutting edge before quenching, but during quenching the blade warps and curves without encouragement from the blacksmith.

The skill and experience required to pre-judge the amount of this warpage and the resulting curvature of the blade, and then compensate while shaping the blade before quenching to achieve the desired curvature post-quench is not something one learns in just a few months or even years. Unlike Tamahagane, however, modern commercial steels containing alloys like chrome and tungsten warp much less, and suffer far fewer shrinkage cracks.

Aogami Super is another steel in the table above. Consequently, it is even more expensive. Aogami Super was originally developed as a high-speed tool steel especially resistant to wear.

There are much better steels available for this role now, but Aogami Super is still hanging in there. But all is not blue bunnies and fairy farts because high-alloy steels have some disadvantages too. Tungsten makes the steel warp less and expands the heat-treat and tempering temperature ranges significantly leading to fewer defects during production.

White Label steel has no additives other than carbon. It does not need additives to compensate for or to dilute impurities because its production begins with exceptionally pure pig iron, mostly from Sweden for many centuries the source of the purest iron in the world , and carefully tested and sorted scrap metal. Nearly all the tool steel available nowadays contains high percentages of scrap metal content. Scrap metal is simply too cost effective to ignore.

Careful testing is the key to using scrap metal advantageously. Gentle Reader may have found the historical and chemical information presented above interesting, but they do not really answer questions you may have about the performance differences between these steels, and when presented a choice, which one you should purchase.

Your humble servant has been asked and answered these questions hundreds of times, and while only you can decide which steel is best for you, I will be so bold as to share with you the viewpoint of the Japanese blacksmith and woodworking professional.

Long story short, in the case of planes and chisels, the typical choices of steel are still White Label No. These steels will not be available much longer. White Label steel simply warps and cracks more, but when failure occurs it only becomes apparent after all the work of laminating, forging and shaping are complete. Ruined steel cannot be reliably re-forged or re-used, so all the material and labor costs up to the point of failure are simply wasted like an expectation of honesty in a California politician.

It is not a material for careless people or newbies. The steel that is, not the politician who is certainly irredeemable. So if White Label steel blades are riskier to make, with more wastage, and therefore more expensive, what are the performance characteristics that make White Label steel blades a favorite with professional Japanese craftsmen?

Two primary reasons: First, properly made White Label steel blades can be made sharper. Second, properly made White Label steel blades are easier, quicker and more pleasant to sharpen.

That sums it up. To some people this difference matters a great deal; To others, not so much. Is White Label steel worth the extra cost? I think so, but the performance differential is not huge, and only someone with advanced sharpening skills will be able to take full advantage of the difference.

For most people on a tight budget, or in the case of woodworking situations where sharpness is not critical, and sharpening speed and pleasure are not driving factors, then a less-expensive Blue Label steel blade is perhaps a better choice. It absolutely makes a fine tool that does a great job of cutting wood.

Question 1: Will the additional sharpness of a White Label steel plane blade create a smoother, shinier finish surface on wood than a Blue Label steel blade?

Answer 1: Definitely no. But since it started out a little sharper, it will cut a little better a little longer. Answer 2: Absolutely yes. On condition that the user possesses the skills to achieve and maintain that extra degree of sharpness. There is a reason sharpening has always been the first essential skill in woodworking. But whether plane blade, chisel or knife, a properly forged and heat-treated blade made by an experienced professional blacksmith from simple White Label steel will always be quicker and more pleasant to sharpen than if made of Blue Label steel with its added sticky chrome and hard tungsten.

You may find all this technical stuff a bit obscure, but perhaps a real-world example with pretty pictures will help bring things into focus. If you input the URL into Google and use the translate feature a decent English-language version can be seen. Some of the key results are copied below.

The steel being tested in the study outlined below is White Label No. They heat-treated seven samples and listed the results. Lower temps are not as good. Higher temps are worse. The photographs below tells the story graphically. When Ferrite and carbon combine to form a hard crystalline structure, desirable Martensite is formed, although there are several steps in between we will not touch on.

This subtle change is the essence of the ancient Mystery of Steel, and the keystone to modern civilization. Notice how the soft Ferrite and spherical carbon are isolated from each other indicative of little crystalline structure and a soft metal. No significant Martensite is visible. The table in Fig. This is the sweet spot. Notice how the ferrite and spherical carbon are mixing, forming some gray-colored Martensite, but there are still big lakes of Ferrite visible.

This is not acceptable. Notice how the Ferrite and spherical carbon are well-mixed forming pretty grey Martensite, indicating that this is close to the ideal quench and tempering protocol; The sweet spot. The crystalline structure shows few lakes of Ferrite or islands of carbon typical of durable, hard, fine-grained steel. This is still within the quench temp range recommended by Hitachi.

Notice how the Ferrite and spherical carbon are still fairly well-mixed, but the dark spherical carbon is becoming a bit more isolated from the ferrite forming more, darker groupings.

While the Martensite formed is still quite adequate, the performance of this steel may not be as ideal as that in Fig. Notice also that the hardness of the steel has dropped slightly. Once again, significant degradation in the uniformity of the crystalline structure and loss of Martensite is apparent. The fibrous-appearing white stuff is considered retained Austenite, a formation that can later be converted into hard Martensite.

Clearly, Shirogami No. If I lie may my mustache forever smell like Corrosion-X. Between damaged tools and guns, corrosion prevention has been a high priority for your humble servant over the years motivating me to purchase many corrosion-prevention products and test them in various climates.

After climbing mountains of hype and swimming floods of BS I think at last I have something of value, perhaps even the genuine article, to share with Gentle Readers.

There are three aspects of corrosion prevention for steel tools we will address in this article: Corrosion due to sharpening, corrosion due to handling, and corrosion due to storage. But first, to help Gentle Reader understand the basis for the measures I will recommend below, allow me to explain my sharpening philosophy.

Embarrassment is a fine teacher. Professional craftsmen have no choice but to constantly maintain and repair the tools of their trade, but necessary or no, clients and employers often resent the time craftsmen they hire spend maintaining tools during the work day.

After all, they are paying them to make a product, not to fiddle with tools. This is not some feel-good yuppy-zen BS, but a serious, concrete work philosophy with physical and financial consequences. It was taught to me by experienced craftsmen in America and Japan, all since retired to the big lumberyard in the sky, who knew what they were about. It has served me well. So how do I keep working when blades dull, planes stop shaving, power tools stop spinning and bits stop biting?

This means I must purchase, sharpen, fettle and carry around more tools than I am likely to use during that workday. But since my tools are partners that earn their keep, it is not wasted money or effort. And because I sharpen in batches, as do professional sharpeners, I have given great thought over the years to maximizing positive results such as speed, sharpness achieved, and economical use of stones while minimizing negative results such as rusted steel.

I humbly encourage Gentle Readers to give these matters just a few seconds of consideration. What have you got to lose besides steel? The corrosion risk to tools when sharpening is corrosion caused by residual water in the scratches, cracks and crevices of the blade, as well as accumulated chlorine from tap water, promoting rust, especially at the very thin cutting edge.

When sharpening a batch of blades in my workshop, after a blade is done on the final finish stone, I dry it with a clean paper towel, apply a few drops of Corrosion Block , smear it around on the blade to ensure a complete coating, and set it aside to draw water out of the pores and seal the steel.

It works. Corrosion-X is another good, but stinkier, product. Neither is good enough long-term, however. This is a paraffin-based corrosion preventative that floats out water. CRC sprays on easily and soaks into Woodworking With Simple Tools Java everything, and if allowed to dry, will give good long-term protection, as in years. Ergo, Corrosion Block first. A gentle flower, indeed. But I digress.

This system works fine for short-term, and even for long-term storage if I wrap the tool in newspaper or plastic to protect the coating. He was right. A useful trick I learned from sword sharpeners is to use chlorine-free, slightly alkaline water for sharpening. I mix Borax powder with distilled water in a plastic lab bottle to use to keep stones wet and to wash blades when sharpening.

Washing soda works too. A little lye added to sharpening water will also increase its pH. Using such water will not entirely prevent corrosion, but it certainly slows it way down. Test it for yourself. We sometimes pull out a chisel, saw, or plane blade to gaze upon it.

They are lovely creatures, after all. There are two things to be aware of when doing this, however. When you touch bare steel with your hands, skin oils, sweat, and the salt contained in sweat stick to the steel and will cause rust. The solution is to avoid touching bare steel you will later store away with bare fingers, and if you do touch the blade, wipe it clean and apply some oil from your oilpot or spray can right away before returning it to storage.

Gentle Reader may be unaware, but there can be no doubt that harsh words not only hurt the tender feelings of quality tools, but can directly damage them.

How do I know that rude language offends steel tools, you say? In addition, over the years I learned a thing or two from professional Japanese sword sharpeners and evaluators, who are even more obsessed with rust than your paranoid humble servant, no doubt because of the high financial and historical costs of corrosion in rare and expensive antique weapons. With the gift to the entire world of the Wuhan Virus from the Chinese Communist Party, we have all become more aware of the human tendency to constantly spew droplets of bodily fluids, often containing nasty bugs, into the air around us sometimes with unpleasant consequences.

Corrosion ensues. In Japan it is considered rude to speak when holding a bare sword. Indeed, it is SOP to require viewers who will get close to a bare blade to place a piece of clean paper between their teeth to confirm the mouth is indeed closed and not spewing droplets of spit onto the blade.

I am not exaggerating the cumulative long-term damage fingerprints and moisture droplets expelled from human mouths and noses cause to steel objects. Any museum curator can confirm. How does this all apply to woodworking tools? If Gentle Reader takes a tool out of storage and either talks to it, or to humans around it, please wipe it clean, apply oil, and rewrap it unless you will be using it immediately. Tools deserve respect. Some tools are vindictive if offended, donchano.

The air on earth contains dust and moisture. Dust often contains abrasive particles harder than steel as well as salts and other corrosive chemicals. We must keep these particles and chemicals away from our tools.

Air also contains moisture that, given access and a temperature differential, can condense on steel tool blades causing condensation rust. Your humble servant discussed these matters in length in earlier articles about toolchests, but a critical criteria of proper storage is to prevent dust from landing on tools, and to prevent the tools from exposure to airborne moisture and temperature differentials.

A closed, tightly sealed, clean container, cabinet, toolchest or toolbox is better for tool storage than pegboards or shelves. If Gentle Reader does not already have such a tool container of some sort, I urge you to procure or make one.

Your humble servant owns and uses tool rolls. They are handy for transporting tools such as chisels, files rasps and saws, but they have limitations Gentle Readers need to be aware of. The first problem with tool rolls is that they appear to protect the cutting edges of chisels and saws, but that is only wishful thinking because the delicate and dangerous cutting edges are only hidden behind a thin layer of cotton or leather. Guess what happens if you drop a cloth tool roll of sharp chisels onto a concrete slab.

If you bump a tool roll of chisels against another tool, then brush your hand against the now exposed but hidden cutting edges while digging in your toolbox, sticky red stuff may get everywhere. Will the bloodshed never end!? Do tool rolls protect tools against corrosion? Well, the kitchen is the most used room in the house and I guess you could say that the kitchen cabinet is probably the most used thing in that room.

But with time and repeated cleanings, well, they can end up looking pretty shabby. So if your cabinets look something like this and well, it's not time to replace or reface them yet, then you might want to consider refurbishing them with a combination coating and stain. It's easy to use and inexpensive. While it's possible to refinish cabinets with the doors in place, I don't recommend it. I've always gotten better results by detaching the doors from the cabinets, Woodworking Projects Without Power Tools On taking out all the shelves, removing the knobs or handles — then taking off the hinges.

Most of the time when I do a cabinet facelift like this, I find myself updating the hardware anyway. Kitchen cabinets invariably accumulate cooking oil on their surfaces, especially those near the stove.

Mineral spirits found in any hardware store or home center, does a good job of cleaning off that residue. I like to dampen a soft cloth with a solvent and go over the surface two or three times, turning the cloth as I go. You'll usually be able to see the grime you've picked up. Now I can do a bit of light sanding with fine grit paper. By folding a quarter sheet of sandpaper into thirds like this, I can use every bit of it.

On flat surfaces, I press down evenly with my fingers and use long, straight strokes, always moving in the direction of the grain to avoid unsightly scratches. To sand moldings and trim, I use individual fingers so the sandpaper will conform to the curved profiles. When the blade I'm using becomes dull, I simply detach it from the handle and replace it with a new one. The Ryoba Saw - This saw is the mainstay of the Japanese woodworker. It has crosscut teeth on one side and rip teeth on the other.

Because it has no back, it's well suited for cutting through thicker lumber. When ripping with this saw, I start on the edge furthest from me and cut with the blade in a nearly horizontal position. Cutting on the full stroke like this allows me to easily see where I'm going and gives me more control and accuracy than I can get with a conventional, push-type saw.

A nice feature of this model is that I can tilt the blade and often get into awkward or tight spots that would otherwise be impossible to reach. Not everyone is in a position to do a project themselves. That's why I've partnered with HomeAdvisor.



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