A long long existing solution.
The world of woodworking demands attention to detail, a steady hand, and tools that are fit for the task. A plane is the cornerstone of any woodworker’s toolkit, whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting out. When selecting the right plane blade, both shapenability and durability must be taken into consideration.
Historically, plane blades were laminated worldwide; but recently, the industrial revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries saw a significant increase in steel production and usage as new methods were developed to manufacture steel more efficiently and cost-effectively. The widespread use of steel in construction, transportation, and manufacturing also brought down its cost, making it more accessible and affordable for a wider range of consumers and applications, including all-steel plane blades featuring manufacturing simplicity. However, This came at the cost of sharpening effort on the craftsperson side, which leads to thinner blades, whose thiner bevels adds more difficulty in sharpening. Alas, to solve a problem with another, something called honing guide appeared on earth.
Here at Zen-Wu, we strive for excellence and this is why laminated cutters emerged as a solution. They offer woodworkers the best of both worlds: sharpenability and durability.
Laminated cutters are made by combining different layers of materials, with high-performance tool steels on a softer base material. This creates a blade that is both durable and resistant to chipping, as well as easy to sharpen. The key is to choose materials with different properties, with the cutting edge made of a harder and tougher material and the body of the blade made of a softer material. This reduces sharpening effort and increases edge retention, ensuring the blade stays sharp for longer. The softer material layer absorbs vibrations, reducing tear-out and providing a pleasant, distinct feedback that is particularly pronounced with titanium blades. This ensures a stable and consistent planing experience.
Laminated cutters are not only a practical approach but also a conscious decision. They provide a longer service life, especially with rust-free base materials, and reduce carbon-inefficient steel usage. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, a still-sharp edge speaks for itself.