Not long ago, Ron Hock contacted me with a question. If you’re not familiar with Ron – and honestly it’s hard to imagine that you aren’t – Ron has been the woodworking world’s foremost blade maker for some 40-plus years now, and his company Hock Tools has been one of the pillars supporting the hand tool woodworking community since 8-tracks were still in common use.
As it turned out, Ron had contacted me because he was planning to shut down the custom blade-making arm of Hock Tools – but first wanted to be able to refer customers to another source for custom blades, and wondered if I would be interested.
Honestly, I thought about it longer than I really needed to – of course I would be interested. After all, I’ve been making my own blades for well over a decade now, and have made quite a few custom blades for customers over the years as well – and I have been working for several years with a local heat treating company which does excellent work. So in the end there was really nothing to say but ‘of course – and thanks for thinking of me.’
And so it gives me great pleasure – or at least a degree of satisfaction – to announce the new Daed Custom arm of Daed Toolworks.
The basics – lead time and costs.
Custom blades – whether for a vintage plane, shop-made tools, or your own planemaking business – are available on a rolling basis. Lead time varies somewhat with the heat treating schedule, but generally turnaround is between 4 and 8 weeks.
Typical O1 tool steel blades start at $85 for a single blade. Blades made from other steels, including A2, are a possibility – but lead times for those blades can be substantially longer, and pricing is generally a bit higher as well. For those reasons, and others, I tend to discourage orders for blades in other than O1. Having said that, though – it never hurts to ask.
For double-iron blade sets, cap irons (chip breakers) are offered in 1018 or comparable low carbon steel. Because mild steel is so much easier to work, and they dont require heat treating, pricing for cap irons is substantially lower, starting at $45.
Other Custom Tooling
I have a fairly robust one-man machine shop, and I welcome inquiries about other custom tooling, or small runs of parts. Need a custom lever cap? A small runs of parts for your own product? Ask away – I’m happy to entertain inquiries for just about any job that relates to the woodworking world, and many that don’t.
Ordering a blade is simple and straightforward. It starts with an email to [email protected] telling me what you are interested in, and any questions you might have. The next step is to provide me with a dimensioned drawing. Drawings needn’t be pretty, professional, to scale, or anything else. I just need the specifications, size and locations of any features such as slots for a cap iron screw, holes or recesses to mate with adjusters, and any other features you may need or want. A drawing in Crayon on toilet paper that you photograph with your cell phone is absolutely fine as long as the critical dimensions are legible.
From your drawing, I will develop a CAD model of your blade, and from that model I will produce another drawing with all the relevant details and dimensions. I then send the finished drawing back to you for confirmation, and any additional info I may need. Once we are both satisfied the drawing is complete and correct, I get to work making your blade. Once the blade is finished, it goes out with the next heat treating batch – which generally happen about once per month.
Once the blade has been sent off for heat treating – a process that rarely takes longer than 2-3 business days – I let you know when your blade will be ready to ship, and only at that point do I send an invoice for payment.