There must be thousands of Record and Stanley planes still in everyday use all over the world. It is surprising how much the performance of these planes can be enhanced with a little tuning. Making sure the sole is flat is an important stage in this process and replacing the blade with a better quality version is perhaps the most beneficial next step. More than two years of research and testing by Veritas went into PM-V11, a new steel alloy. The PM refers to a process known as powder metallurgy. It involves atomising molten metals, cooling and hardening the powder, finally heating it under pressure to form an ingot. PM-V11 is a specific mixture of metals combined into a unique alloy. The resulting steel has a very fine, uniform grain structure. It is inherently more durable than steels produced using ordinary manufacturing processes. Blades made from PM-V11 are highly resistant to dulling or damage from wear and impact. These blades can take a keen edge and hold it through extended use. PM-V11 is as easy to sharpen using water stones or other common sharpening methods. Veritas cap irons, also known as chipbreakers are also available for these blades and these are also a big improvement on the ones supplied with the planes. Blades and cap irons are available in 2" and 2.3/8" widths with 2" suitable for no.4 and 5 planes and 2.3/8" for 4.1/2, 5.1/2, 6 and 7 N.B. These Veritas PM-V11 blades are thicker than the standard blade so the mouth of the plane may need to be opened up a bit. This is a simple process using a good quality file and the pawl on the end of the lateral adjust lever on older planes may have to be filed slightly to fit in the blade slot.