Since posting this I have talked to several people, most notably, Carl Bilderback of the Midwest Tool Collectors Association, and have reached the conclusion that the wear created by dragging the plane back on the return stroke is increasing the wear bevel on the iron and is therefore adding to the cutting edge wear. That said, I still drag my planes back on the return stroke, though as I stated in a reply to a comment, with significantly lessened pressure. Over time I have noticed no noticeable difference in sharpening intervals when lightly dragging the plane back or lifting it off the work on the return stroke. It is far less fatiguing to drag the plane back on the return stroke than to lift it from the work, especially on a long planning session. BUT PLEASE NOTE THAT BY DOING SO YOU ARE ADDING TO THE CUTTING EDGE WEAR.
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I remember being taught never to drag a hand plane back on the return stroke. Always lift it on the return.
Just another “old wives tale“. In fact it is good to lightly drag your plane back on the return stroke. Most wood contains silica in varying degrees. Silica is an abrasive. By lightly dragging your plane back on the return you are doing a little sharpening. this method is also a lot less tiring. When you plane all day this little trick can make a difference in your level of fatigue.
As always thanks for stopping by and please feel free to leave a comment.