In a nutshell, O1 steel is easy to hone and a very fine edge achieved relatively quickly. A2 steel is a little more difficult to sharpen but retains its edge for longer. The downside being, because of the different grain structure the A2 won’t be quite as sharp as the O1. What does this mean in practice? If you’re roughing something to size or planing abrasive exotics then A2 is probably the better choice. However, for fine finishing or the pure pleasure of working with the very sharpest of tools then go for the O1 option. For working difficult grain, blades are available with 38° or 50° bevels in A2 or O1 steel, and a toothed A2 blade. The toothed blade is ideal for working with difficult grain, especially knots. The small, square teeth leave a textured surface that can be smoothed with a finely set plane or a scraper.