How to Sharpen Plane Irons

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A good way to maintain the edge of a plane iron is by sharpening it regularly. In this article, I’ll discuss the best methods for beveling up or down and how to set up the tool in a honing guide. Also, I’ll discuss the best way to polish or strop. And finally, I’ll discuss why polishing is best. Let’s get started!

Bevel up vs. bevel down

The difference between bevel up and bevel down plane irons is the angle of attack on the cutting edge. Whether a plane is bevel up or bevel down depends on its purpose. Planes that are bevel up have a more pronounced bevel than bevel down planes do, which makes them more useful for specialized tasks. However, bevel up planes can still be sharpened using the same tricks, and the angle of attack is still the same.

In the case of a BD plane, the bed blade is typically at a 45-degree angle of attack. Higher angles of attack work better on difficult grain, because the fibers won’t be torn out. In contrast, bevel down planes are used on smaller planes and can be sharpened with both methods. However, most woodworking shops use both methods.

The difference between bevel up and bevel down is apparent when inspecting a plane blade. The top of a bevel up plane iron is the highest-quality, and the bevel side is the worst. You don’t want to end up with a blunt blade or a sharp edge. Sharpening a plane iron with bevel down can make it look sharp and attractive – as long as you keep it square!

If you choose bevel up planes, you’ll want to carefully adjust the angle of attack to match the wood you’re sharpening. This angle is the angle at which the edge strikes the wood. The steeper the angle, the more aggressive the edge. Similarly, if you choose a bevel down plane, you’ll need to re-ground the bevel to reduce the angle.

Polishing or stropping is best way to maintain an edge

When you are polishing or stropping your plane iron, make sure the cap iron is at a constant angle. You don’t want the blade to roll, but instead you want the iron to abrade the steel or iron. Using a sharpie to color the edge is another option. Polishing the back of the cutting iron will make it more aesthetically pleasing, and is especially important for old plane irons.

During stropping, you will smooth the back bevel of your edge. You should use a quality compound to avoid any dubs. If you don’t follow the directions, you will contaminate the strop with metal shavings. Metal shavings also have the potential to adversely affect the fine structure of metal. In addition, stropping can ruin the edge of a plane iron if you don’t properly use the tool.

The strops come in various materials, and the most common one is cowhide. It offers friendly draw and is reasonably priced. Some professionals use horsehide and bison hide as strops. Horsehide strops are slicker and have finer grit. If you don’t like cowhide, you can try a horsehide strop. It has less draw but is very effective for polishing the edge.

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Another method for stropping plane irons is by applying a stropping compound. To strop a plane iron, apply a layer of the compound onto the surface and then rub it in the same direction as a 0.5 micron abrasive. Once that layer is dry, you can use the compound to touch up and polish the edge. After this, use a stropping compound to polish the iron’s surface again.

Setting up the tool in the honing guide

Before using your honing guide, you need to set up the jig. A jig has four steps, varying in depth. The deeper the tread, the lower the angle of honing. To make your own jig, cut a square or rectangular block of wood. Mark the dimensions of each step and cut the wood. You can find the correct step depth in your honing guide or follow the instructions included with it.

Honing guides range in price from $20 to $100. They consist of two halves: the clamp on one end holds the tool while the roller at the other end lets the tool travel back and forth. It can help you get a sharp edge. The guides vary in size and are designed to fit thin, straightedged tools. Some can also handle thick-shanked or tapered tools. The honing process is completed with a diamond plate and standard whetstone.

The Veritas honing guide is the predecessor to the Mk. II version. The company continues to make this model, despite the advent of personal computers. The Veritas honing guide is a convenient tool that’s easy to use. A small knob on the roller provides an easy way to micro-bevel any blade, whether it is a chisel, scissors, or other cutting tool.

Another type of honing guide is the Eclipse style. Like the “Eclipse” style, this one uses a single screw to operate the clamping jaws. It is designed to keep the cutting tool square to the roller and offers two clamping positions. The upper opening is designed for wide tools, while the lower one features a V-groove for thinner tools. You can adjust the upper and lower projections according to your needs, but the guide will only hold a small amount of tools at a time.

Using an oilstone

A traditional way of sharpening plane irons is to use an oilstone. To sharpen plane irons, place them on an oilstone and move them around in a figure-eight motion. The water stone should be soaked in water before use, while the oil stone should be wiped with fine cutting oil. To avoid clogging, both water and oilstones should be clean before use.

Oilstones come in a box with screws that attach to a scrap piece of timber or your work piece. When you are sharpening a plane iron, you must lubricate the stone with oil or water to make it more effective. You can also use a rag to clean the stone. Oilstones can get dusty and dirty over time, so you should wipe it down every few uses.

Oilstones are compatible with diamond stones, but they tend to be more aggressive than waterstones. If you plan to sharpen a large number of plane irons in a short time, waterstones are best for final sharpening. However, waterstones should be flattened after a few uses. This way, they can withstand multiple sharpening sessions. They should be used frequently, so you should use a shallow tray to contain the sharpening mess.

When sharpening plane irons, you should keep in mind that practice makes perfect. If you try to sharpen a plane iron by hand, the edge will become rounded and the cutting edge will be less sharp. However, if you follow the recommended steps, you will be able to sharpen your plane irons in no time. It is a matter of practice and patience. And remember that a sharp edge means better quality tools.

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Avoiding honing if the edge is too far from where you’re honing

One reason to avoid honing if the edge is too close to where you’re working is the uncontrolled jerk that can occur. This is a natural reaction for many people, and they don’t do anything special to fight the urge. However, there are ways to keep from rubbing or scraping the edge of a knife when honing near something or someone. In this article, I’ll explain the process of honing and how to avoid mistakes.

To prevent this, you should lay the blade flat on a sharpening stone. Make sure the edge and spine are both facing toward the edge. Then, you should roll the blade over the spine of the stone and push it toward the opposite end of the stone. After this, you should fold the blade over so that the spine is pointing away from you. Likewise, flatten the stones after using them. And don’t forget to bevel the edges of the stones.

The most important tip for honing a blade is to use a sharpening stone on both sides of the edge. Using a sharpening stone on the same side of the edge as the edge can change the edge profile and cause dangerous damage. This method requires good tools and practice. If the edge of the blade is too far from where you’re honing, it’s probably a better idea to start by honing the primary bevel.

When you’re sharpening a blade, you’ll be stropping the edge with a bevel, which is the portion of the edge on either side of the cutting edge. Over time, the bevel gets sharper and wider. As you hon the blade, keep the bevel at the same size and angle as the edge. The higher the bevel, the more aggressive the honing is.

Why trust Handyman.Guide?

s written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.

Itamar Ben-Dor has been in the home improvement business for over 25 years. Itamar Ben-Dor is a jack of all trades. He's worked in the renovation field for years, doing everything from locksmithing to carpentry. He's a small repairs specialist. But his true passion lies in furniture construction and renovation - he loves seeing old pieces come back to life with some new woodwork or a fresh coat of paint.

He has taken courses on many topics in these fields at professional colleges in Israel. Over the years, Itamar has also become quite skilled in gardening, carpentry, and renovations. He's worked on projects of all sizes, from massive renovations to small repairs. No job is too big or too small for him!


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