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Thread: Sharpening plane blades

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Sharpening plane blades

    Well, I bought a combination wet stone, 800/4000 at Woodcraft to sharpen my two planes steel, I was inspired by the video of the plane being pulled by a string and shaving an onion skin strip of the wood.

    I was hoping someone in this forum could give me some technique tips.

    I've seen some on the net but there is always such a unique wealth right here I figured it would be worth my while to ask.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    Quote Originally Posted by Julio Navarro View Post
    I was hoping someone in this forum could give me some technique tips.
    Paging Bill Satko, Ken Werner, Jim Delaney... (My apologies if I left out any of the other sharpening gurus)...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Whittier, CA, USA
    I believe this is the video. WOW!

    These are the plane makers: Brese Planes

    My jaw is still dragging on my keyboard.

    Last edited by Dan Gonzales; 03-19-2011 at 03:14 AM.
    Dan Gonzales
    Whittier, CA, USA
    Dona nobis pacem

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    That video is crazy, Dan.

    I know I will never get my old Stanley to do anything like that, but I think I can improve their edge.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
    Those Brese planes are $1500-$2000 EACH. The people that have those must be the same people that pay Vaughn to straighten their pictures on the wall.....
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    Paging Bill Satko, Ken Werner, Jim Delaney... (My apologies if I left out any of the other sharpening gurus)...
    Not me! I'm a sharpening Luddite.

    I use the Tormek to the 98% level then just strom a bit on a piece of hard maple that I've charged with 0.5 diamond paste.

    I truly believe that no matter how sharp you start out, the blade is dulled after 5 or 6 strokes on wood, and all that extra sharpening time is wasted. That theory has worked well for me for the past forty years or so.

    BTW, I CAN sharpen to that level - I just don't.
    Jim D.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    I've seen similar videos made with a japanese kanna, which I think is more difficult because they weigh less.

    The trick (if it can be called that) is soft wood, straight grain and make the board flat. Once it is flat sharpen your plane again to an ultra razor edge and start pulling.

    I want to be able to do that some day but I don't see the point apart from the fact that once you succeed you have learnt how to sharpen and set a plane.

    There was a time I also felt in that sort of vortex where it was more important the quality and thickness of the shavings that had to be full length full width rather that the piece I was building. Thank God I got over that and I learnt something meanwhile.
    Best regards,

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
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    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Central NY State
    Julio, I don't know where to begin. The best way to learn how to sharpen is to have someone who knows how to show you. You need to know what really sharp is, so that you have a clear goal in mind.

    There are many good articles on sharpening in recent Fine Woodworking issues, and if you go to the Lie-Nielsen channel on you tube there are some excellent demos, IIRC by Deneb Pulchaski.

    If you have any specific questions, PM me or post here, and I'll do my best to answer them. Sharpening is not something I can describe in a paragraph.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Toni Ciuraneta View Post
    The trick (if it can be called that) is soft wood, straight grain and make the board flat. Once it is flat sharpen your plane again to an ultra razor edge and start pulling.
    I know that to be the case with some of the Japanese planing demos, but in the Brese plane demo, that's maple that Mr. Abraham is planing.

    Let me start by stating that I'm not a sharpening guru. I'm just telling you what I do.

    There are no tricks to sharpening. There are multiple methods, so pick one, learn it, and use it.

    It also depends on the kind of steel you have. Simple steels respond well to regular water stones, and that describes most of my blades and chisels. I have three King brand water stones - 1000, 3000 and 6000. (btw, I wouldn't necessarily recommend the King - there are better, but I've had these for a long time) For plane blades, I use a jig. I once had the Eclipse jig, simple, easy to adjust, so I gave it to my son. I now have the Veritas Mark II jig, which is a bit more complicated (and more expensive), but makes repeat sharpening and micro-bevels much easier. I finish by stropping on a piece of maple or corian with green AlOx compound on it.

    For chisels, I hollow grind (except for the small ones 3/8" and smaller) and free-hand them on the stones and finish by stropping.

    I've acquired some A2 blades, and they're more difficult to sharpen on the stones I have, so I'm in the process of getting a piece of cast iron and diamond paste. That combination cuts anything, including the very complicated, difficult particle steels that are now being adopted by some woodworkers.

    Trust me when I tell you that there are holy wars over sharpening regimens, so I repeat my advice: pick a method and learn it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Tacoma, WA

    Everyone has given great advice. I like Bruce's comment on picking a method and learning it. There are hundreds of ways it seams on how to sharpen a blade. I've used every method there is till I found the best method for me. I don't feel that one method is better than the other, it is just what works best for you. I've seen knives, planes etc sharp enough to cut cigarette paper just by pushing the paper onto the blade that were sharpened using every diff method you can imagine.

    The only thing I would recommend from my experience is (as in almost all sharpening) consistency is the key. The same pressure on both sides of the blade, the same angle repeated. I use the Mark 2 from veritas like Bruce. It's what works for me. I also strop the blades. I enjoy the time to sit down and sharpen, it is where I put the world on hold and just enjoy my time. If your hands get tired, or your stressed out or under the gun, just put it aside and come back when you will have some patience and can enjoy the learning process.

    I start on my 1000 stone and finish on my 8000 and then strop any wire edge off being careful not to roll the edge of the blade when I strop. Once my bevels are cut by the stones and the blade is sharp I usually just touch up on the 4000 then 8000, or just the 8000, quick strop and back to shaving ribbons you can see through.

    Last note, If you let your fingers rest on the stone, sandpaper, whatever you use, no matter how fine a grit, the red you see after so many strokes is from you! DAMHIK Seems that skin is not tougher than steel! (all these years I thought I was superman. It looks like I'm going to have to go into counseling again.)
    That's not even a smile! That's just a bunch of teeth playing with my mind!

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