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Thread: is the plane blade sharp enough?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    new york city burbs
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    is the plane blade sharp enough?

    I figured after a year or so of constantly using my smoother and block plane(the shoulder plane has yet to feel the need), I really needed to hone the blade a bit.I have used paper to sharpen the planes, but really didnt get into it, wasnt sure I was doing anything, didnt want to do more damage than good.
    I use norton water stones, and Im satisfied with the sharpness of my hand chisels.(I run them over the end grain of white oak and as long as I can get a slice, Im happy)
    I sharpened the plane blades, I put a one inch thick piece of hard maple into the vice, and I got even smooth cuts the entire 18 inch length of the piece.
    The curlys stayed in one piece, the plane went smoothly through it.
    How do I know if its sharp enough, or is it just sharp enough for me?
    (I have to plane down a panel to fit a bit less snug under the window sill and Id rather take a bit off then risk running it through the table saw)

  2. #2
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    Jun 2008
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    GTA Ontario Canada
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    Allen, my view is when you can cut very very thing shavings without too much need to force the plane.

    I remember when i first tried tuning my Dads hand me down stanley. Then i think Jim or Larry said try for thinner shavings. Well its not just adjustment that achieves that but also the blade sharpness. My test now involves both.

    But you can also get lost in this subject just ask me...

    Its all about effort versus return. But i enjoy the challenge and process so I could be called a nutter.
    cheers

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
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    Hi,

    I know I am a nut on this subject, however---A WorkSharp 3000 will sharpen a chisel or hand plane iron in just a few moments. It will be so sharp that you can use it for a mirror or shave with it.

    If the iron is in horrible shape it might take you ten minutes to grind down past the chips. However, if a blade is OK, just not sharp, about 60 seconds will easily do the job. I could teach a beginner how to use it proficiently in less than ten minutes. It takes about 20 seconds to really sharpen a blade that is just dull.

    It just thrills my soul to see a product that does what it says and no nonsense.

    I know it sounds like it, however I have nothing to do with the business other than I purchased a 3000. I would not purchase a 2000.

    Enjoy,

    Jim
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Tokyo Japan
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    Of course it is not sharp enough, even by testing it you have dulled it, and now it needs to be sharpened again

    What turned my sharpening around was a 10x loupe like this.........


    The kind used by photographers to examine contact sheets.
    The plastic sides let in light, and the preset focal point is easy to use. Examining the edge you put on a tool with one of these really lets you see how well you are doing.

    YMMV
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Decatur, Alabama
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    I agree with what's been said, but for an easy test I just take a shaving of end grain off a board with the blade only in my hand. I started looking to be able to take a thin clean shaving off end grain and leave cleanly cut grain without tearing or bending the fibers. Just a short 1" shaving should tell you what you need to know.

    I don't think there's much need to check the final sharpness anymore, probably just the initial coarse stone is the important one to check. If you go through all the dull rounded steel with it, the final ones you can see the blade changing texture as it sharpens to know it's good.

    If you're new to waterstones, one problem I had starting out was not re-flattening them. You can use sandpaper and plate glass, granite block, granite counter scrap, etc. I usually sharpen 3-4 blades at once, then re-flatten. I've read anywhere from 25-50 strokes across the stone you should re-flatten, but I doubt I do it that often. I bought the norton flattening stone, but prefer sandpaper to re-flatten stones.

  6. #6
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    shortly, I will go plane down the top edge of the walnut framed panels.
    If it cuts through without too much push, thats all I can expect I guess.

  7. #7
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    Delton, Michigan
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    allen when planing end grain make sure yu support the edge or come at it from the edge to avoid tearout...
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  8. #8
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    May 2011
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    If you need to start working at it to make the cut it's past time to sharpen it.
    I always keep a fine and extra fine dry diamond stone handy when using my hand planes and chisels. Every so often running the back of the blade flat accross the extra fine a few times keeps it nice and sharp. the same goes for the planes although I go quite a bit more between due to having to remove the blade and chip breaker. But still fairly often.
    That way I don't have to spend alot of time at the bench going through the stones to get them all back to their proper sharpness again.

  9. #9
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    May 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by larry merlau View Post
    allen when planing end grain make sure yu support the edge or come at it from the edge to avoid tearout...
    also, dont forget to clamp a backer block on the end for just that reason.

    Allen, if you have a low angle plane, either a block or jack, it will be a lot easier to go through the end grain than the standard angle of a smoother.
    Last edited by Rich Soby; 06-22-2011 at 10:36 PM.

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