Author Topic: Gary Blum Planes and Sharpening Jigs  (Read 17421 times)

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Offline Dan Clark

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Gary Blum Planes and Sharpening Jigs
« on: June 07, 2007, 11:45 PM »
Recently on another forum, there was a post about a unique new wooden plane.   I'm not particularly interested in wooden planes primarily because I value function over form.  While old wood planes are rather fascinating, I like highly functional tools (Like Festools).   So I've never paid much attention to them until now.   Gary Blum has developed a new series of wooden planes that combine the beauty of wood with the new technology.   

It's fascinating stuff.   His planes adjust in some ways similar to modern metal planes, but he uses a very large frog with a small plane blade that looks easy to adjust.   Below are pics of one of his foreplanes and the frog with blade. 

He also has a unique sharpening jig that looks like it can sharpen narrow chisels and Japanese chisels.   Most of the jigs I've tried won't work well with either of these.

Here's his website: http://www.blumtoolco.com/.  Click "Bench Planes" and "Sharpening Jigs" in the box on the left.

Regards,

Dan.

His Foreplane


His Plane Frog with blade (it's the little skinny piece at the bottom)


Finally, here is a pic of the jointer.  Big bugger isn't it?  ;D


« Last Edit: July 04, 2007, 10:48 PM by Dan Clark »

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Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1832
Re: Gary Blum Planes and Sharpening Jigs
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2007, 09:22 AM »
As luck would have it, I ordered the jointer 3 days ago. As soon as I get it in I will put together a little review.

Hey, that could be fun. Maybe I'll do more of it, see if I can get some neighborhood women to help me out, create a webite......... Ah, never mind that's sounds too far fetched to be believable, doesn't it?
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Dan Clark

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    • talkFestool
Re: Gary Blum Planes and Sharpening Jigs
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2007, 10:17 AM »
Greg,

Yes, please post a review.  I'm interested in hearing about your experiences.   Now, regarding your website...

As a techie, I can tell you that creating a website is not difficult.   Finding the good looking ladies is far more difficult.   Some guys just have a knack I suppose.   ;D

Dan.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3288
Re: Gary Blum Planes and Sharpening Jigs
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2007, 10:20 AM »
This frog/blade arrangement is a very interesting idea and the planes you included here are very beautiful. But E.C. Emmmerich has been making highly functional wood bodied PRIMUS planes for a long time.

Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1832
Re: Gary Blum Planes and Sharpening Jigs
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2007, 11:19 AM »
This frog/blade arrangement is a very interesting idea and the planes you included here are very beautiful. But E.C. Emmmerich has been making highly functional wood bodied PRIMUS planes for a long time.

True, Michael, wood planes have been around longer than, well, metal planes. But I decided I wanted to see if Blum has really built a better mousetrap or not. Of course I don't have a comparable Primus so it won't really be a head to head comparison, so to speak. I am certainly no expert on handplanes at all but I figure I will learn more in the process and that will be fun in itself. I do know that I have read a couple novels full of threads on blade sharpening over the past few years and I suspect that 90% of the mysteries involved in proficient use of a handplane relate to proper sharpening. The rest is grain direction and motor skills, I guess. If Blum has made the sharpening process more straightforward then he may have busted a paradigm. We'll see.
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3288
Re: Gary Blum Planes and Sharpening Jigs
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2007, 11:41 AM »
Hi Greg. I meant no criticism whatsoever of your purchase of the Blum plane. I'd like to have one. I have been a fan of the PRIMUS planes for a long time because they combine the fine blade adjustments of the best metal bodied planes with the light weight and slick glide of wood bodied planes. It has always seemed odd to me though that a big long blade was required when just a small edge was used for the actual work. There have been attempts to use small blades (even razor blades) but they haven't been close to working as well as traditional designs. The Blum design looks promising though and I'm looking forward to your review.

Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1832
Re: Gary Blum Planes and Sharpening Jigs
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2007, 12:05 PM »
Didn't think you were criticising at all.
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Dan Clark

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    • talkFestool
Re: Gary Blum Planes and Sharpening Jigs
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2007, 01:49 PM »
I wasn't aware of the Primus planes.  They look quite nice.  That said, it's the combo of the wood plus the frog/blade design that has me fascinated with Blum planes.   That plus the sharpening jig.

IMO, key issues with any plane are flexibility and keeping the blade sharpened.   

Regarding flexibility, it seems like the real plane afficianados had dozens of them.   I only have three - an old block plane, an LN low angle block plane, and a Stanley jack plane with a new LN A2 blade.  Even with my modest needs, I could easily use more.  It would be nice to have a plane whose blade or frog could be quickly changed to meet multiple needs.  Since the blades are small and only cost $6, it's more feasible to keep a half dozen or so on hand with different grinds for different purposes. 

Regarding his sharpening jig, sharpening methods seem to fall into two camps.  The first involves holding a stationary tool against some sort of moving powered belt, drum, wheel, or platten.    There are many on the market and most cost $200 and up.    The second involves moving a tool over or against some sort of stationary sharpening plate, stone, or sandpaper.    These methods range in cost from cheap (sandpaper and some glass) to VERY expensive (Shapton stones and flattening plates).   

I have Norton stones and Shapton stones.   They work OK, but get dished and have to be flattened.  (The Shapton diamond flattening plate is $280 and can ONLY be used on Shapton stones.   I used it on my Norton stones and part of the diamond surface wore off!   >:( )  I use a Veritas sharpening jig to hold the tools.  It's a little fiddley, but works pretty well with plane blades and wide, standard chisels.   It doesn't work at all with my Japanese chisels or with my narrow chisels.   

Blum's sharpening jig is different because it is a manual method where you move the sharpening stone, sandpaper, etc. over the blade.    The clamping mechanism looks like it will work nicely with all sorts of blades including his little tiny ones.  Also, he says that you can use it with sandpaper, diamond plates, oil stones and water stones.  (I wonder if water stones might not work quite as well because the stone isn't immersed in water.)  Apparently you can move your stone or plate in any direction over the tool, so that should allow you to use more of the stone/plate surface and reduce the need for flattening.

I'm still pondering a bit, but I think I'll take a shot and buy Blum's sharpening jig.   

However this turns out, you have have to give Gary credit for out-of-the-box thinking.

Regards,

Dan.

Offline Dan Clark

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    • talkFestool
Short review
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2007, 01:56 PM »
Here's a short review by Woodworking ONLINE: http://www.woodworkingonline.com/?s=blumtool

Dan.

Offline Dave Rudy

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  • Coloroda Front Range, in the lee of Pikes Peak
Re: Gary Blum Planes and Sharpening Jigs
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2007, 05:44 PM »

I'm still pondering a bit, but I think I'll take a shot and buy Blum's sharpening jig.   


Dan, Check out the new work sharp.  I havent had a chance to use it yet, but bought it on Jerry Work's recommendation (here).  It's about $50 more than Gary's jig including abrasives.  There's a full demonstration video of it here: http://www.woodmagazine.com/wood/story.jhtml?storyid=/templatedata/wood/story/data/1175186529171.xml&catref=cat5610002

Looks pretty good, although I cant quite vouch personally yet.

Gary sure makes beautiful planes though.  Interesting design concept.

Dave

Offline Dan Clark

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    • talkFestool
Re: Gary Blum Planes and Sharpening Jigs
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2007, 06:16 PM »
Dave,

Please give it a try and review it here.  I'll love to know how you like it.  If you can, try it on narrow chisels and Japanese chisels.

One issue that I have with it is that it won't work on wide chisel blades.   I'm not sure if that's been resolved.

Thanks,

Dan.

Offline Loren Woirhaye

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    • LAwoodworking.com
Re: Gary Blum Planes and Sharpening Jigs
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2007, 02:44 AM »
Re: Flattening waterstones

I flatten my waterstones with Sanding screen meant for circular
floor buffers.  This screen should be available through a store
in your area that sells floor refinishing supplies to professionals.

I stick the screen to a sheet of glass with water and it takes
a few minutes to grind the high spots off the stone.

Honestly, I don't have to do this much and I attribute that
to my use of a figure-8 pattern when I hone plane irons.

I have sometimes honed narrow chisels against the side of
the waterstone to prevent gouging of the stone.