Author Topic: Plane Iron Sharpening  (Read 2662 times)

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Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2481
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Plane Iron Sharpening
« on: October 16, 2018, 01:16 PM »
I’ve watched videos on sharpening plane irons where the “ruler trick” is used to put a small bevel on the back side of the plan iron.

I’m concerned that this is not a reversible process in that the bevel can’t be removed if you don’t like having it there.

I have Lie Nielsen planes and the plane irons always have the irons already machined flat. I put a polish on the irons using 8000 then 10,000 water stones and get good results.

Am I missing something?
Birdhunter

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Offline waho6o9

  • Posts: 1437
    • Garage Door Handyman.com
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2018, 01:21 PM »
You're not missing anything IMHO, in my honest opinion. 

I might suggest using a higher angle frog for difficult grain.

Offline Wooden Skye

  • Posts: 1148
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Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2018, 01:41 PM »
The ruler trick is used so you don't have to flatten the entire back of the blade, which in cases speed up the process of getting it into use.  It can be reversed by flattening the back.  Personally I'm mixed on what I prefer but LN or LV plane irons are usually pretty flat, others aren't.
Bryan

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Online GoingMyWay

  • Posts: 769
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2018, 01:42 PM »
I know very little about this, only from what I've watched on YouTube and researched online.  I have also employed the "ruler trick" on my Woodriver 4 1/2, 5 1/2, and 7 planes.

Why wouldn't the process would be reversible just by re-flattening the back through the various grits of stones?  Wouldn't it be very similar to how you'd prepare a brand new chisel by flattening its back before its first use.  Maybe the more important question is what's not to like about the back bevel?  Is there some downside that I'm not aware of?
Inquiring Minds Want to Know

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Offline jacko9

  • Posts: 2378
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2018, 02:25 PM »
I've never back beveled my plain irons (don't see any  reason why I would).  I use a Nubatama xxhard 1K grit water stone to flatten the back of my chisels and plane irons.  The stone is formulated for this application and it stays flat for a long time.  I use Japanese steel with a very high RcH hardness forged to softer iron for overall strength on some of my planes.  Others with softer tool steels I use a hand crank low speed grinder to form a hollow ground profile on my tools which I touch up the front and back tips of the concave profile with a high grit water stone.

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 934
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2018, 02:38 PM »
You're not missing anything IMHO, in my honest opinion. 

I might suggest using a higher angle frog for difficult grain.

David Charlesworth's ruler trick is not to address the issues of difficult grain as his method is not intended to result in a back-beveled iron.

Here is how David explains about his trick: https://www.popularwoodworking.com/techniques/the_ruler_trick/

In answer to Birdhunter's question: any "beveled" back can be restored and the amount of restoration work depends on the back bevel angle. The ruler trick will produce a very slight back bevel as compared to the one in a back-beveled blade.

Offline CirclDigital

  • Posts: 71
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2018, 03:27 PM »
It’s just a very slight hone, just a few swipes. And something that disappears just by sharpening your primary/secondary bevel, it’s all done at the cutting edge.

So there really is little to nothing to restore.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 03:31 PM by CirclDigital »

Offline waho6o9

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Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2018, 08:56 PM »
Thank you for clearing that up ChuckM, I  appreciate the link!

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2481
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2018, 05:36 AM »
OK, so the “ruler trick” bevel on the back of the blade is tiny enough that honing the primary bevel erases it?
Birdhunter

Offline CirclDigital

  • Posts: 71
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2018, 01:40 PM »
Yes... when your primary/secondary bevel is honed just take a few swipes, on that last stone, on the back using the ruler. It will create a very, very slight bevel on the back on the full length of the blade.

Still usefull to start with a flat and polished back but this is a simple way to ensure that there is flatness at the cutting edge, and that’s the only spot on the back where it really matters.

Offline demographic

  • Posts: 445
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2019, 04:00 PM »
I've fettled a few old plane blades (I used to call em irons but both Record and Stanley call them blades in their old sales literature so if it's good enough for them...) by putting them on a block of wood and giving them a good bat with a copper mallet. Thats putting it with the bevelled face down the hitting the face you normally flat off.
It's a pragmatic way to sort out secondhand blades so they are right at the cutting edge and the chipbreaker.
I wouldnt to it with a nice new Veritas one though.

I can understand that it sounds drastic but its not that hard to do. My carpentry tutor told me that one but more recently I've seen Paul Sellers doing the same thing on Youtube

Offline mike_aa

  • Posts: 1073
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2019, 10:17 AM »
I've fettled a few old plane blades (I used to call em irons but both Record and Stanley call them blades in their old sales literature so if it's good enough for them...) by putting them on a block of wood and giving them a good bat with a copper mallet. Thats putting it with the bevelled face down the hitting the face you normally flat off.
It's a pragmatic way to sort out secondhand blades so they are right at the cutting edge and the chipbreaker.
I wouldnt to it with a nice new Veritas one though.

I can understand that it sounds drastic but its not that hard to do. My carpentry tutor told me that one but more recently I've seen Paul Sellers doing the same thing on Youtube

@demographic   This sounds interesting.  Do you have a link to the Paul Sellers video?  Thanks, Mike A.

Offline demographic

  • Posts: 445
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2019, 04:07 AM »
@demographic   This sounds interesting.  Do you have a link to the Paul Sellers video?  Thanks, Mike A.

Yeah, sorry its taken a while but I couldn't remember which of his vids it was on.
Anyway, the part about using the hammer starts at about the 47 minute mark, he uses a plastic mallet but its basically the same. Just doing that saves a huge amount of time getting the right bits flat.


Offline demographic

  • Posts: 445
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2019, 04:49 AM »
I also should have mentioned that after giving them a bat with a copper mallet, I flat them off as usual on a diamond plate. Faithfull do a good size double sided steel plate in a adjustable holder (the same as the waterstone holders Axminster sells on its own for just shy of 20 quid) where you get the plate and holder for 24 quid or so.
Its a decent size cos small abrasive stones/hones just irritate me for anything other than small knives.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Faithfull-Tools-FAIDWKIT-Diamond-Sharpening/dp/B015JMIPP0

I do own some waterstones but I'm a site carpenter without my own workshop so personally I find them a faff to keep wet, dry out, store and if I drop one it breaks.  Great for the workshop people but just a pain in the backside for me.

Offline mike_aa

  • Posts: 1073
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2019, 05:10 PM »
@demographic    It's amazing how a hammer whack or two can easily correct the plane blade for flatness.  Thanks for posting the video and the diamond plate links.  I hadn't seen the video before and along with the hammer technique, it has quite a few great tips on restoring and prepping hand planes.  Although he makes everything look so easy!

Mike A.

Offline demographic

  • Posts: 445
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2019, 07:00 AM »
Just to throw a few randoms into the mix I've recently bought a Mujingfang blade for my number 3 handplane.
It's High Speed Steel cutting edge brazed onto...err...much softer steel, dunno what exactly.

Anyway, these blades aren't designed for Bailey pattern planes so the slot needs adjustment.
On mine I had to widen the slot to allow the lateral adjustment lever end to fit, plus I gave it a rounded hole at the blade end of the slot which allows the cap screw to go through it when I put the blade into the plane.
All of this was dead easy to do with a couple of metal files cos the steel at those areas is soft.
Its only the front of the blade thats hard High Speed Steel.
Looking at this blade though, it seems to me that its just made by brazing a section of worn out power hacksaw blade onto mild steel.
Academy Saw Works in Australia makes very good High Speed Steel plane blades as well, they look neater but I'm guessing the company name "Saw Works" is no accident.
This got me thinking, what is the largest power hacksaw blades and could I make a plane blade from one?
Seems that theres some that are  618mm long by  50mm deep (inxluding the teeth whixh will need grinding off) by 2.5mm thick.
Just deep enough and thick enough to make a blade for a number 3 Bailey plane and maybe three blades long.
Not exactly sure what version of HSS it is but most fully HSS blades(as opposed to the bimetal ones) are made from M2 steel fine grained small carbide steel.
As for grinding it to size and shape I reckon I can just put in a baking tray full of water so its not getting too hot (although in theory it shouldn't matter with HSS but why take a chance?) then use a thin cutting disc to cut its shape followed by a Tormek to get its edge to shape.

I'll get to grinding it to shape over the next few weeks and see how I get on with it.
Don't hold yer breath for updates though, sometimes I use handplanes a fair bit but then hardly touch them for a year. Thats just the nature of my work and it depends on what work I'm on.

Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 285
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2019, 07:23 AM »
A few points:

The Ruler Trick was introduced by David Charlesworth to ensure, or make it easier, that his students achieved a flat back to the blade. This is quite unnecessary on modern blades, such as those from LN or Veritas, however old iron from Stanley and Record rarely came flat. In other words, it is a beginner's aid, which is why it is also taught by Rob Cosman. It works, but is unnecessary if the back of your blade is flat.

Mujingfang have been around in the Western world for a few decades. These Chinese planes are an absolute bargain. I began using them about 20 years ago. The high angled smoother and the mini smoother both have a bed angle of 60 degrees, and they superb performance on interlocked grain. They make inexpensive alternative to HNT Gordon planes.

I have used the 1-3/4" HSS blade in a Stanley #3. It works pretty well. I have also used the narrow #5 size woodie, closed up the chipbreaker, and planed anything one could throw at it.

Regards from Perth

Derek

Offline demographic

  • Posts: 445
Re: Plane Iron Sharpening
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2019, 10:42 AM »
I had to buy the Mujingfang blade from Australia as it was, I've not had chance to use it in anger yet but I have noticed some Chinese style HSS chisels advertised in the UK.
They looked ugly with a brazed on HSS section about an inch or so long.
Looked an awfull lot like someone had brazed a section of power hacksaw blade on them to me.
I've not bought any of the chisels but have heard they were very good from a bloke who works a lot of oak.

Obviously I'm straying a bit off topic here but I'm having a bit of a play around with handplanes after becoming slightly skeptical about the way blades have been tested.
There's one or two tests Ive read that have seemed more scientific which have encouraged me to try things out for myself.