Author Topic: Plane Iron Sharpening  (Read 1697 times)

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Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2418
  • 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: 1411
    • 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: 1144
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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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Offline GoingMyWay

  • Posts: 705
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: 756
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: 67
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: 2418
  • 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: 67
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: 396
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: 1063
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: 396
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: 396
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: 1063
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.