All Replies on When to apply back bevel on plane iron?

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View gauntlet21's profile

When to apply back bevel on plane iron?

by gauntlet21
posted 11-01-2018 01:02 AM

7 replies so far

View jmos's profile


916 posts in 2937 days

#1 posted 11-01-2018 01:32 PM

The ruler trick isn’t intended to apply a back bevel to the blade. It does, but only a tiny amount.

The reason to use the ruler trick is to reduce the amount of time you spend getting a final polish on the back of the blade. Assuming your back is flat, and it should be, tipping the blade up slightly allows you to take a couple of passes on the back of the blade, on your finest stone, to get that final honed edge. You should just be able to see a very fine line of polished edge all the way across the blade after using the ruler trick. You’re not looking for much.

There is no need, or benefit, to doing it with multiple grits.

Without the ruler trick you could spend a lot of time getting the back polished after each honing of the bevel.

At least this is what I understood from the Charlesworth DVD’s from LN.

-- John

View shampeon's profile


1900 posts in 2751 days

#2 posted 11-01-2018 03:00 PM

I think the ruler trick is unnecessary for most blades. If you have a particularly pitted or warped blade, it’s a way of making it useful again.

There’s realistically no need to reflatten the back after it’s been done, even if you have to regrind the bevel. I you spend the time to get the back flat and polished—once—a quick swipe on the back at high grit after sharpening or honing the bevel is all you need to do remove the wire burr from the bevel, and you move on to the next higher grit.

The only time I ever put in a back bevel is if I need a higher cutting angle on bevel-down planes.

I touch up the blade with honing compound on a strop periodically, which is a lot easier to do with a flat back.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Robert's profile


3571 posts in 2048 days

#3 posted 11-01-2018 03:06 PM

Working the primary bevel is really just wasted effort.

As said, the ruler trick is really just done on the highest grit stone and is just a tweaking method as well as removes the burr.

I prefer to hollow grind and go straight to a secondary (or tertiary in some cases) bevel.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View jmos's profile


916 posts in 2937 days

#4 posted 11-01-2018 03:37 PM

I think what Ian said is the rub – once you flatten and polish the back once. The ruler trick eliminates the need to polish the back ever. Get it flat, that critical, but no need to go to particularly high grits to polish it.

I believe (it’s been a while since I viewed the videos) Charlesworth flattens the backs to either 1000 or 4000 and stops. He doesn’t polish to a mirror finish.

Using the ruler trick allow you to polish just the leading edge to a high polish (say 8000.) You just do it each time you sharpen, rather than once in the beginning.

Either way works.

-- John

View OSU55's profile


2454 posts in 2557 days

#5 posted 11-01-2018 08:52 PM

Why are you doing a primary and secondary bevel on the same stone? I’ll assume by secondary bevel you mean a microbevel, which I think that jig has an adjust to change the bevel angle by a degree or two for that purpose. Once you move to the secondary, stay there, no need to do both at each grit.

Agree with others that you are really talking about the ruler trick and not a back bevel. I use it on every iron – too many times I thought I had flattened the back only to find it was not truly flat. Only the highest grit that you take the bevel side to, unless you had to do some heavy grinding on the bevel to change angles or remove a nick. Heavy material removal can create quite a burr that needs to be removed before proceeding. I do this with the blade flat, not lifted. Also, for smoother plane blades that you want surgically sharp, stroke the bevel again lightly.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19387 posts in 3135 days

#6 posted 11-02-2018 10:37 AM

sharpened the primary bevel with a flat back and get back to work.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16262 posts in 3186 days

#7 posted 11-02-2018 10:39 AM

+1 to DonW. Flat back and primary bevel here too. Touch ups easy.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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