Dull plane

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Forum topic by SweatyTeddy posted 04-04-2016 02:17 PM 1514 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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50 posts in 2243 days

04-04-2016 02:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip question plane sharpening

I got a plane from my dad who got it from his father in-law (my grandpa). And I am dieing to be the 3rd generation to use it but it’s dull as a seminar on seminar planning. And it is slightly rounded like it was not held at a constant angle to what ever was being used to sharpen it. I really want to use it and I have a stone but it’s more of a honeing stone. What is the process and is there a specific angle I need to hold it at to get the perfect edge?

-- I'd be done by now if I knew what I was doing! - said by no man ever with a woman present

24 replies so far

View Aj2's profile


4450 posts in 3256 days

#1 posted 04-04-2016 02:26 PM

Aww and so begins the quest for the perfect edge.
There’s many YouTube videos the help you start your journey.
I hope your not trying to instigate the forum to fight.
Good Luck

-- Aj

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495 posts in 2990 days

#2 posted 04-04-2016 02:27 PM

Try here, I have developed my own hybrid method. Hard to explain. Good luck, I have 2 #5s formerly my grandfathers on both sides. Glad you share the appreciation too.

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50 posts in 2243 days

#3 posted 04-04-2016 02:34 PM

I have been known to be an instigator Aj but my intentions are pure this time I swear.

-- I'd be done by now if I knew what I was doing! - said by no man ever with a woman present

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Don Broussard

4111 posts in 3710 days

#4 posted 04-04-2016 02:52 PM

“dull as a seminar on seminar planning”—that’s pretty funny. Good luck discovering the best sharpening system that works for you.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Robert's profile


4988 posts in 2939 days

#5 posted 04-04-2016 04:20 PM

Plan irons can be sharpened with a camber this may be the curve you’re seeing.

35 degrees is the typical angle.

You’ll need to start with grinding to restore the blade and angle and then some honing.

Keep in mind sharpening is an art unto itself, but you can start by using a honing guide.

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

View bandit571's profile


31885 posts in 4141 days

#6 posted 04-04-2016 04:34 PM

Per Stanley: ( it is stamped on their plane irons) 25 degrees.

You can rig a grinder jig to attach to the tool rest, and lock it at that angle. Keep a cup of water close by, and dunk often.

You can use either oil stones ( I use a 600 and a 1000 grit) sandpaper on a flat surface, go out and buy a worksharp tool, or even water stones and diamond stones. Until you can get the feel of how to hold the iron, invest in a guide of some sort, to hold the iron at the angle needed.

Find an old leather work belt, or even a weightlifter’s leather belt, cut a decent section, attach it to something flat. You now have a strop to polish the edge. It works on the pull stroke, lift up the iron each pass, and then pull it back to you. Either dry, or with a polishing compound of your choice.

Just worry about the first 1/2” of the back being flat and polished. Just worry about get that one bevel done, you can worry about any other “extra” bevels at another time. A flatten back, and a sharp bevel is enough to get started using the plane. IF the edge is curved a bit ( Cambered they call it) try to follow that curve. otherwise, you can just make a nice straight edge across, square to the sides of the iron. I have one or two #5 planes that work very nicely as smoothers.

Basically, Keep It Simple….THEN work up from there.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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21704 posts in 2597 days

#7 posted 04-04-2016 05:45 PM

Hey Teddy, all of the above is good advice. There is a whole lot of other good advice out there too. There is also a lot of bad advice out there and sometimes it can be hard to distinguish! There are many methods that all have their pros and cons.

I get the impression that you don’t regularly sharpen any tools and are just starting to decide whether you are a hand plane user or not. So, I’d recommend starting with the “Scary Sharp” method. All you need to invest in is a granite tile or piece of glass and a few grades of wet/dry paper. It may not be the best long term solution, but it’s definitely the most economic way to get started. Pick an angle between 25 and 35 degrees and you’ll be fine. 25 will take a sharper edge and 35 is a more durable edge. It’s just a matter of finding a balance that suits the material your working. FWIW, I haven’t seen a significant difference so I hone all my irons at 25 degrees. You can free-hand sharpen, but if you’ve never sharpened before or you’re reshaping the edge you’ll save a lot of pain using a guide. You can buy one or make one. Whether or not you use camber varies from plane-to-plane, user-to-user, and job-to-job. You didn’t say what size your plane is so it’s hard to make a recommendation in that respect.

If you decide you aren’t sure it’s worth the investment without knowing if you’ll even like using the handplane, I’ll be glad to sharpen your iron for you. Just send it to me with a SASE. Just PM me if you’re interested.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View SweatyTeddy's profile


50 posts in 2243 days

#8 posted 04-04-2016 06:25 PM

I think it’s called a bench plane. 10/12 inch long

-- I'd be done by now if I knew what I was doing! - said by no man ever with a woman present

View JohnDon's profile


243 posts in 2628 days

#9 posted 04-04-2016 06:31 PM

In addition to the good advice already posted, the fastest and easiest sharpening is to match the existing bevel. The easiest way to do that is to wipe the entire beveled edge with a Magic Marker.

Use a rolling honing guide (~$15); hone a few strokes and inspect where the ink has been removed. Fine tune the blade extension until the ink is removed uniformly across the bevel surface.

I agree that using the ” Scary Sharp” method is the most cost effective and flexible way to get going. Good luck.

View HokieKen's profile (online now)


21704 posts in 2597 days

#10 posted 04-04-2016 07:02 PM

I think it s called a bench plane. 10/12 inch long

- SweatyTeddy

Bench plane is a broad category that basically includes any plane that is meant to be used with 2 hands. Block planes are the other category and are generally used one-handed. Your plane is indeed a bench plane – a smoother, probably a Stanley #4-1/2 (or equivalent). The iron should be mounted bevel-down. A plane the size of yours is a “smoother” and most likely does have some camber on the cutting edge. I would follow the camber that’s there as long as it’s not too much. On a smoother, the camber is to prevent leaving track marks at the edges of the stroke. You can also sharpen it straight across and just “break” the corners (my personal preference).

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View drcodfish's profile


124 posts in 2410 days

#11 posted 04-04-2016 07:26 PM

If the blade has a curve to it (where it meets the wood) it could be a scrub plane. Google that and you’ll find pics and learn that (if it is a scrub plane) it has a particular use which isn’t the same as the average bench plane.

If you grandpa made a living in carpentry then it would make sense that he would have and use a scrub plane, but for the average wood worker they were not so common.

-- Dr C

View Don W's profile

Don W

20385 posts in 4026 days

#12 posted 04-04-2016 08:09 PM

for now, google scary sharp. Its a sand paper sharpening process that will work very well with minimum investment.

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

View OSU55's profile


3038 posts in 3448 days

#13 posted 04-04-2016 08:18 PM

Your description sounds like the bevel is convex, rather then the edge curving or cambering across the width of the blade, from the center. Paul Sellers advocates such a bevel. Since you are just starting, i agree the scary sharp method is the best way to start. A bench grinder with a platform or any type of sander, disc or belt, with a simple jig (lots of info on the web) cab be used to gring a 25 deg primary bevel, then a simple jig can be used to hold the blade at a slightly higher angle, usually up to 30 deg, to create a sharp edge with progressively finer grit. Here is my take on honing, a modified scary sharp method. Sandpaper can be used as the media.

You are starting in the right place, i.e. Sharpening. No matter how well a plane is tuned, it wont work for nothin till it has a truly sharp blade.

View sepeck's profile


527 posts in 3599 days

#14 posted 04-04-2016 08:32 PM

Also, look around your area. See if there is a wood working guild or other organization. While I have no time to go to the one that is local to me, they have several people who are quit willing to hold sharpening classes, etc. The availability of videos and other knowledge is awesome, but working in person with someone with experience is something hard to beat.

I just looked and my local Woodcraft has a sharpening your handtools class as well. (possibly taught by the same guy in the local wood guild).

-- -Steven Peck,

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50 posts in 2243 days

#15 posted 04-05-2016 03:48 AM

Do I need to get a special kind of sand paper or can I just use my random orbit paper and stick it to a piece of pexiglas that I have?

-- I'd be done by now if I knew what I was doing! - said by no man ever with a woman present

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