Jigs for sharpening tools on a bench grinder??

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Forum topic by groland posted 09-13-2010 08:05 AM 9651 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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221 posts in 3923 days

09-13-2010 08:05 AM


I would like to buy or, preferably, build a jig to allow sharpening of plane irons on a bench grinder. The little shelf provided with most grinders is awkward to use. I’d like something with a fence to keep the blade perpendicular to the grinding wheel, angled at 25 degrees, and with a horizontal slide to move the iron back and forth along the grinding wheel.

Anyone worked out a good design for such a jig? Got video? ;^)

Many thanks,


7 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3586 days

#1 posted 09-13-2010 03:21 PM

I would discourage you from sharpening a plane iron on a bench grinder. I use my bench grinder to sharpen my lathe cutting tools and for a few other miscellaneous tasks but with plane irons or chisels I sharpen by hand. I think it is important to work on a flat surface and a bench grinder has a round surface.

If you are into power tools, the Woodsharp is an okay tool. I have one but I don’t use it much anymore. I use a water stone and a honing guide to hold the tool at just the right angle. There is also an inexpensive technique using sandpaper that is glued down to a super flat surface (plate of glass or slab of marble).

As an FYI, I use the woodsharp if I want to change the angle of the bevel but I always finish the job by hand.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 3452 days

#2 posted 09-13-2010 10:26 PM

Contrary to what Rich is saying, I have been sharpening plane irons and chisels on my 8” bench grinder for years. Important to keep the steel cool, so have water nearby and cool often. The round surface works for you in that it gives a concave grind to the tool. From grinder to stones or sandpaper or whatever you use for honing.

I built a real simple gizmo out of timber. Guess I’ll have to post it!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View UncleSnail's profile


54 posts in 3552 days

#3 posted 06-16-2013 05:41 AM

I agree with Div. It is advantageous to initially grind the angle side of the plane blade. You will probably have to make a jig for the desired angle. An initial and then an occasional grinding establishes and maintains a hollowed area on the angle side (the radius of your grinding wheel). This gains you three advantages: 1. The hollow decreases the friction of the shaving as it passes over the blade thus aiding the chip breaker to do its job more efficiently. 2. It facilitates the final sharpening/polishing on your wet stones because only two small areas (the tip and rear on the angle area) actually make contact with the stones. And 3, as mentioned in step two, it facilitates maintaining the correct angle thus eliminating the possibility of a rounded face.

As far as a grinding jig, I have as yet found one. A friend made his out of sturdy aluminum and it works great. His plate angle is adjustable. My jig is made from hard maple and is not adjustable. I have two #5 jack planes and I maintain a 30 degree angle on both. One is set to a slightly thicker cut and the other Jack is my smoother. No sanding required.

-- Dale, Michigan, [email protected] objects scare wife scares me too.

View UncleSnail's profile


54 posts in 3552 days

#4 posted 06-21-2013 04:27 AM

Update for George: I found a great bench grinder jig through They are also available at the Woodcraft stores. The manufacturer is Veritas. Their products are excellent quality. This particular jig is sturdy, hefty metal and works like a charm. Just google Veritas George.

On another note, if your plane iron bevel face is at the correct angle and is not too marred, then I would suggest you not take it to the grinder. Instead, hone a micro bevel a few degrees steeper on to the bevel edge. The very edge, say a 1/16th in, is really all you need on an iron. Then hone a 1 degree micro angle onto the straight back. A good way of doing this is to rest the rear of the iron on a 20 thousandth metal ruler and hone the tip of the back down. Hardly noticeable but very effective. ‘Save you a bunch of time and the results are excellent. I know it appears that I have contradicted myself but this last is more of an add-on. I assumed from your original comments that your bevel angle was trashed. So, if it isn’t, then leave it alone. You run the risk of losing your iron’s temper plus possibly running into a hornet’s nest.

Hope this helps.

-- Dale, Michigan, [email protected] objects scare wife scares me too.

View groland's profile


221 posts in 3923 days

#5 posted 06-21-2013 11:49 AM


Thanks a lot for this information. In the meantime, I have actually purchased one of the Veritas jigs you mentioned. It is an excellent tool. You can clamp the iron into any angle you want in relation to the grinding wheel and then slide it securely left and right, maintaining the exact honing angle you are after. Cambering, micro-bevels and so on can be achieved on flattened water stones afterwards.


View UncleSnail's profile


54 posts in 3552 days

#6 posted 06-21-2013 10:23 PM

Your welcome George.

-- Dale, Michigan, [email protected] objects scare wife scares me too.

View mvilares's profile


12 posts in 2312 days

#7 posted 06-22-2013 01:22 AM

I wouldn’t advise a bench grinder for plane irons unless you are wanting a hollow grind due to the curvature of the grinding wheels. I use a granite stone with sandpaper or flat diamond stones and this gives me perfectly flat bottoms and I use a jig for the angle. This jig in particular in case you are interested:

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