Ron Hock Blades and chip breakers

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Forum topic by willy66 posted 07-15-2011 03:19 PM 3671 views 1 time favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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44 posts in 3210 days

07-15-2011 03:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plane blade sharpening

Ok, so I am lucky enough (and cursed) to work about 12 blocks away from Tools For Working Wood, in Brooklyn, NY. I’m lucky cuz I get to look at their website, and pick from their high quality tools selection, then go there and touch these things BEFORE I buy them. Plus I don’t have to wait for my new toys…uh..I mean tools to ship to me. The curse is that it makes it that much easier to blow a lot of money quickly. So far I’ve gotten their hold fasts, some dovetail chisels, my Starretts and now a set of Ron Hock Blades and Chip breaker for my Stanley Bailey No. 4 smooth plane.

Now I am pretty new to the whole hand plane scene, and have been buying vintage and restoring. Also new to sharpening, and decided to go with the the Worksharp 3000, mostly because of the lower cost, and ease of use. I am all for doing things the old fashion way, but my thinking was that for something like sharpening, if there is an easier way that is equally effective, use it. That way I can spend more time honing my hand plane skills and dovetailing, instead of honing edges. I have been sharpening my plane irons and chisels with the Worksharp, and it seems to be working well….until I put the Ron Hock Cap and Iron on my #4. WOW. What A difference. A better finish on the wood, easier to use, easier to adjust, finer more consistent shavings. WOW! I will be buying new Caps and Irons for my #5 and #6 as soon as I can save up enough milk money.

This major difference got me thinking though… Is it the old blades that are that much more inferior, or is it the sharpening method? I have yet to sharpen my new blade, so I am not sure. That is the questions I want to (finally) ask all of you who have a little more experience-

What have you heard/experienced with the Worksharp 3000? Has anyone compared this to the old fashion water stone/oilstone methods? Any and all input is welcome.

-- -Willy, White Plains, NY

30 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8554 posts in 4256 days

#1 posted 07-15-2011 03:38 PM

It’s a combination of both – the hock blades are thicker (and may or may not be used of different metal than what you were using before making it capable of a finer edge) this equates to more penetration capability from the blade and less prone to vibration induced into it which results in a better and easier cut.

Also they were probably sharpened and honed to a higher degree then what you are accustomed to when using your worksharp 3000.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View wingate_52's profile


226 posts in 3177 days

#2 posted 07-15-2011 06:09 PM

I have spent some time, flattening then sharpening and honing Record/Stanley vanadium plane blades recently. I have overhauled most of my Bailey type planes and was really pleased with the results. I also have a laminated Japanese blade that I save for ebony (fingerboards). Reading stuff and watching videos on the internet have convinced me to try a Cosman IBC blade and chipbreaker/back iron. With a bit of filing of the frog, not the mouth of the plane and elongating a hole on the breaker, I have the BEST Plane ever in my collection. It is sharp and cuts effortlessly and holds it’s edge. If a Hock has similar properties, go for it.

View TheDane's profile


5728 posts in 4270 days

#3 posted 07-15-2011 06:49 PM

FWIW, I have three planes (a #3, one of my #5’s, and my #7) that are fitted out with Hock A2 irons and chipbreakers. My #4 and the other #5 are fitted out with Cosman IBC irons and chipbreakers.

All 5 were lapped and honed on Japanese waterstones, and I can’t tell the difference in performance. They are all excellent, and all seem to hold the edge very well.

The irons are thicker, which can present some problems when they are installed in a vintage plane because the mouth may not be large enough. I had that issue on my #4, but corrected it with some careful filing to enlarge the mouth. The other four planes weren’t a problem … I get angel hair shavings with them without messing up the mouth of the plane.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4704 days

#4 posted 07-15-2011 06:56 PM

There was some discussion of this in one of Paul Sellers forum posts about how unnecessary premimum blades were. I was a pretty interesting discussion. Basically there was not an advantage for using premium blades/chipbreakers over the original blades on old planes. I will try to find it and link it back here.

As a disclamer, I use Hock blades/chip breakers in pretty much all of my bench planes and have an IBC blade in my Stanley 62.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4704 days

#5 posted 07-15-2011 07:44 PM

Some of the discussion was in this thread… It is a good read on handplanes if you have not already read it.

The other part may be in the monolithic hand plane of your dreams post. I was kind of hoping Paul would see this thead and drop in to pass along a little of his wisdom.

Also, be warned corrigated plane bottoms are the devil’s spawn and only fit to fuel the collector’s market… : ^ ) (some exageration on my part but Paul has some real good arguments against them as well)

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 3169 days

#6 posted 07-16-2011 12:05 AM

^ A very good read indeed!

What are Paul’s arguments against corrugated bottoms or do you have a link? I’m looking to get a #7 or #8 Bailey and see that quite a few are corrugated. I know that corrugated bottoms have less friction and are supposed to be easier to push through the wood but it would be useful to understand their downside.

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4704 days

#7 posted 07-16-2011 12:54 AM

Paul’s argument is in post #73 of this thread. The entire thread is worth reading….

The advice is bad, Al. I do not usually intercede between the decisions and advice of others, but I do, in this case, want to go on record with reference to corrugated soles. A friend went against the sage advice of his elder mentor craftsmen and bought one of the corrugated soled versions decades ago. Every time he used it the grooves clogged with wafer thin shavings, just as he had been warned. I mean with every swipe the sole sucked in the shavings on the return stroke as it sometimes does with regular flat soles, but a thousand more times in a day. I wish this maker had done the research and asked a few older woodworkers before going into production. Reduces friction? Maybe some. Ever tried running a chamfer with a corrugated soled plane. It works; but only now and again. Break the corners on a box, sure, but it’s risky on a finished piece.
Let me know how you go on. I don’t in any way want to hurt any reputations but some people are going to be taken in by a pretty face. Don’t ever use a corrugated soled plane on veneer work or fine work. You’ll pay the price.

and in post 75

Absolutely. The fact that corrugations are there means that any slight skewing along narrower edges or near the long corners or any slight tilt on the plane causes the corrugation to catch on the corner of the wood and this tears the corner sometimes. No, oftentimes.

Now if you are a collector person, which I hope you are not, this would be a great addition. In fact I strongly recommend that all plane collectors, that is those who merely perceive planes and tools as relics of a past woodworking era to be displayed for entertainment and amusement, should buy up every corrugated plane they can find and amass a wonderful collection. That way we wont have to address this issue ever again except to say these planes are highly sought after collector items equal in use to the woodworker to the Stanley #1.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 3169 days

#8 posted 07-16-2011 01:12 AM

Thanks, Wayne. Great stuff!

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4704 days

#9 posted 07-16-2011 01:19 AM

Your most welcome.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View marcfromny's profile


45 posts in 3966 days

#10 posted 07-16-2011 04:45 PM

I work in brooklyn also and will soon be moving about 10 blocks away on 3rd from TTFW. I cant believe I havent been there yet. i’ve been meaning to though.

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4704 days

#11 posted 07-16-2011 04:48 PM

I am luck I live all the way a cross the country from TTFW. Otherwise I would be broke….lol Lots of stuff there on my wishlist. (I actually got a package from them this week, awk, Ashley Iles carving tools are too hard to resist)

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View JSZ's profile


37 posts in 3670 days

#12 posted 07-18-2011 03:33 AM

Getting back to the original question:

Even Ron’s plane irons need to be touched up before they will give you the best surface on the workpiece. There are almost as many ways to sharpen plane irons (and chisels, for that matter) as there are woodworkers.

Having tried to learn sharpening out of a book, I got frustrated, and one day several decades ago took a class from someone who knew what they were doing with steel and abrasives. That was a watershed day for me. Everything I did in the shop got easier, and my work got better. Now I teach sharpening to others, and I hope they have “Eureka” moments just like I did.

I can’t comment on the Worksharp 3000, because I don’t own one. I believe they use replaceable abrasive disks for sharpening, which seems to be a never-ending expense. I’m a little more old-fashioned, I suppose. I hollow grind my irons and western chisels on a grinder, and then hone on synthetic waterstones. I don’t know how to compare edges between the two systems, but I am satisfied with the surfaces my planes leave behind. I occasionally need to touch up the surfaces with a scraper, but rarely need to sand.

For a description of the theory of a sharp edge – and a step-by-step guide to obtaining one you can visit my blog and read through the posts on grinding and honing. Here is a link to the first post.

Good luck, and happy sharpening!!

-- -- Do Good Work. Jeff Zens, Custom Built Furniture, Salem, OR.

View need2boat's profile


544 posts in 3300 days

#13 posted 07-21-2011 01:27 PM

Hello all I have a bit of different question but figured since were on the topic of Hock Blades and chip breakers why start a second thread.

It’s about the adjustment of the mouth to the blade. Most of my planes are type 7. 4, 5, 7 where hand me downs and I filled in 6, and 8 with they same types. I’ve got Hock Blades and chip breakers in 4,5,7 and I find they work great but I have times when I feel like I could use more clearence in the mouth.

It’s a tight adjustment, go to far back and the blade does site flat to the frog too far forward and it’s no good either. Anyone have a good link on adjusting of the frog with a larger blade.

Is the answer always opening the mouth or can the frog be shaved down or modified?

I’m sure this has been talked about but searched Hock Blades adjustment and really didn’t find much.



-- Second Chance Saw Works Blog: Positive Rake

View TheDane's profile


5728 posts in 4270 days

#14 posted 07-21-2011 02:02 PM

Joe—I have heard of guys milling down the frog, but opening the mouth a bit with a file is a heck of a lot easier. There’s a lot more material to deal with on the frog, and if you aren’t dead-on you could have a devil of a time getting the plane properly fettled.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Bertha's profile


13569 posts in 3300 days

#15 posted 07-21-2011 02:07 PM

I’m still rattled from you living so close to that store. I’d be a dead man. I certainly understand the arguments on both sides. I’ve admitted my faults very transparently on this site and this is one of them. I like the Hocks because they look cool, take a good edge, and feel stable (in that order, admittedly). I’ve got plenty of period Stanleys that I use and I can’t promise the Hocks cut any better. I agree with Paul Sellers on the “chatter” mislabel but the thicker blades just feel a little bit better to me. Can’t say why. It may be that many of my period chipbreakers have been fiddled with to the point that they don’t address the iron as they should. $100 is a lot to spend on an unnecessary upgrade but I do it all the time.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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