Dished Sharpening Stone and Chip Breaker questions

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by sIKE posted 04-06-2008 05:17 AM 4152 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 4611 days

04-06-2008 05:17 AM

Topic tags/keywords: plane chisel sharpening question

I have a Norton Coarse Crystalon Sharpening Stone that I use for grinding my blades. I noticed towards the end of my grinding session (3 Plane blades and 12 Chisels) that I blades were getting a bit concaved. I then knew that it was time to flatten the stone again. Honestly I have not flatten it since I got it. So out came my coarse diamond stone. Now here is the question after a couple minutes of rubbing the stones together I could clear see the dish in the stone. After a couple of more minutes of rubbing I can still see the same exact shaped dish. So is my diamond stone worn out or am I to impatient? When I have flattening do I need to add any oil or water?

I got my first ‘bigger’ hand plane a #4 Smoothing plane by Groz (a cheapy one to learn with) and first off the blade came to me in bad shape(expected), and was a part (one of the longest to grind) of todays grinding session. My question is does the chip breaker need to be sharped or any other work need to be done with it?

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

10 replies so far

View Betsy's profile


3394 posts in 4753 days

#1 posted 04-06-2008 05:33 AM

FC – the chip breaker needs to sit flat onto the iron. When you put the assembly up to a light you should not see any light between the breaker and the back of the blade. If there is light then you need to “sharpen” the chip breaker. If the breaker is not properly set you will have issues with chips clogging up the plane and that is frustrating.

I been trying in the last week or so flattening my stones on wet/dry sandpaper placed on a granite slap. It’s worked quite well for me.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4618 days

#2 posted 04-06-2008 04:23 PM

Betsy is right. It is important to have an assortment of wet/dry sandpaper that you can place on a flat surface. I use a thick plate of glass. It’s tough to find the paper that you need at the “big box”, so I order it on-line from Highland Woodworking.

I purchased an inexpensive Kamal #4 plane and went through the tuning process. Fortunately the sole was pretty flat, so I did not have to apply it to the wet/dry paper. The iron however needed work. First of all, the back of the iron must be flat where the chip breaker contacts it. I spent about two hours flattening the iron from the edge back about one inch. You don’t need to flatten the whole iron. I progressed from 220, to 400, then 800, then 1200 grit until it was perfectly flat and highly polished. I then used a Veritas MKII honing guide on 220 paper to start the sharpening process and finished the honing on water stones until the edge would literally shave hairs on the back of my hand. The chip breaker required just a little bit of smoothing. This was quick and easy, but you need to be aware of the angle required so that it contacts the iron without even the slighest gaps. Now this hand plane can serve up long thin transulent curls of wood.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 4672 days

#3 posted 04-06-2008 04:31 PM

I just got done lapping some new chisels on sandpaper. You can usually get it at an auto paint/refinishing supply store.

-- Scott - Chico California

View Phildo92027's profile


54 posts in 4656 days

#4 posted 04-06-2008 05:21 PM

Ther are many methods for sharpening. All of those above are good ones. They can range from sandpaper on glass (Scary Sharp) to the Shapton Professional Stones. Also with various costs associated with them. All of the systems require that your abrasive surface be and remain flat. Using one stone to flatten another is one way to accomplish the flatness needed. Another is with glass or a granite surface plate. You are creating a reference face for your edges. Sharpness is the intersection of two polished planes (remember your geometry?) The finer the polish on each plane the finer the edge. To explore this further purchase an inexpensive 5x or 10x jewelers loop. you’ll be able to see the intersection of thes two planes. The smaller the “sawtooth” the sharper the edge.

The more “advanced” (read expensive) your system the “flatter” you referencing surface. the Shapton system creates stones that are flat to 3 microns. But at a price. This is overkill for all but the more obsessed of us. See my projects for a “Srtone Pond” to hold your stones. It looks nice and it’s useful.

-- Phil, Near San Diego, CA

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 4611 days

#5 posted 04-06-2008 06:12 PM

Thanks for all of the advice. I have been using the Scary Sharp system for some time. I have had good success after a bit of practice hold the bevel properly. Luckily I practiced with and old junky Stanley chisel. The poor thing was in such bad shape, and now it has a back bevel from hell. I have been working it out during my grinding session but it is really gonna take some work to be the back flat.

I will try some 220 grit Wet/Dry paper to flatten the stone, but I will start with my higher grits (I have a hodge podge of systems as I have been learning) and work down to this puppy. Thanks for the help.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 4611 days

#6 posted 04-07-2008 02:29 AM

Well 3 sheets of 220 grit wet dry sand paper and it is still dished. To me I have barely made a dent. Ant clues as to what I am doing wrong.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4854 days

#7 posted 04-07-2008 11:24 PM

How coarse is you crystalon stone? – any chance it’s coarser than what you’re trying to flatten it with? I think it may be in the 100-150 range…

That’s my gut.

You may need to flatten it with an equivalent or even coarser abrasive…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View jcees's profile


1079 posts in 4656 days

#8 posted 04-08-2008 06:05 AM

Keep going, you just didn’t realize just HOW deep the dish in your stone was. I use a Norton 220 grit diamond stone to true all of my stones too. Use plenty of water to remove the slurry and keep stroking!


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View incanopy's profile


6 posts in 3882 days

#9 posted 09-23-2010 05:18 AM


Reviving your old thread because I also grind on a coarse crystalon stone. I flatten it on a flat plate of unhardened steel with 30 grit or 60 grit silicon carbide powder on it. I bought the flat plate from the Japan Woodworker, who call it a kanaban. It’s used in the same way in japanese woodworking to flatten the back of new blades. Tools for Working Wood sell these as well.

That said, there’s no need to buy an official kanaban. I think any 1/4” or 3/8” thick piece of annealed steel will work, and I bet they’re cheaper from, e.g., If your kanaban goes out of flat, or arrives out of flat, you can flatten IT the same way you’d flatten a metal plane’s sole. I’ve lapped my kanaban using silicon carbide on Lee Valley lapping sheet on plexiglass on a granite reference plate. (Whew!) Probably no need for the LV sheet, the plexiglass (from Home Depot) is cheap enough that it doesn’t need any protection.

-- -- Aaron, Maryland

View incanopy's profile


6 posts in 3882 days

#10 posted 10-01-2010 10:17 PM

Well, I hate to have to correct my post, but that last one was wrong (well, it was wishful thinking). Actually, my success at flattening coarse crystalon stones came by using 60 grit silicon carbide (not 30 grit), and I specifically put it down on the lee valley psa plastic sheet, which I had applied to a piece of plexiglass. I used soapy water, not honing oil, as the lubricant. I kept the whole works flat by holding the plexiglass to a granite reference plate with a drop or two of soapy water between them.

In other words, I flattened my crystalon stone the same way I recommended flattening a kanaban in my original post.

I would like to be able to use a kanaban in place of the granite reference plate, because it’d be much more portable system. But when I tried it (using 30 grit and honing oil, not 60 grit and soapy water), a big lump of 30 grit and 120 grit from the stone formed between the stone and the kanaban. Not sure if the problem was the kanaban, the 30 grit, or using honing oil instead of soapy water.

Sorry for getting ahead of myself with my earlier post! I hope it didn’t cause anyone to try something that didn’t work.

-- -- Aaron, Maryland

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics