Someone in the Portland Area show me around a hand plane?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by kyngfish posted 02-09-2020 04:05 AM 1136 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View kyngfish's profile


115 posts in 943 days

02-09-2020 04:05 AM

Hi all. I’m a relatively new woodworker, but I know my way well enough around cars and power tools to be reasonably decent in doing some woodworking. But I’d like to learn to use my hand tools better. Mainly planes and chisels. Which I’m sure will lead to all sorts of money being spent.

Anyway, I’m trying to learn how to sharpen and adjust and use my number 7 and 5 Stanley planes and just not doing so hot with it. I’ve watched sharpening videos ad nauseum and just not able to get those blades as sharp as I think they need to be. Happy to pay someone for their time. I’m in the lake Oswego area. And I work in the Beaverton area.


12 replies so far

View therealSteveN's profile


6283 posts in 1428 days

#1 posted 02-09-2020 05:51 AM

This idea works, but if you don’t get any takers I see you have WoodCraft, and Rockler in town, plus others. If they sell any handtools, which I know both the first ones do, they should be able to show you enough to get started. Not really hard once you understand a few basics.

I have both WoodCraft really close, and another at 35 miles, plus a Rockler at 35 miles. I know the local WoodCraft guys pretty well, and they have scheduled regular classes. One of the best sellers is refurbish an old Stanley hand plane. They use a #5 Jack plane as the basic size, and start from anywhere from dreadful, to almost new, but the idea is to take them down, learn the ins and outs of sharpening the iron, spiffing them up if rusted, and setting them up to shave off fine curls. I believe it is a great starter course, because it talks you through rusted junk, to a working piece of magic, and everything between. Might see if that is a system wide thing, or if not something they might want to look into.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16905 posts in 3472 days

#2 posted 02-09-2020 06:58 AM

Pls post on handplanes thread and state of the shOp thread, you’ll get a taker,

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

View kyngfish's profile


115 posts in 943 days

#3 posted 02-09-2020 07:38 AM

Rocker and Woodcraft are great resources. But I looked into the classes and seminars they do and none of it specifically goes into that much detail. :)

View therealSteveN's profile


6283 posts in 1428 days

#4 posted 02-09-2020 10:15 AM

I keep thinking the guy who owns. and manages the local WoodCraft (Dayton) is something of a genius. I guess I must be right. I’m pretty sure the guy who owns the Cinci store 35 miles away doesn’t offer this as a class, or if he does I’m not aware anyhow. Now the guy who manages, and several of the people that work in the Cinci Rockler would probably listen to you about a class/event to do the same at their store. Also probably why 99% of my buys are at the Dayton WoodCraft, and the Cinci Rockler. BTW the Cinci Rockler, and WoodCraft are within spitting distance of each other, and I hardly ever even go into the Cinci WoodCraft.

Maybe if an e-mail address for either the Rockler, or WoodCraft was available you could send them a copy of this thread, asking what do you think??

I know one thing for sure. Amazon will NEVER offer something like this. So if the brick and mortar places wonder what they could have done to keep customers loyal, my thought is stuff like this. Through the years sadly I have read many threads from guys who’s local bit the farm, so to speak. Just having the same stuff the catalog place has is hardly the reason.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Don W's profile

Don W

19698 posts in 3421 days

#5 posted 02-09-2020 12:43 PM

You didn’t mention how long you’ve been trying. Although I agree having someone to coach is an advantage, it still just takes practice until suddenly you have that “ahah” moment.

Stick with it.

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

View tvrgeek's profile


1044 posts in 2503 days

#6 posted 02-09-2020 12:50 PM

Years ago I read some books by James Krenov and learned a bit.
Read about sharpening. I recently upgraded my techniques to include 3000 grit paper and a strop. Really helps. I have Hoch irons in my planes, so some real steel to work with.
Another tip I got from the Woodwright’s shop on tv was that my scrub plane was not as it had a flat blade. I converted it and now can rough out stock far quicker before moving to my big jointer and planer.

View kyngfish's profile


115 posts in 943 days

#7 posted 02-09-2020 12:51 PM

Well. I spent about 2 hours sharpening the blade on my jointer plane. And then I used it for around 12 hours to wrap the island in this project. That was about a year ago. I have tried again multiple times after that and then sort of moved on and bought a jointer.

So I’m not asking this from laziness.

View corelz125's profile


1543 posts in 1830 days

#8 posted 02-09-2020 10:32 PM

You know the iron is sharp enough when it can shave a hair off your arm. Did you make sure the back of the iron is flat?

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3604 posts in 2348 days

#9 posted 02-11-2020 01:36 AM

I’ve watched sharpening videos ad nauseum and just not able to get those blades as sharp as I think they need to be.
- kyngfish

Had similar problem. Didn’t matter whether I used scary sharp, water stones, or diamond stones to sharpen; the blades rarely got sharp enough. Meaning sharp enough to shave arm hair without tearing.

One sharpening tip fixed this for me? >> Pay attention to the back side edge burr!

As soon as I started using the burr as my indicator of sharpening process, all my technique and/or equipment errors become obvious, and easy to fix. If you can’t feel, or see a burr on back side of edge, before you change to smaller grit, something is wrong. The burr doesn’t have to be big, and for some metals it can be invisible without a magnifying glass. But if you manage the burr, sharp edges are easier to achieve.

#IAMAKLUTZ and watching the burr gave me several ‘aha’ moments I can share as long you promise to not laugh? LOL

- Back of iron must be flat.
Without flat plane on back edge of blade, the burr is uneven or discontinuous.

- Back of iron should have finely polished surface on the 1/16”+ end where you create edge.
If the back has rough surface or gouges in it, the burr is uneven or discontinuous; or can require more material removal to get uniform edge burr.

- Using sandpaper (AKA scary sharp) demands the paper be attached to a flat surface.
It the paper can lift as you push the blade forward, the burr is knocked off and it loses sharp edge. Even with paper attached, if base paper swells and gets mushy, same thing happens.
My fix for paper back sand paper was to only use pull strokes. This was only method that kept the burr on edge. Using sanding media with plastic film backing still needs to be flat, but it does remove the fluid swelling issues when sanding for long time.

- If your water stones are not flat, the burr is never uniform end to end, or edge portions fall off during sharpening.

- Blade side must be kept 90° to edge during sharpening.
When using a blade guide, it easy to get an tilted edge. When this happens it is very hard to use whole blade width on hand plane, and one edge consistently digs into wood.
LJ user mafe has examples of guides that will remove this error:

- Edge guides are like crutches, we use them to help us keep a single angle; but we still have to do the walking (sharpening) consistently.
In my haste to create sharp edges, learned my technique with edge guides was horribly inconsistent. Found that during the push stroke I was pushing too fast/hard, and randomly changing the angle on my push strokes. When I pushed forward the edge burr was abraded away, and I lost the sharp edge.
Any time I am in a hurry to sharpen an edge, have to use push strokes only. Another trick I learned with free hand edge touch ups was to work with blade sideways on water stones in circular motion. It is much harder to roll the edge forward when sharpening the blade lengthwise.

Last but not least:
Found several of my Stanley hand plane blades were abused in past life, or had questionable steel leaving the factory. While I can get them sharp enough for surgery on my arm; have a couple where the blade life is only 10-20ft of planing before the edge is dulled. Have one that can’t even finish edge jointing an 4ft board without touch up, that has since been retired.
Didn’t learn that I owned questionable blades until I bought a brand new Stanley blade . After my experience with new OEM blade, I also bought blades from Hock, Pinnacle, and Veritas. All of the A2 steel blades hold an edge much longer then any Stanley blade can dream about. The PM11 steel from Veritas has become my favorite, as it sharpens as easily as OEM (A2 is harder to sharpen), and holds edge longer than any other plane blade I have tested. When it comes to chisels, my Japanese blue steel chisels last little longer than PM11, but also require more work to sharpen on water stones.
My point mentioning alternate blades: The harder steels kept the edge burr longer, until I made one the mistakes above and ripped it off accidentally.

Hope this helps.
Best Luck!

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Phil32's profile


1133 posts in 757 days

#10 posted 02-11-2020 02:15 AM

One of our first required tasks in 7th grade woodshop class was sharpening and tuning a hand plane. We did not pass this requirement until we could produce a curled shaving the full length of a 3 foot board edge. We were eleven year old kids. For me that was 76 years ago and I haven’t lost the skill. What has changed? Not the planes.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View Racheed's profile


5 posts in 239 days

#11 posted 02-11-2020 04:17 AM

The biggest thing is to keep your angles consistent. I made this jig so every time I sharpen it will always be at the correct angle. I dislike sharpening just as much as the next guy.

View SonOfMI's profile


27 posts in 1894 days

#12 posted 02-11-2020 08:13 AM

I live in ATL but my in-laws live in PDX and Beaverton. Nice cities and I’ve spent a lot of time there. Even shopped at the WW stores around there.

Woodcraft In Tigard is good. These guys will know their way around handplanes and are close to Oswego. They may encourage you to take some of their classes.

Woodcrafters across the Burnside bridge on 6th are great. They have more stuff than Woodcraft and I will order a particular item from them that I can’t get here. I even bought my Worksharp from them after talking with them when they happened to have a sale when I was in town.

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