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Where to sharpen hand plane blades?

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Forum topic by austios posted 10-21-2021 01:02 PM 638 views 2 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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austios

6 posts in 40 days


10-21-2021 01:02 PM

Hello all,

I am relatively new to woodworking and consider myself a novice. On 2 separate occasions, I have acquired both a hand plane and block plane at a nearby thrift store, so I thought I’d take them home and give them new life. I do have a 2 sided water stone, but that was designed for kitchen knives. I think I may just want to take them somewhere to get them professionally done, then maybe do the upkeep myself.

Question is, where do you suggest I go? Would a place that sharpens knives be good or do I need a specialist? I live in the Kansas City, MO area, if anybody has any ideas. We do have a local woodturner’s association as well as a Woodcraft store nearby, so should I maybe call them and see if they can probably point me in the right direction?

Thanks in advance


26 replies so far

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controlfreak

3050 posts in 883 days


#1 posted 10-21-2021 01:13 PM

I would get some diamond plates like these
and an Eclipse jig like this.

A horse butt stro
and you will be all set. You are going to need the planes to be razor sharp and they will start to dull right away, so you will need a way to touch them up.

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BurlyBob

9396 posts in 3548 days


#2 posted 10-21-2021 01:28 PM

Try scrap granite or quartz counter top material and wet/dry sandpaper.

View Robert's profile

Robert

4783 posts in 2763 days


#3 posted 10-21-2021 01:30 PM

What planes are they? Some thrift store stuff is junk and not even worth messing with.

Sharpen your own stuff it’s fundamental to this craft.

If you’re not ready to invest in stones, a cheap way to go is sandpaper.

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

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Ocelot

3561 posts in 3920 days


#4 posted 10-21-2021 01:30 PM

The diamond plates that CF recommended I’m sure are very nice, but you can do very well with much cheaper ones from China off of eBay. That is what I use now – as recommended by Paul Sellers.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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brtech

1173 posts in 4205 days


#5 posted 10-21-2021 02:28 PM

No one I know sends their chisels or plane blades to someone else for sharpening. We all do it ourselves.
It’s really not that hard. Lots of videos. There are basically 3 choices:

1. “Scary Sharp”: sandpaper or lapping film on glass or granite
2. Stones: Diamond plates are in vogue, but lots of us still use waterstones, and some of us use oil stones for some steps
3. Electric – a Tormek or a WorkSharp

For plane blades, most of us use a guide to hold the blade at the right angle, some of us free hand. Most of us use the secondary bevel trick to avoid working too hard on the bevel.

I recommend starting with scary sharp. It’s cheap to start, and the result is as good as you would get from any other mechanism. Then move to a diamond plate system. Get a guide. The basic “eclipse” style side clamping guide works well enough.

I gather that cost is a big issue for you. You may never get to the Tormek. That’s okay. We can get the same results with scary sharp, but it costs more in the end because of consumables, or stones. Waterstones work as well or better than diamonds, but are harder to keep flat and messier to use. A hard Arkansas black is a pretty amazing stone, but also has flattening issues.

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Ocelot

3561 posts in 3920 days


#6 posted 10-21-2021 02:42 PM

brtech gave good advice. I too started with sandpaper. If you already have sandpaper and some flat glass or similar, it is a good way to start – but with a honing guide. I should say that 3 cheap chinese diamond plates would set you back less than $30 and you can also find a honing guide for less than $10 if you can wait for it to ship from China. You can save a lot of time with diamonds. I once bought a $120 DMT stone but no longer use it – prefering the cheap ones.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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Ocelot

3561 posts in 3920 days


#7 posted 10-21-2021 02:46 PM

Also, you can make a honing guide from wood that will do in a pinch for next to nothing. I haven’t found it to be worth the trouble – and have 5 or so that I have bought. My kids like to sharpen at the same time as me, so I need extras.

https://www.finewoodworking.com/2006/08/21/shopmade-honing-guide

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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Loren

11307 posts in 4930 days


#8 posted 10-21-2021 03:34 PM

No regular sharpening service is likely to lap the backs. You can do that part yourself on your water stone.

If you don’t want to lap the backs some premium replacement plane irons may barely require it.

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controlfreak

3050 posts in 883 days


#9 posted 10-21-2021 04:33 PM



The diamond plates that CF recommended I m sure are very nice, but you can do very well with much cheaper ones from China off of eBay. That is what I use now – as recommended by Paul Sellers.

- Ocelot


Those are cheap Ocelot! I have no idea how they compare but I would try them at that price. Of course these days it all depends on what is available. To the OP I would go with Ocelot’s plates and the cheap guide. I would bypass the scary sharp sandpaper, you are limited to only going in one direction which doubles your time and the cost of the paper adds up. I started with wet stones, too messy, got scary sharp, too slow, Got work sharp, good for chisels but plane irons are too wide and no camber. Diamond plates can do it all but I still like the work sharp if I am going to do my entire set of chisels at the start of a project. I do wish I had started at the diamond plates first.

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Sylvain

1432 posts in 3781 days


#10 posted 10-21-2021 04:59 PM

Don’t buy a lot of machinery.
Hand sharpening is part of the craft:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gE4yVgdVW7s&t=1s
Paul Sellers sharpen his plane more than once each day; so outsourcing this task is not an option.
Using machinery (Tormek) takes more time than doing it free hand. (At least when you have acquired the skill).

I recommend visiting the site :
https://commonwoodworking.com/
one has to register but it is free.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn (and that is nice)

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controlfreak

3050 posts in 883 days


#11 posted 10-21-2021 05:38 PM

+1 Sylvain on Paul Sellers, he is a wealth of knowledge but some love him and I am sur some don’t too. He is an old school joiner but if you observe his setup he keeps his diamond plates just under the bench on his left side so it is always within reach. I may do this too as it looks like it makes good sense. I used to put off sharpening but as I make it more convenient it becomes less of a time suck.

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Ocelot

3561 posts in 3920 days


#12 posted 10-22-2021 01:20 PM

OP Austios has not yet returned to comment.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

9208 posts in 1856 days


#13 posted 10-22-2021 03:57 PM

My local WoodCraft has a sharpening guy that comes by once a week to pick up whatever needs sharpening. I mainly drop off table saw blades. He does as good a job as I used to get sending them to Forrest.

-- Think safe, be safe

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austios

6 posts in 40 days


#14 posted 10-22-2021 04:13 PM

who says I HAVE to comment? I’ve been reading your replies as they come in.


OP Austios has not yet returned to comment.

- Ocelot


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austios

6 posts in 40 days


#15 posted 10-22-2021 04:17 PM

Thank you all for the recommendations.

As I mentioned before, I’m right now just a hobbyist woodworker, so spending the money (even $30-50) is just not a priority right now. I will try my whetstones as well as dry/wet sandpaper. I have some high grit sand paper (up to 3000 grit I believe).

I watched a video by Jonathan Katz-Moses on what he does… some of it still went over my head and I still think that its not worth the investment at this point. I know it won’t be perfect, but I think using my whetstone and/or sandpaper will just have to do.

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