Lee Valley shopping list... suggestions?

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Forum topic by pneufab posted 12-24-2012 06:32 AM 3078 views 1 time favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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131 posts in 4418 days

12-24-2012 06:32 AM

Topic tags/keywords: iron plane chisel micro bevel sharpen waterstone norton lee valley veritas jack stanley tips suggestions

After my last project, I realized two things.

1. I think my woodworking would benefit from a good hand plane or two and a few sharp chisels
2. I really need a way to sharpen them

After a bit of research, a #5 plane was what I decided to go with. I just won a Stanley 5C on EBay for about $48.00 shipped that appears to be in good shape. I will see in a few days. :) (hopefully this wasn’t a mistake!)

Now I need a way to sharpen it. I spent a bit of time researching and think I may have a decent starter kit.

I assume the blade will be pretty bad on my “new” plane, so I think it will benefit for the Veritas replacement.

Any suggestions on these items? Anything else I should be looking at? Is 8000 necessary or are the 1000/4000 good enough for now? I figured the 220 diamond plate will be a good investment to rough shape the the irons and chisels as well as flatten the stones or is it not necessary?

Being new to hand tools, my goal is to be able to get a sharp edge easily and repeatably, without spending $1000k. I want to be able to get the most from the tools and enjoy using them. I am open to any suggestions!


I appreciate any feedback!

Thank you in advance.

30 replies so far

View JohnChung's profile


422 posts in 3412 days

#1 posted 12-24-2012 07:16 AM

I would wait before buying the blade. You need to determine how much work is needed in tuning the plane itself. After the assessment then only I would proceed with the extras itself like a blade or cap iron.

The Veritas jig is very good set. I own one myself. You would not go wrong there. As for the waterstone and the DMT plate it depends on your need. Shapton waterstones is one of the recommended brands. Not sure if the item on the list is preferred. The DMT plate can be used to flatten your waterstones. From the message above, I gather that you excited :) but do start with a good book itself on sharpening.

There are 2 books in mind:

After all the reading, you will understand which tools you would need to get a sharp blade. Here was what I started with.

1) Veritas Jig
2) Sandpaper on various grits on GLASS sheet.

With this set it is good enough for a sharp blade. Upgrade the tools to your sharpening needs. The first lesson in carpentry is sharpening…. Get this right and build your knowledge from there. :)

Good luck.

View bobasaurus's profile


3743 posts in 4522 days

#2 posted 12-24-2012 07:30 AM

That set of items should cover most of your sharpening needs, but I would look into sharpening by hand and forgo the honing guides. Rob Cosman’s sharpening method is much quicker than using any guide/jig and works just as well. The diamond stone will be a good buy… you can use it for very course nick removal, flattening of the stones (which should be done nearly every time you sharpen), and general-purpose lapping. Personally, I prefer the Shapton waterstones since you only need to spritz them with a squirt bottle instead of soaking them for ages before use like most others, but the ones you chose will work fine too. Does Lee Valley make the PM-V11 blades for the #5 replacements? If so it may be worth getting that instead of the A2.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View nwbusa's profile


1023 posts in 3624 days

#3 posted 12-24-2012 09:10 AM

Yes to the MkII, it is a great honing guide. I personally use nothing but DMT plates all the way up to 8000 grit, just because I find them to be virtually maintenance free (and less messy to use than water stones). But you’ve chosen good stuff for your sharpening needs,

-- John, BC, Canada

View Loren's profile (online now)


11372 posts in 4986 days

#4 posted 12-24-2012 11:20 AM

I’d wait on upgrading the plane iron. The standard
ones work very well for most work. The important
thing is to hone the iron well and the
chipbreaker too.

A 1000/4000 grit stone is a great start. 4000 polishes
just fine.

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 5141 days

#5 posted 12-24-2012 11:34 AM

If you are willing to pay a little more, I would take a look at the Bester/Imanishi stones that LV carries, they cut considerably faster than the King – you would notice a considerable difference with the 8000 range stone but they wear slowly enough you probably won’t buy another. I would recommend that you have that last stone, either way. But you cannot skip the 4000 stage, and the 200 stage is probably too coarse to be effective for the 1000.

The combination stone is a good start, you will probably want to replace it eventually with two, at which point you will have learned enough to judge for yourself.

I’d also agree with holding off on the replacement blade, first to see what you have got, and second so that you can not worry about learning by doing.

View paratrooper34's profile


916 posts in 4290 days

#6 posted 12-24-2012 11:50 AM

pnuefab, great choice in getting started. I will point out a couple of things for you.

The others above who mentioned to forgo the blade I believe are correct. The A2 blade is tough and could potentially piss you off when flattening/polish the back and getting a microbevel on it. I have many planes that are used on every project, but only one with an A2 blade (the one I use on a shooting board) Plus, it is probably unnecessary on an all around use jack plane. The one you got off eBay looks like a really nice plane. I suggest saving a little money and stay with that blade for now.

I see you are looking at the diasharp plate and an 8,000 grit stone. You need something in the middle, at least one more grit. Going from 220 to 8,000 will also piss you off as you polish a rough surface left by the 220. With the 220 diamond plate you have (which is good for flattening both iron and your stone(s) and establishing primary bevels), you can add the 1,000/4,000 in lieu of the 8,000 and get good results.

The honing guide is a very nice tool. I have two that I use all the time.

Good Luck!

-- Mike

View pneufab's profile


131 posts in 4418 days

#7 posted 12-24-2012 12:11 PM

Wow, Merry Christmas eve everyone!

I didn’t expect so many replies over night, thank you all!

John C – Thank you for the book recommendations. I am going to check my local library to see if they have either or both and check them out. If not, I may order them since I need to order a 2013 Domo calendar anyway!

I will hold off on the plane iron until I see what I have to work with. I have a few very cheap (a block and something else I never took out of the package yet) Stanley planes from Menards. I will practice sharpening those prior to going for the “new” plane blade.

nwbusa I did a brief search and was unable to find anyone to recommend the diamond plates to the final finishing. I like the idea of not having to soak, not a ton of water or oil and never having to flatten. I assume the plates last forever also?? I may start with some water stones and work my way up to the diamonds….

Arminius – that was my thought on the combo stone also. Buy one now and save a few bucks, until I get some sharpening under my belt! I will look into the other stones

Paratrooper – I do actually have a 1000/4000 Norton combo stone on my list. If you squint real hard, you can see it (I thought the picture would be larger, sorry!)I could not imagine the frustration of getting a 220 scratch with 8000. :).. Thanks for the tip on the A2. I was reading the differences and noticed the “durability” factor in the LV description..

Being new, I have been reading a lot of info, but here is where I am a bit more confused. Do I NEED a grinding system?? Being honest with myself, I don’t think I am going to be using a ton of hand tools. My thought is that if I neglect the blades or totally jack them up that I cannot straighten on the plate and stones, then there has to be a sharpening service that I can send them in to have them fixed.

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 5141 days

#8 posted 12-24-2012 12:44 PM

Over time, a grinder with a decent wheel is probably a good investment – they end up being quite useful. But for most minor shaping tasks on chisels and plane irons like removing a nick or restoring a primary bevel, I use a 300 stone anyway.

View Don W's profile

Don W

20288 posts in 3906 days

#9 posted 12-24-2012 01:04 PM

Well here is one more recommendation for DMT’s all the way. I hated water stones. They are a hassle, especially if your shop is not heated. Not that they don’t do a decent job, any kind of quality stone will, but the DMT are almost maintenance free.

I’ve heard guys say the DMT’s don’t do as good of a job as oil or water stones. I’ve done my own testing, and can’t see any difference in final. I’ve also tested stoping after my 3 micron dmt and can’t see any difference. I still use the strop to cut the burr, and touch up once in a while.

This is dmt all the way, a restored Stanley, original blade.

I also agree with holding off on the new blade. A properly tuned Stanley blade will typically work just fine. You also won’t be disappointed in your choice of the #5, or going vintage.

Good luck in your quest.

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

20288 posts in 3906 days

#10 posted 12-24-2012 01:08 PM

One more opinion if your interested. I’m sure the vertas honing guide is exceptional. Everything from LV I’ve ever bought I’ve been happy with, but for $20 you can get an eclipse style guide. Unless you’ve got an endless supply of disposable income, I’m not sure there is 3 or 4 times as much advantage in the veritas.

Edit: and free shipping from now till the 7th, perfect timing.

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

View pneufab's profile


131 posts in 4418 days

#11 posted 12-24-2012 02:18 PM

Don - Thanks for the info and pics! Nice job on that plane! I assume you use the Dia-Sharp stones? Looking and LV, they aren’t horrible in price, but I noticed a gap in grits. I assume I want a 220 for initial shaping, then they go from 600 to 1200. 220 to 1200 and then up to the 8000. Those seem like large jumps to me. What do you use or recommend?

I saw the free shipping, part of why I am looking into it now (plus having the day off helps kill the time) :)

I certainly do not have a disposable income! I am, how do you say, CHEAP!!! I usually try to get by with the cheapest options that I think will work for me. Heck, a week ago I convinced myself that I was going to order the Veritas BU jack plane! A week later I am bidding on < $50 planes on EBay! I degrade quickly in my spending decisions!

In my older age, I am beginning to learn that sometimes, it is worth maybe getting something a little bit better to make things easier/ faster. I like the micro bevel and radius options on the Veritas guide. I know myself and if it is too difficult to use, set up, master, I will most likely not use it. I think I will “splurge” on the Veritas guide for now since I bought the used plane (heck, in my mind I saved $175 over the Veritas… for now anyway…...:) )Not saying a $20.00 guide won’t work well for me, but who knows… I may do some more research on guides prior to ordering anything… thanks for the suggestion!!

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 4770 days

#12 posted 12-24-2012 02:22 PM

The honing guide is a great tool, I own one and even I can get a good edge! Flatten the backs first.

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View Don W's profile

Don W

20288 posts in 3906 days

#13 posted 12-24-2012 03:09 PM

So, here is my opinion. The statement of my opinion is free, and many will tell you get what you pay for. So it’s not advice, its just my opinion.

Sharpening is like a religion. I’ve heard that over and over in this site and believe it whole heartily. And probably not for the reason you think. Any type of stone or sharpening system will work and work well. The religion part is, if you believe in a system, and believe it will work, you make it work. Hell, Paul Sellers can take a out of whack water stone, never flatten and get whisper thin shavings. There are guys here who will tell you that’s just Ridiculous and it can’t happen.

I was basically an oil stone guy. I happened on ebay one night and stumbled on a set of 4 dia-sharp stones, buy it now for $100. They were 3×10 and stated as like new. I’ve never looked back.

As for jumping from one stone to the next, once my primary bevel is set I only use the extra-fine unless I get a nick or do something stupid like hit metal (or concrete floor). Then if its bad, I go to the grinder, hollow grind, then go to the extra fine. I almost never go through the grits in normal sharpening. The set is fantastic however when you want to flatten the backs, and I believe its more important than the bevel.

I would recommend the 220, 1200 and 8000 unless buying a set is cheaper. Its all you’ll need if you join my church. There are many religions, so just pick one and go with it. You really can’t go wrong with any of them.

In my church we hate micro bevels, back bevels, ruler tricks and other ways to circumvent a solid sharpening system. Again, not saying they don’t work, I’ll use the ruler trick on blades badly pitted with very good results. You just then need to remember exactly what you did to reproduce the sharp.

Most important, have some fun. And I wouldn’t look at buying the Stanley as saving money. Once your hooked, it can become very very addicting.

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

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 4029 days

#14 posted 12-24-2012 04:25 PM

I would wait until you have the plane in hand to make an assessment of how much work it will need.

+1 for the Veritas MKII, I own one and it was a major step in the right direction for me on my sharpening journey. Until recently I have been using the MKII with sandpaper on a piece of marble with good results, but found I was spending enough money on sandpaper that I should just buy waterstones and be done with it already.

Now I use the Norton 1000/4000 and a King 6000. The King wears s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y, and give a nice polish. As my journey to sharpening enlightenment continues, I may explore higher grits stones; For now 6000 grit makes as sharp an edge as I have ever been able to produce with my own two hands.

Edit: And Don, you are one sick, sick man. I admire you sir.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View waho6o9's profile


9135 posts in 3915 days

#15 posted 12-24-2012 04:32 PM

On 8000 water stones or higher grit a nagura stone produces
a slurry and makes for a mirror like finish :)

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