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I am having a problem with keeping the plane blade square when sharpening. My tools are an old joiner for a flat surface, a honing guide (not Veritas) that clamps from both sides and wet/dry sandpaper. The problem is rounding of the corners. Since the roller on the guide is rather narrow compared to the Veritas I am assuming it might be the primary reason. That is, the guide will easily lean left or right. That noted, I wondered if anyone has more success with a slower rate of stroke and/or a lighter pressure being applied.  I was using  a fast rate and more pressure. Perhaps less is more?

I will use the Veritas when I find someone that has the  jig mentioned in Wayne C. book.  (Randy Tuttle)

    I have the Veritas setup. I got it from Highland Hardware in Atlanta.

    It works great.  (Robert Hicks)

      I also have the Veritas kit but when I used it last nite the plane blade must have somehow slipped because the blade was not square when it was finished (this after 3 hours of effort). In fact it was significantly out of square and I will have to use either a bench grinder to square it up again or a lot of elbow grease on 100 grit sandpaper.  I probably used too much pressure when sharpening and probably did not have it square to begin with. That's why I need that squaring jig.  (Randy Tuttle)

        Just in case someone hasn't noticed, the brass wheel on the Veritas jig will wear off unevenly if you roll it on the sandpaper with the blade.  (Timothy Troester)

        Well, I have a Veritas but I only use it for my LN 212 blades.  Mainly because I don't know of another honing guide that will work with the LN 212 blades.

        For the rest of my blades, I use the plastic fold-in-the-middle thing that you can buy at Home Depot or Lowes.  I think it's either made by General or Stanley.  It's less than $20, closer to $10 or $12 if I remember right.  I read Wayne's description then picked up a couple of scrap hardwood pieces about 1/2" x 1" and 3 or 4 inches long and glued them together.  I first set the angle where the unit folds; it has a scale.  and mounted a blade and made sure it was square and produced the desired angle then I used this to set the two wooden pieces so that one butted against the guide and the other butted against the blade.  I then marked and glued the "reference".  I use it each time to set the blade so that it is always the same.   I like the 1000/6000 waterstone.  I sharpen two Hock blades for the 9 1/2 s, two LN for the scraper (Veritas), and six cheap plane blades from Lowes for final scraping before planing each set of six strips.  I haven't had a problem with keeping them square so far.

        One note if you are using a waterstone.  Get a piece of glass about 14' or so long and 3" or 4" wide.  Lay the waterstone on that and the wheel of the plastic guide will roll on the glass.  After you have honed the blade with the 1000 side, turn the stone over and scrub the stone back and forth over the glass.  Do the same thing for each side each time you turn the stone over.  Very quickly the stone will frost.  It becomes a fine hone itself and when you scrub it with the waterstone, it flattens the waterstone.  Do this and you never have to flatten your waterstone again.  (Onis Cogburn)

        Here's one of the tricks I use with the Veritas jig.  I use the Scary Sharp technique, and my sandpaper is glued to a piece of 1/4" tempered glass.  After getting the desired angle with the angle guide, I set the jig with the blade on the plate of glass.  The trick is not to tighten the jig too much while the jig is on the angle guide.  Once the jig is on the glass, you can easily see if the blade is not 100% square to the flat surface; there will be a little light showing under the edge of the blade if it is not.  Wiggle the blade ever so slightly, until the light is gone.  You can check from the front and the sides to make sure.  Once the light is gone, then snug up the jig so that the blade won't move.  Once in a while, you have to clean the little rubber pad with alcohol, and the same for the blade.  If oil or grit(s) get on either one, the blade will tend to slip, so you need to keep them clean.  (Mark Wendt)

          I also use the scary sharp method, and I tried at first to cheat it a little bit by not gluing the abrasive sheets down and that resulted in rounded corners. Presently I spray the back of the sheets with a spray tack and then fix them to the glass. I saw an abrasives place on the web that sells the sheets with adhesive backing, and I plan to try those. As for the jig, I use the Lee Valley generic jig and I think it works fine. I have gotten some Plexiglas to build a Chris Bogart style angle setter, but in the meanwhile I have used the depth measuring tip of my dial calipers to set the angle, I feel like that is about as accurate as it gets.

          At any rate, it has been said that round corners are not really bad as it helps prevent your plane blade from digging into the form  (Shane Pinkston)

            Lee Valley sells PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) backed 8.5 x 11" sheets of Mylar with silicon carbide or chromium oxide abrasive in 15, 5, and 0.5 micron sizes.  That's approximately equivalent to 1000, 2500, and 9000 grit sandpapers.  They're a little more expensive than wet or dry sandpaper, but they are much more durable, and well worth the price.  (Robert Kope)

              I've used the Lee Valley PSA for about three years. The .5 micron feels like a page from Life Magazine and polishes the blade like a mirror. Yes, you can see yourself and if you touch the edge, you are cut. I put a micro bevel on the blade with the .5 micron adhered to a 3" x 12" x 1/2" glass block.  (Don Schneider)

    I've been using the Veritas jig from the get go, and it is really nice.  The roller is almost as wide as the jig itself, so there is no tendency to wobble or rock from side to side.  I know some guys don't really like the angle jig, but I've used it and it seems to work pretty good for me.  It would be nice to have a third hand with the angle jig, but it works OK.  The quality of the Veritas jig is top notch.  I don't see it wearing out in the near future, and it gets my blades "atomic" sharp using the Scary Sharp method.  I would heartily recommend it to anyone.  (Mark Wendt)

      I use a bench grinder with a hard felt wheel. Use diamond paste on the wheel. Make a jig that holds the blade at the desired angle and in 30 seconds you'll be able to shave with it. I like my blades sharp but I don't like taking much time in doing it.  (Mark Dyba)

        I'll probably have to go to that method when I get my carbide tipped blade back.  Harry told me that carbide is a bit harder to sharpen, so it looks like my Scary Sharp setup may not work without a little adjustment.  Unless they have diamond grit sandpaper...  ;^}  (Mark Wendt)

          Once the blade is set in the jig, I take a Sharpie pen and mark the blade where the cap is, and the next time I sharpen, I'll have the same angle.  (Chad Wigham)

            There's a neat trick.  Hadn't thought of that one before.  When you say the cap, are you talking about the brass disk that holds down the blade?  (Mark Wendt)

              Yes, it'll be a semi circle on the blade. Watch that it isn't scrubbed off when you take the blade out of the jig to flatten/remove the burr on the back [where the mark is].  (Chad Wigham)

            Another use of the "Sharpie" pen is to "color" the edge to be sharpened and then make one pass on the waterstone (or sandpaper) and it becomes apparent if the blade is square.  If the ink is not uniformly removed, I make a slight adjustment and try again.  It really takes very little time.  (David Van Burgel)

              I don't know if I am reading this thread right. Is it the blade that is cocked in the jig that is causing the problem. If it is then the simplest way I found to correct that is in Wayne's book. I have used it since day one and have had absolutely no problems with a blade being cocked while

              sharpening.  What it amounts to is a small piece of wood with a 90 degree angle that the blade fits up against.  the straight side of the wood is placed against the jig.  I used a piece of 1/4" thick wood and the 90 degree is 1/8" X 1" hardware store aluminum flat stock. This squares the blade every time.  (Tony Spezio)

                Also, if you are lazy like me, a couple of strategically placed nails in a board will work as well.  (Jerry Madigan)


I was wondering what techniques and sharpening materials rodmakers use to sharpen their plane blades. What do you think is most effective and quickest to sharpen.  (Brandon Shepelak)

    Uh oh... now you've done it. There are more ways to sharpen than there are glues!

    The fastest and easiest way is to find someone else to do it for you. Probably the cheapest way in the long run, too.  :)

    Okay, I'll get it started.

    Flattening - lapping plate with diamond juice

    Sharpening - hollow grind, Veritas MkII jig, extra-fine diamond stone, 4000 grit waterstone, 8000 grit waterstone.  (Larry Blan)

      I have to agree with Larry on Oh, oh, you did it now, youngling.

      First, the ultimate purpose is a sharp angle > vs ).  You can accomplish this with everything from sandpaper on a piece of glass up to machines costing $700+.  If I were to start on a budget, wet or dry sandpaper on glass and diamond goo on a piece of MDF would work.  Add a DMT diamond stone as a "grinder" and a combo waterstone with the finest grit at 8,000 when you get the $$.  The most recent Lee Valley catalog has an excerpt from Leonard Lee's book on sharpening (good book, BTW) that has a really good explanation of what you are trying to accomplish.  When you understand the why, the how makes more sense.

      To follow Larry's lead, I have DMT diamond stones as a grinder, 3 water stones and a beautiful 12,000 grit waterstone that gets the polish, but then I enjoy sharpening by hand.  Don't forget that sharpening is metalwork and not rod making.  (Leonard Baker)

    Varying grades of sand paper on plate glass works well finished with a strop.  I use  a stropping wheel mostly.   (Timothy Troester)

    Scary Sharp.  Easiest,  and probably the quickest.  At least for me.  Sandpaper, a plate of glass and the Veritas sharpening jig.  (Mark Wendt)

    Should you choose to use the Scary Sharp system with varying grades of sandpaper (as I do) you may find it easier to find a marble tile at Home Depot a good surface to work on. The $2-3 price was much better than what I found when I went looking for a 3/8" piece of plate glass.

    I also asked my barber where I could get a leather strop for a low price and was given one. It was in good shape except the clip on the end that attached it to the chair was broken.

    This hobby does have some startup costs but not everything has to so doggone expensive with a little thought.  (Steve Shelton)

      Just for interest, I strop my plane blade on the palm of a leather glove whilst wearing it. Cheap! Cheap! Cheap!  (Timothy Troester)


Can someone explain this term to me in reference to 'hollow grinding' a plane blade.  I sand the back of my iron with sandpaper but is that what it means?  (Matt Baun)

    No, when you grind your tools on a grinding wheel you get a concave shape to the blade edge. This is hollow grinding. With the grinding wheel been round in shape it grinds the cutting tool hollow. (Gary Nicholson)

    Hollow ground refers to the shape of the bevel.  Suppose you put a flat piece of steel to a spinning, round grinding wheel.  The wheel will cut leave a semicircular groove in the metal.  A small grinding wheel will leave a more pronounced "hollow ground" section than a larger wheel.

    For our needs, a 6" or larger wheel is sufficient.  I wish I had some 10" grinding wheels, but the wheels and the grinders are fairly expensive.  (Harry Boyd)

    "Hollow ground" is one of those marketing terms that tries to put the best face on an automated, machined process to make it sound better than the manual hand process it replaced.  In this case, though, it may actually be. 

    When you sharpen a blade on a circular grind stone, if you hold the bevel perpendicular to the blade, the bevel will assume the radius of the wheel, and will wind up hollow ground (a slight dip in it) instead of flat ground.  This minimally increases the angle of the cutting edge, and may actually help break a cleaner chip.

    Most of us, though, when we hone a blade, use a flat stone and either produce a flat bevel (ideally), or a slightly rounded bevel, that won't hold an edge quite as well.   (Paul Gruver)

    I'll throw my 2 cents in on this;

    I don't use a wheel, mainly because I was worried about heating the edge of the plane iron too much.  BTW, too much is Way Before it turns colors.  You can take a temper out of a good steel in your kitchen oven.  Second, more steel is removed near the edge with a wheel grind. I doubt if it makes a difference with a block plane with the iron (the blade) bevel up, but just in case....  However, I'm envious of guys that can put that final polish on an edge with just a few strokes. 

    My bevel is at 30 to 32 degrees with no microbevel, so I had a ton of hand grinding in the beginning but I can do the final polish without a jig, and I can't do a microbevel without one, so I save time at the final steps where I need it.  Still, different strokes...

    Flattening is another deal entirely.  That is a procedure you do on the back, or the side opposite the bevel.  You only have to do it once, but you do have to do it well.  Make it dead flat, and make it shine.  If you don't the ultimate edge will suffer, and you sharpen more and the results of your sharpening will be inconsistent.

    Just "plane" crazy.  (Leonard Baker)


My blade (iron) is now curved after some honing (the ends are shorter than the middle, or convex).  What is causing that?  Is it the stone, and do I need to sand it back flat (just did this about 2 honings (sp?) ago).  (Louis DeVos)

    That's easy.   :-)    What you did is you put too much pressure on the outside edges letting the blade bow up in the middle.  After a few strokes, the blade begins to assume an arch.  You may have to use a grindstone to get that out.  To avoid the problem in the future, or rather to minimize it, don't press down so hard.  It really doesn't take much pressure, just firm pressure.  Let the stone do the work.  (Paul Gruver)

    I would say that it has to be one of three things:

    1) your blade is indeed curved (you gotta lap it flat)

    2) your honing jig is putting pressure in the middle, holding it that way (not likely) or

    3) your stone need flattening

    Maybe take a Sharpie and make some marks on the back of the blade and then lap it flat...that should tell you if it's the blade.  (Bruce Johns)


A tutorial on sharpening your scraper blades can be seen here.  (Joe Arguello)

    What angle do you sharpen your scraper blade?  (Timothy Troester)

      I'm not sure it's real critical but my blades are at 70 degrees. I heard of someone doing their's at 90 degrees. I think as long as you get the burr you will be fine. You do want it at a steep angle though it will last longer.  (Joe Arguello)

    Thanks Joe, I will have to give it a try. Maybe I can put scraper to use instead of it collecting dust on the shelf.  (Tony Spezio)

    Thanks for that Joe. I think I may have gained a new Lie-Nielsen scraper but also lost a $175.00 door stop!  (Wayne Caron)


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