Took some advise on a hand plane

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Blog entry by Jason™ posted 08-14-2012 02:58 AM 2593 reads 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well to start I pulled 2 old hand planes outta pappy’s garage and thought I would bring em home and see what I could do with them. At first glance I was about ready to just leave em and go to lowes and buy one of there cheap ones they offer well only one they offer for like 20 bucks or something. But I didn’t instead I came home and decided to clean the one up a bit and the larger one wasn’t too awful bad. Your opinion may differ but this is what im working with at the moment. I used lots of sandpaper to try and get the sides and bottom shiny again by sliding over flat surface with sandpaper like I saw on here. This was also my way of sharpening the old blade that was in it. I do have pretty high grits of paper, I would say I have 90% at least up to 3000 grit. The last pic shows the mess it made on a piece of oak I had. Is this what its supposed to look like? or is this what a dull blade produces? I really need to get a bench grinder or something what do you suggest?

The other one was really bad and am currently trying to clean it up a bit but I dont have really any type of grinder or anything. I used some stripper to clean off the old paint on the top part looks a good bit better I think? You can also the front knob hasnt been touched yet or some of the smaller pieces. I did partially sand the rear handle and its partly reddish pink on half of it?? I hope im not wasting my time on this one.

To sum up,

1. Do the shavings look normal?

2. Opinion on what I should get to sharpen blades? (Can’t afford no Wet grinding system now)

3. Are these worth using well at least the 2nd one thats tore apart?

4. What’s with the pink and wood color rear handle?

You guys have been really helpful to me and I want to send out a sincere thank you to everyone who has posted in my earlier posts.
Im sure to get several comments on this one as well so please feel free to say what you think Im really not a softie so rude comments telling me there garbage and so am I…lol are welcome as well
I wont lose a bit of sleep no matter you say!!

11 comments so far

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2886 days

#1 posted 08-14-2012 03:43 AM

Shavings look normal from what I see, better then the shavings is what does the board you worked on look like? Shavings can be whisper thin if you are trying to smooth with it but being a no5 that plane is better for roughing out, cleaning up after a scrub plane or jointing smaller boards. It can be used for smoothing but a 4 does do the job better. But that also means that the chips can be thicker. The other question besides what does the board look like was how easy was it to use? My 5 is kept reasonably sharp and moves through cherry and oak with modest effort but I’ve used it for easily an hour at a time without wearing myself out and that to me mean it is sharp enough.

Keep using sandpaper, the scary sharp method does work out though I find Paul Sellers method of sharpening the easiest and efficient I use sandpaper, sharpening stones are low on my list of things to buy.

The first one is definitely low on the list of ones to buy but it was free, you’ve put in the time, it looks like you got it working so keep going with it; a new cheap stanley isn’t any better. The second one is about the same but again it was free and you can make it work, even the cheap ones can be made to work well if they time is put in. My no5 is the first gen with the kidney shaped hole on the cap which most people will tell you to avoid completely. I spent the time and it is easily my most reliable plane and the one I typically go to. Most though if they are gonna spend money will go higher quality to avoid doing the work that you’re doing, instead you’re spending time and the result can be just as good as some that are a lot more.

Finally, cheaper wood handle that was dyed or stained to look like something more. A little more sanding and some stain can make it look lots better.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2529 days

#2 posted 08-14-2012 04:11 AM

I am honest to a fault, so I am sorry if this hurts your feelings. This is what I see your taking to thick of shavings and the blade is not sharp enough. The test i use is if the blade will shave my arm hair clean. If the blade wont shave you clean it is time to find a better way to get an edge. I have found I don’t like the scary sharp process for lots of reasons. The first is it is penny wise and dollar foolish. while you can buy paper cheep it does not last long and in the long run you will replace the paper a thousand times before a good Whetstone would wear out and you would have spent a ton of money. There is a thi9ng every woodworker needs more than anything and that is the knowledge of what sharp is. Please take some time and look for you tube videos on sharpening by Rob Cosman. Watch them close and see how easy it is to get something sharp if you have the right tools. Buy a set of Whetstones they are affordable and will do you proud. I have been testing lots of stones and if you want to get some from me I would be happy to sell you a good set. Just PM me. If not do what you will It is up to you.
Now once you learn what sharp is you going to have to learn how to get a blade the right way. All my planes take whisper thin shavings from my 608 to my no1 to make your planes the same way. to GET IT RIGHT TAKES A LOAD OF WORK. IF YOU WANT HELP GETTING THESE TO WORK RIGHT PM ME.
I will teach you every thing I know and for free.

-- Please check out my new stores and

View waho6o9's profile


8237 posts in 2628 days

#3 posted 08-14-2012 04:42 AM

Nice looking planes Jason, ya did good.
Get those blades wicked sharp and watch out. Planing will be so much easier.
I like water stones my self, they quick and work well.
The Dude has solid advice and others have learned from Rob Cosman too.
Welcome to LumberJocks Jason.

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3537 days

#4 posted 08-14-2012 06:19 AM

Jason, maybe a little thick. If you are just starting out, by this time next years you will wonder how your irons were ever so dull today. You can adjust the frog to close the mouth a bit. Maybe to a 16th. And move your cap iron down to just a hair above the edge of your iron, I mean like a fat 64th. The bottom of the first plane looks silky smooth, shiny new. Very nice. The heel, toe and just in front of the mouth all need to touch the wood when you plane. There can be hollows elsewhere, which doesn’t make a lot of difference, like it does for bench chisels. Not sure how you worked the iron. You will need to flatten the back and put a small 5 degree bevel on the backside. Some folks omit this step and just flatten.

I started with Arkansas stones, which are generally cheap, except the hard translucent, then bought a vitrified 120 grit Norton stone, 6 inch, for a standard 3450 rpm grinder and went to town grinding everything in site. The grinder had a poor tool rest so I bought the Lee Valley jig which is stable but was a pain for me to set up. Once set up, don’t move it, ever. I now just grind using a small tool rest with better results than any aftermarket jig. Over time, I bought a set of waterstones, a 1200, 4000 and 8000 grit, and a set of three DMT brand diamond stones, a 600, 1200 and 8000 grit, at a very good sale price. Still worth it a regular price.
I think the 8000 grit diamond stone is somewhere in the 6000 to 7000 grit area, compared to the 8000 grit waterstone.

Then I tried some some scary sharp sandpaper methods, and some of the micro films sold a Woodcraft, and leather strops with diamond paste, and on and on and on. So here is my advice, and by the way, I’m still learning, usually the hard way. They all work. You need to settle on a system, practice, and perfect it.

Arkansas stones are fine, they just take longer than waterstones, diamond or ceramics, to cut and hone. Oil is messy also. The DMT diamond bench stones are a reasonable price and cut very fast. I mean a few swipes and then move on. They use water to float the swarf. Waterstones are also fast cutters but tend to dish, and you may need to flatten often, depending on how much you sharpen. Never hone on an irregular surface, no matter the composition of the honing material. Relegate any carbide grinding stone to sharpening lawn mower blades. They have no place near my chisels and plane irons. Too easy to burn your edges, especially the corners. If you have a grinder, say 6 inch standard speed – 3450 rpm, that is fine. A $30 harbor freight model is fine. The porter cable variable speed (3450 down to 1725 rpm I believe) sold at lowes for around $70 is not to shabby. Woodcraft sells an 8” slow speed grinder for $125. You can catch it on sale for $100 on occasion. All will work. Put a Norton white or pink wheel on and dress it with a diamond tool. This type of wheel grinds much cooler than the carbide wheels, but you still need to be careful. All wheels will burn, eventually.

You want to grind a hollow bevel at about 25 degrees. You can use the factory bevel on new chisels and irons as a guide, which is usually set at 25 degrees, or use an angle finder or protractor for older edges. Just lay the bevel on the wheel and adjust your tool rest accordingly. Now turn the wheel by hand and see where the grind is touching the bevel. You will see some scratches. Not to far forward, and not to far back. You want to leave about a 16th or a little less of the tip of the chisel or iron when you grind. In other words, don’t grind to the very edge. Now that you are set up, and the tool rest is tight, get comfortable. I like to lean my rear and steady myself on a bench behind me for support. Have a cup of water standing by.

I grip the iron with my right hand, (I’m right handed) and I lay my left hand index and middle fingers on the iron, about a 1/2” or so from the edge. Use your right hand index finger to act as a guide on the lower edge of the toolrest to keep the iron at a 90 degree angle to the stone, as best you can. You can compensate as you grind. Take a light pass or two all the way across the stone. Look at the results and adjust your alignment until you are grinding a straight hollow across the iron. The left fingers help you guide the iron, bu don’t apply pressure. Let the wheel do the work. Grind back and forth until you feel heat on your left fingers. Pull up and dunk the iron in the watercup, wipe off, and observe. You want to see a well defined and straight hollow across the iron. It usually doesn’t take many passes to get a good hollow grind on the iron. Buy some fine sandpaper carried by automotive parts stores. They all carry from 600 grit up to 2000 grit. Maybe even Walmarts. Or buy some water or diamond stones. Your gonna need a couple anyways. Start with around 600 grit paper or stone. Like dude said, look at youtube to see how they hold the iron. You want to rock the edge of the iron front to back to find the top and bottom of the hollow. It will feel a stable zone, like you can hold that angle while moving the iron. Now you are ready to hone.

You have done most of the work already. It will only take a few swipes on a 600, 1200, and 4000 grit paper and stones to get razor sharp. You can invest in a 6000 or 8000 grit water or diamond stone(s) to get that mirror polished hone. But for your purposes, you will get sharper than you ever have using up to say 2000 grit paper. By the way put the paper on a dead flat surface, like finished granite or a piece of plate glass. 3/4 MDF could work, if sealed, but probably not for lthe long haul. You will know when to move to the next higher grit when you feel a “wire” on the back of the edge. Turn the iron over and swipe it sideways on the paper or stone to remove the wire. Work your way up the grits, 600, 1200, 2000 and if you have stones, 4000 or 6000, then 8000. Always remove the wire on your last grit. If no finer stones, consider diamond paste and a strop. I use one all the time to refresh the edge.

That is the basics of the way I grind and hone. Not to different from many other folks that sharpen woodworking hand tools. There are other things to consider, but it late, and if you get this far, you will be way ahead of me.

One last thing, there are really cheap chisels and irons on ebay, estate sales, yard sales, etc. Some good quality, some better, but all fresh out of the wide and going for a buck or two. Buy a few, and practice on these first. Get the feel for how the irons and chisels move over the wheel and paper / stones. I would not start out trying to sharpen by best stuff first.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View RustySpur's profile


30 posts in 2163 days

#5 posted 08-14-2012 10:05 AM

Jason, Nice find with the planes. I too am salvaging Gramp’s old hand tools. I can’t agree more with the previous comments…sharp blades are crucial. I just spent ~$50 on my first ‘sharpening system’ with a honing guide, protractor and combination wet stones. Well worth the investment.

-- russ from texas - garage shop weekend warrior

View Don W's profile

Don W

18788 posts in 2618 days

#6 posted 08-14-2012 11:10 AM

Great job with the planes. The #4 should come out fine to. Take a look at my blog if you want some restoration advice,

The shavings don’t look bad for your first attemp, don’t look at the shavings but at the wood. The shavings are the product.

You’ll get all kinds of different advice on all kinds of sharpening methods. Most of them work once you figure them out.

Most important of all, have some fun with it.

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

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3537 days

#7 posted 08-19-2012 05:59 PM

After reading my response above, I must have been on something, because I’ve never written that much on anything, especially 1:30 at night. That’s just embarrassing. The system I use works for me, but it’s not my exclusive system. I borrowed it and all the variations I use. It’s just the one I’m comfortable with and have a minimal mastery of. Most of the well known systems work well, and work very well with practice and mastery. I’ve tried many, and fully mastered none. The good news is, you don’t have to be a master sharpener to get highly effective results with only a few minutes work.

I love to watch a couple of British woodworkers on youtube that throw their edge on an old beat up arkansas-type natural stone, hone like the devil a couple of minutes, then cut smooth shavings as though they were cutting thin air. A note to myself, an 8,000-12,000 grit, mirror polish is a shiny, wonderful thing but not always necessary to do good work. Make more wood shavings and less metal shavings.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View chrisstef's profile


17478 posts in 3057 days

#8 posted 08-19-2012 06:09 PM

David – that was one heck of a write up and really shows that every one has their own way. Thanks for taking the time to post.

Jason – Im in the experimentation stage myself. Ive got a worksharp, scary sharp set up and im getting into honing compounds right now. Finding your “sweet spot” is going to take time i imagine. I say start with what you can afford, it doesnt need to be fancy to work, but youve gotta put some time in to figure out what works for you.

Effortless strokes and thin shavings is an addicting experience.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2529 days

#9 posted 08-19-2012 07:08 PM

Thanks for the Kudos Waho I appreciate the vote of confidence.

-- Please check out my new stores and

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2526 days

#10 posted 08-20-2012 12:47 AM

Is this what its supposed to look like?

As derosa posted, the important thing is how the board looks not the shavings. For a nº 5 the shavings look good. Don’t let anybody discourage you from the scary sharp method, specially one who has a personal stake on trying to sell you some stones. IMO the SS method is fine, but will become expensive if you become a mainly hand tool woodworker.

For starting, it is fine and you should get good enough practice with it.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View bandit571's profile


20444 posts in 2734 days

#11 posted 08-20-2012 01:14 AM

As for that Stanley Handyman plane you have gotten done, does it look like this one?

I use a sandpaper method and then an oil stone. Simple and easy. Grinder? How about a beltsander? That is what I use. I have a honing guide to set the angle with, and hold the blade at that angle. If it gets too hot for myfinger tips sitting ON the blade, i just let it cool off. A look?

When i’ve gone through all of the steps i use, I’ll take the plane out for a test drive, just to adjust the settings on the plane.

until i see a shaving like that. Some will chime in about how such a terrible shaving hurts their eyes. Hey this is a Jack plane ( like your’s) not a fine smoother. If you can get it this good, the plane is easy to set up and push along a stretch of wood, and you hear that “Schweeeesh” as it goes, you are there. Use the plane.

Looks like the other plane is a Sargent Auto-set in a Number four size. Not too firmiliar with those. They seem to be very good planes. Neither are “cheapos’, the Handyman is a Stanley plane, made to compete with the “low-budget” planes that were being dumped on the public back then. Both the Handymans, and the stanley “good” planes came down the same assembly line. Users.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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