Next I worked on the plane iron, chip breaker and cap. The cap was pretty easy- I just ground it flat on the 60 grit paper and dressed it up to 220. Nothing special, just got the surface rust and dirt off and got it to an even surface.
The chip breaker was a little confusing for me. There’s not a lot of information on how to properly dress a chip breaker…I find that it’s usually an after-thought in comparison to sharpening the plane iron. However, from what I understand if the chip breaker is not properly sitting on the plane iron the whole thing risks chatter, not cutting properly or just clogging up.
I wound up grinding off all the surface rust and dirt off the top but grinding in a curved motion. Then I just ground the bottom part flat, the part that meets with the plane iron. That actually seemed to work well. I read that you are supposed to put a 50 degree angle on it but I didn’t find a way to do that properly.
The iron was in pretty bad shape. I don’t think it could cut through warm butter.
Here is the back of the iron:
Here is the blade side:
I employed the “scary sharp” method to get everything honed. Basically I went to the local Canadian Tire and bought the 3M wet/dry paper from 220 all the way to 2000 grit. It’s found in the automotive section in case anyone out there has problems locating the paper. I also employed a cheap honing jig that I bought at the Windsor Plywood for $8. It’s your basic jig that holds the blade or chisel in place as you roll it over stones or abrassive paper.
I started by flattening the back of the iron on 60 grit, and moved all the way up to 220. I stopped there. I know that some go all the way up to 2000 on the back, but I figured that 220 was fine. It looked close to mirror finish.
For the bevel side, I simply continued all the way to 2000. It was pretty easy actually, and I didn’t spend much more than 30 seconds on each grit. I spend the longest on the initial lower grits to get the right angle ground, but after that it was pretty easy.
Here are the results:
I have to repeat at this point that I am nowhere near experienced. This was in fact the first time I had ever sharpened anything in my life. I can tell you however that it was not difficult. I was able to shave the hairs off the back of my hand and take the top layer off my thumbnail. This was a lot of fun!
-- Making mistakes is essential in learning woodworking.