I would guess like most I start with the simple fixes first and would consider all the planes I use regularly to be in good working order but as the numbers grow it gets harder to keep them all sharpened and well tuned. So previous to this I went through what I had and decided which plans I need and use and which ones need new homes.
Now with the numbers down I decided to flatten the soles. A process I’ve read about but never found the time, plus if you’re looking at large numbers plan on it talking a good chunk of time.
I started this process a bit out of sequence but like most I fight for time building vs time playingwith tools so I start with the easy and most rewarding. For me that’s adjusting the frogs, flatten if need be and replace the blades and cap iron with A2 metal. I do this mostly because some needed it and once I did a few it justseemed simpler to have the same type in all to stream line the sharpening process.
To get started I ordered a class B granite stone. I ordered it from Enco on recommendation due to the frequent sales that offer free shipping on orders over $25.00. I ordered a 12×18x3 class B stone that weighs 70lbs shipped to my home for $36.00! Other options are to use float glass but I don’t sharpen with paper often and the cost of thick float glass in my area was high.
The next thing I needed was sandpaper. I have a local body shop supply place in town and bought 3 rolls of adhesive sandpaper for long board. This is sold in continuous roll and can easily be but to fit any size. You can get it without adhesive. I will also say I’m not normally a fan of sharpening with sand paper due the cost but for this it really seemed the best way.
The rolls ran me around 40.00 each I didn’t check on-line so that may be high. I selected 100, 180, 400. If your plans are not bad or you use a metal file you could cut down to the 180 and 400. Also some use a method called bluing the sole where they paint the bottom first so they can see low spots as they flatten. If you want to go that route I’d say you’d be better off with hand files as you’ll be wasting a lot of the sand paper removing the paint.
My process was a follows I left the plans assembled with blades and retracked. I took about 5 passes on the 100 and looked at the wear pattern to make sure I was heading in the right direction and to see how far off I was. I wanted to get the area around themouth completely flat and 80% of the rest of the sole. I found that most of the soles by the time I had the area around the mouth good were better then 90%completely flat.
Once happy I tuned the plan on the side and flatten them as well. I only did this for planes I thought I might use for shooting. With that done I put the plane aside and started with the next.
The basic setup in progress
I found the sandpaper clogged after 5, 10 minutes of use and I could vacuum it 2 maybe 3 times before it needed to be replaced. This really depends on the quality of paper and what you consider done is. I was working with Norton paper and found it worked well.
I repeated this process with each plane on each grade of paper till I was happy with the results. Ithink you could easily continue with finer and finer papers and work a really nice polish if that’s you thing. My goal was to improve or reduce friction and flatten the plane. I think 400 does this well.
finished planes and scraper
Plan on this taking a good chunk of time depending on the condition of the plan you start with. I found it took me better then an hour per plane plus setup for the 100. The higher grades once the flattening is done go a little faster.