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Lee Valley shopping list... suggestions?

by pneufab
posted 12-24-2012 06:32 AM

30 replies so far

View JohnChung's profile


297 posts in 860 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


1494 posts in 1969 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

View nwbusa's profile


1017 posts in 1071 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


7935 posts in 2433 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 2589 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


760 posts in 1737 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


106 posts in 1865 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 2589 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

15772 posts in 1353 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.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Don W's profile

Don W

15772 posts in 1353 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.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View pneufab's profile


106 posts in 1865 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


382 posts in 2218 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

15772 posts in 1353 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.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 1477 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


5438 posts in 1362 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 :)

View nwbusa's profile


1017 posts in 1071 days

#16 posted 12-24-2012 06:01 PM

DMT does make a 4000 plate, but LV doesn’t sell it. I got mine from Amazon:

-- John, BC, Canada

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 1083 days

#17 posted 12-24-2012 10:39 PM

I just use sandpaper 2500 grit for final finish but the mk11 is a great tool make sure to get the skew and the camber so you can fix a blade for roughing or a odd plane for just roughing merry xmas

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View pneufab's profile


106 posts in 1865 days

#18 posted 12-24-2012 11:08 PM

Don – I hope like heck I don’t catch what you got! :) I think my wife would kill me! :) Thanks for the detail explaining the sharpening system you use. If I take out the blade on my original list and add the diamond stones, I am right around my $300.00 I was going to spend, so that might be the way to go! (subtract the 600 grit)

I also have the two sharpening books reserved at the public library. Hopefully they will be transferred this week and I can pull the trigger before the 7th and get free shipping!

Thanks again everyone…. next up… chisels..and recommendation of a decent set? For some reason I am in love with Lee Valley all of a sudden! How about those Japanese chisels? Too much for one thread? :)

View waho6o9's profile


5438 posts in 1362 days

#19 posted 12-24-2012 11:39 PM

Japanese chisels rock. I got the 100.00 version on Ebay and am
very content with them. I think they’re up to 140.00 now.

They’re well balanced and when sharp, watch out. Some Japanese
chisels are wicked expensive with fancy details on them as well.

View pneufab's profile


106 posts in 1865 days

#20 posted 12-25-2012 12:04 AM

View nwbusa's profile


1017 posts in 1071 days

#21 posted 12-25-2012 12:06 AM

I like your revised shopping cart even better. The 600 grit plate is a workhorse and will get a dull edge sharp with the quickness.

Chisels… lots of options here. The Narex chisels are a good value set. Especially the mortise chisels if you’re into hand chopping. The new Veritas PM-V11 chisels are dead sexy (and have a price tag to match).

Lee Valley… man I love their stuff. You’re on the right path!

-- John, BC, Canada

View paratrooper34's profile


760 posts in 1737 days

#22 posted 12-25-2012 12:57 AM

pneufab, I have a set of Japanese chisels and they are indeed very nice chisels. I tend to use them only for chopping tasks (which they excel at). However, I find them awkward for paring. I use a set of traditional bench chisels for all around work, especially paring. But those Japanese chisels are really great for chopping as they hold an edge excellently. Get some nice ones, like white steel or blue steel. Costly, but I will never buy another set.

Also, read up on them. Everything I read on them said do not use micro bevels on them as Japanese chisels have two types of steel in the blade. The hardened tool steel is rather thin and is supported by the thicker, softer steel. I do not use micro bevels on them.

-- Mike

View Don W's profile

Don W

15772 posts in 1353 days

#23 posted 12-25-2012 01:30 AM

I did some playing around with sharpening with the dmt’s today. Posted the results over on the hpoyd thread

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

735 posts in 1316 days

#24 posted 12-25-2012 07:32 AM

pneufab: I have the LV Mk II Honing guide and one of the cheapo guides. Absolutely no comparison – the Mk II is a far, far better piece of kit and well worth the extra cost.

I had two issues when using the MK II. First, the roller needed to be cleaned and lubricated fairly regularly due to grit buildup. I’d be concerned about grit wearing away the bearing surfaces in the roller after 2 or 3 years of regular use.

The other issue is that it reduces the effective length of your stone by 2 to 3”. You can’t roll it off the back of the stone (XX) and maintain the bevel angle, so you effectively loose the amount of distance between the roller and where the iron touches the stone, usually 2 to 3”

(XX) I’ve seen jigs to hold a stone and provide a level ramp at the back to allow the roller to move off the stone so that the iron can travel the full length of the stone. Never had any luck with those.

As good a tool as it is, I don’t use it any more, though not for those reasons. RELIGIOUS TERRITORY AHEAD I discovered hollow grinding and freehand honing. It takes a bit of practice to get good at it, but is is worth it. LV sells a tool rest with a tool rest & guide which is quite useful – I made my own modelled after theirs. Other than that, an cheap import 8” grinder can be had for $30, and you’d want 1000/4000/800 stones or combos. You arrive at the same destination as using the Mk II, just faster.

My primary stones are Norton waterstones (from LV). When these wear out, I will probably be moving to the Bester/Imanishis from LV. I also have a Norton 220, and I’d not buy it again. Too soft, needs flattening after about 2 minutes of use, whether re-establishing a bevel or flattening another stone. A diamond plate would be a much better choice for either of those purposes.

I also have a 1000/6000 combo stone. Not sure of the brand, purchased from Grizzly. Very useful and easier to carry one stone with me than three. It is quite effective, and at the price point, might be an excellent stone to start with if you want to go the waterstone route. LV also sells two 1000/4000 combo stones (a Norton and a King). I’ve used both of those, and a 6000 polish is a noticeable step up from a 4000. Not as good as an 8000, but certainly acceptable for most woodworking tasks.

To sum up: Hollow grinding followed by a 1000/4000 or 1000/6000 freehand hone. Total cost to start $70 to $80, maybe another $69 for the LV tool rest/grinding jig (,43072,45938). Then, as you get a feel for waterstones, add better quality stones and higher grits (8000/10000/12000)

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View pneufab's profile


106 posts in 1865 days

#25 posted 12-26-2012 02:03 AM

nwbusa – Thanks for the input, I’ll keep the 600 in there for now! I will also look into those chisels.

Paratrooper – Thanks for the info. I think I will use them mainly for paring, plus looking at the price of them, I think I will stick with American style, for now!

Don – Wow! That is awesome! On behalf of everyone, thank you for taking the time to do that write up!

Iquana – Thank you for the input as well! Maybe after I read the books above, I will have a better idea of what you are talking about… ha-ha!!

I hope those books show up this week! I would really like to do some more reading prior to making a purchase. I see what everyone means about religion and I do understand that just about anything can work, if you make it work!!!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! Thanks again for the feedback and comments! I really appreciate them!

View waho6o9's profile


5438 posts in 1362 days

#26 posted 12-26-2012 02:39 AM

Those are the chisels I was talking about pneufab.

The first time I used them was on a mortise for lock on a door
and I couldn’t figure out why it went so easy. Then it dawned on
me that the chisels were better balanced and the
chisels work with you instead of against you.

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

936 posts in 2179 days

#27 posted 12-29-2012 04:48 PM

Dont throw the money that way… advice from a guy that had / used all those items before.

Those King stones are expensive and need so much care. After using them for years I finally gave up and started sticking up sand paper to a quarter inch thick glass plate. Much cheaper, easy and even better results.

I used that jig before, and the water goes inside the roller and the inner steerl rod gets rusted. the fence that holds blades and chisels is not strong enough and gets bent. Lie nielsen $10 Jig solved the problem for me.

The blade is a wise investment.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View pneufab's profile


106 posts in 1865 days

#28 posted 01-07-2013 03:59 AM

Everyone, thank you so much for your input and suggestions. Of course I waited until almost the last day of free shipping to place my order… :)

Here is what I ended up with…

I went with the DMT since I know I will hate having to flatten and soak the water stones. I decided to leave off the 220G for now. The main reason I had that on there originally was to be able to flatten the stones, but since I went with the DMT for the 600,1200 and 8000, I am not sure if I actually need it or not. I figured I could use some sand paper, if needed, to rough out the bevels if they are horrible. Obviously, I can always order in the future if I think I need it, but I think these item should give me a great head start on my sharpening journey.

I was doing some poking around the internet and I have a Multitool attachment for my bench grinder. I see they make a sharpening jig for the belt sander side for about $100.00. I think that may be my next investment if I find I need to do a lot of reworking.

Anyway, thanks again! Now I need to make a proper bench and get some decent chisels, but for now I will work on sharpening the few that I have now.


View nwbusa's profile


1017 posts in 1071 days

#29 posted 01-07-2013 04:04 AM

You got good quality stuff there—congrats. Unless you have a really beat up edge (i.e. nicked, etc.) the 600 is a good starting place to get a dull blade back in shape. I usually use the 600 first for a very dull tool, or the 1200 to maintain an edge that isn’t too dull. Enjoy!

-- John, BC, Canada

View PaulLL's profile


159 posts in 762 days

#30 posted 01-07-2013 04:27 AM

I just bought Cabinetmakers sharpening set, pn 05D05.03, comes with the Mk.II Honing guide and a 2” combo sharpening stone 1000x/4000x. Along with a couple of the Lee Valley Bevel Edge chisels. I have never sharpened the “cheap” Rona branded chisels I bought at least 5 years ago, so the sales guy suggest I buy the lee valley chisels, as I’m basically a hobbyist, so $60 chisels aren’t needed, yet. Anyways, the sharpening system works awesome! I can’t believe how much better a sharp chisel works! ha And the the L.V. chisels work great. I was a little tenative before buying the sharpening system, but I couldn’t even call it easy to use, because it takes even less brain power than that.

Oh and got some Honing Compound, a little green bar, that I rub on a small piece of MDF and then run the chisel over a few times after sharpening and the chisel has a perfect mirror finish.


Now I posted this, see the second page of posts and you already bought, so don’t need my 2cents, ha, I guess I should read all the posts first. If you don’t like the DMT setup and want to try the water stones, I put the stone in a tupperware with some water so its always ready to go, so there’s no issues there.

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