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Blog entry by rhybeka posted 06-06-2010 04:30 AM 1114 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So my one break today from taking a final to working on a portfolio, I went up to my local Woodcraft (yes, I’m lucky to live in the same city as an actual store!). I was going to see if they could give me any advice or sway me on how to sharpen the plane blades. Lo and behold, Rob Cosman was giving a class on refurbishing old planes today – unfortunately – I had to take a final at the same time the class was going on, and I couldn’t afford to give it the five hours of my attention. I was highly bummed.

Anyway, I spoke with a few of the gentleman manning the store, and picked up a honing guide. Was shown on their stone display just how badly the back of the blade was, but wasn’t encouraged to just buy a new blade. I picked up a honing guide and thanked them for the review. On my way home, I stopped at NAPA and picked up 320,400,and 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper to give this a whirl. The attached pics are with just the 320 grit, some water, a tempered piece of glass, and about an hour of my time. I thought it would take longer, but at least this is a start. I still need to figure out the best/quickest way to get the wooden sole flattened. The gentlemen at the store recommended flattening it, but I’ve already laid a level on it and it’s flat without any concave spots, so I’m kind of scratching my head on that one…specially since I don’t own a belt sander that would take off those layers quickly. Feel free to comment – I’ll take any suggestions!

2nd blade sharpening pic

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

4 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117127 posts in 3606 days

#1 posted 06-06-2010 04:42 AM

Thats some day you had.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3026 days

#2 posted 06-06-2010 07:23 AM

I am amazed by the people that insist on spending so much time flattening plane soles. It can be nice and possibly therapeutic but it is usually unnecessary. The toe heel and mouth have to be coplanar but the rest of the sole doesn’t. Many of the Japanese dai (plane bodies) are intentionally hollowed so that they are not flat.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View rhybeka's profile


4047 posts in 3150 days

#3 posted 06-06-2010 04:26 PM

@Jim – and it’s not over yet :) Portfolio is due Tuesday night. I’d rather be sharpening plane blades!

@David – thanks David! I love the look of this plane and the history with it, but there are points that I wonder if it’s worth it or if for now I should just buy a low level plane, sharpen the blade and use that. From the research I’ve done on here there’s a lot of things to do to get a plane back into decent shape. Unfortunately my time is short and expensive, and I have a lot to get done on school breaks (outside of the 40+ hours I work a week). I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but being new it seems a bit daunting to get it all done and up to speed and still have time to get some real woodworking done.

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3026 days

#4 posted 06-06-2010 06:09 PM

Nah, I just looked at the pics.The link showed broken and I thought it had eaten your pic and didn’t realize it was a flicker link.

That is definitely in the user category and looks perfectly fine as is. When looking up about those, they are called transitional planes. It was a compromise for marketing them to people that were used to wooden planes but had the easy adjustment of a metal plane. They can be a real gem because they are perfectly good users and not on the hot collectible list.

The frog (where the blade sits) has slots that are for tightening up the mouth for finer work. Loosen the screws and move the metal part forward so the mouth is small for fine work. Move it back and open it up for hogging out thicker pieces.

Flatten the back of the blade, sharpen the blade, and true up the chip breaker. Put it together and start making stuff. Remember that the plane is just a jig to hold a blade. Nothing that you couldn’t do with a chisel or an axe. You don’t have to get things set up with 0.0001 precision. It is wood you are working on.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

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