Intermediate honing?

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Forum topic by luthierwnc posted 01-05-2016 06:40 PM 624 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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146 posts in 2014 days

01-05-2016 06:40 PM

Hello All,

I recently got a 10” (250 mm) wet grinder from Grizzly. After some setup, I’m getting a square, consistent hollow bevel on a pile of plane blades I recently got from Ebay/garage sales. Some of those were pretty rough* and this is actually the second step after electrolysis and truing on the bench grinder.

I’ve always used waterstones for the hand part of the process with a dead-flat (theoretically) primary bevel. With a 10” hollow from the Grizzly, I’m wondering how most folks go from there. My inclination is to reestablish the primary (or micro-bevel) on the fine grits and leave the relatively rougher section of the hollow alone. Not the mirror edge in the advertisements but I can’t see trying to polish the hollow if the edge is right.

There are lots of articles on roughing old blades and even more on the finishing steps but I haven’t seen anything on what to do in the middle if you use one of these or a Tormek wheel. Any thoughts will help. Thanks, Skip

  • for extra credit, a couple blades look like the previous owner planed rocks with nails in them. If all the chips and nicks didn’t happen on the very last stroke, why would anybody keep reaching for the tool? sh

5 replies so far

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2199 days

#1 posted 01-05-2016 06:47 PM

My inclination is to reestablish the primary (or micro-bevel) on the fine grits and leave the relatively rougher section of the hollow alone.
- luthierwnc

Yop, only need the finest grits at the very edge. That’s why a hollow grind can save lots of time. There’s very little to do on the finer stones, so you get a sharp edge quickly. Personally I like the slight convex bevel that comes from hand sharpening better because it’s theoretically stronger, but I don’t think it really makes much of a difference unless you’re chopping mortises and even then if you have the same bevel angle at the end that probably contributes most to the strength.

View luthierwnc's profile


146 posts in 2014 days

#2 posted 01-05-2016 08:23 PM

Thanks Tim,

When I’m done I think I’ll have put in more time lapping the backs than sharpening the edges. One of the chipbreakers was rode hard and put up wet too. Those are tough to get straight once they are bent.

I finished the Fulton 3708 project and it came out pretty well. I’ll post some pictures after I sharpen the blade. It was completely uneconomical but now it lives again.

I’ve got much more of a basket-case 10 1/2 in the mail. One cheek was indifferently brazed. I think I’ll have to chop that out, fit a cast iron wedge from a broken #4 donor and re-braze it in. It might be in better shape that the picture but the plane was re-Japanned so I have only seen the outside of the repair. The plane is an adjustable mouth version that says Type 1 but it seems contemporary with the Type 7 bench planes in terms of casting marks. More research to do.

Cheers, sh

View shampeon's profile


1894 posts in 2421 days

#3 posted 01-05-2016 08:30 PM

Lapping the backs takes a lot more time (though you only need a little ways in from the edge), but once you’ve established a flat back, you’re done for probably the lifetime of the blade.

Intermediate lapping isn’t needed, nor is polishing the hollow, but removing the wire edge on the back with a quick strop or pass on a high grit stone is. In your case, you grind the hollow primary bevel, then work the very edge through the higher grits with a pass to remove the wire edge on the back after each grit.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View luthierwnc's profile


146 posts in 2014 days

#4 posted 01-05-2016 09:22 PM

Somehow I got the bug to reorganize the shop. You have to set limits. One guy I met only ever seemed to work on his shop rather than in it. The master plan is to redo my benches for the jobs I actually do rather than the ones I thought I would. More drawers for sure. Guitar making is all about jigs—where they go, how to hold them down and where the hell to put them afterwards.

The plane project combines replacing some units I’ve given away or sold, fettling them better and deciding their uses. One of the 4’s will get a York or middle pitch. Some blades will be dead-straight, some slightly cambered and one of the jacks will be a full-blown scrubber. A couple won’t make the cut. I need to make a better (bigger) till after I figure out the big picture.

Thanks again guys and good luck on your projects. sh

View Don W's profile

Don W

19045 posts in 2805 days

#5 posted 01-05-2016 09:35 PM

I go from hollow grind straight to a hard Arkansas stone. When the hollow is gone, I reestablish it, although its probably not required. I either pull the burr with a strop or the palm of my hand.

And I’m pretty sure some of those chips and digs came from bouncing around a tool box or car trunk with the blade lowered.

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

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