Grinding Hand Plane Iron

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Forum topic by Big Ben posted 11-09-2010 03:09 AM 2768 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Big Ben

87 posts in 3039 days

11-09-2010 03:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: plane iron hand plane plane grinder grinder wheel refurbishing milling

I currently have a plane iron, Millers Fall Jack, where the bevel is not 90 degrees. Its about 12 degrees off. So I got myself a bench grinder (Ryobi 8”), I plan on purchasing a white oxide grinder wheel to grind the bevel straight and put a heavy camber on it. So my question is what is the best grit to get?

Also if you have any jigs suggestions for holding the iron or puttnig the camber on the iron. Or what is the best angle to grind to I would love the help.


4 replies so far

View canadianchips's profile


2609 posts in 3146 days

#1 posted 11-09-2010 03:39 AM

I do not sharpen with grinder, I cannot tell you what grit stone to get.
The bevel you will need on your iron will depend on the type of plane you are sharpening. For example if your plane has a 45 degree angle , anything under 45 degrees is acceptable. (Enough to keep the heel of iron from touching wood) Typicaly 35-40 degrees. The thicker the bevel the longer it should stay sharp. Provided there is a good iron in it to begin with. There are low angle planes.
  • *When grinding your bevel to 90 degree, always make sure your iron does not overheat ! Rule of thumb. If you cannot touch the part you just sharpening with bare hands….its too hot. (I like to use my waterstone. It is slower, I have fewer worries about overheating.)
    You are talking about a heavy camber.
    The only camber you need is slight enough to NOT show any marks on each edge when you make a pass with the plane. The only time I would use a Heavy camber is when I am sharpening my SCRUB plane.
    I do not measure in 1/1000ths therfore I cannot tell you what that camber number is, I am not a machinist. I am a carpenter. (No offence to any machinist out there)
    Hope this helps.

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View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3431 days

#2 posted 11-09-2010 04:44 AM

Get the most coarse grit you can, probably 36. You don’t need a white wheel or the other expensive wheels, you’re grinder likely came with a wheel that’ll work fine. Get a wheel dresser and keep the surface fresh and true.

Layout the shape of the iron you want, I suggest a 12” radius or so. Grind initially at 90º to the face of the iron to establish where your new cutting edge will be. Then grind the bevel and I suggest a 25º bevel. You’ll be able to watch the flat under the edge disappear as you grind the bevel. Grind lightly when this flat goes a little beyond half way gone. Keep the wheel’s surface fresh with the dresser as you proceed to where you only have a hair line of that flat left. Then hone at 30º.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3120 days

#3 posted 11-09-2010 04:45 AM

At the risk of offending some of the hand tool purists here, I would suggest using a belt or disk sander for the initial stages of grinding. The powered sanding tool will be a big help to correct a 12 degree bevel error.
- As stated correctly above, please watch the heat. The thin edge of the iron will heat much faster than the body of the iron. When the main body feels hot it’s probably too late; the edge will be ruined. A belt sander will not heat the work as badly as a grinder will.
- Those white stones you are thinking about have a tendency to load up and don’t do a very good job sharpening high carbon steel used in wood working tools. They are best for really hard alloys and very high rake angles like high speed steel drill bits and metal cutting lathe tools.

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Big Ben

87 posts in 3039 days

#4 posted 11-09-2010 04:33 PM

Just for clarity, I will only be grinding to get the primary bevel. I will be hone the bevel with 1000, 4000 and 8000 grit water stone.

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