Replacement Blades (Irons) for Handplanes

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Forum topic by Beeguy posted 11-14-2010 05:31 PM 1065 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Beeguy's profile


179 posts in 3840 days

11-14-2010 05:31 PM

It seems like a few recent posts/comments have stirred some conversation and also peaked my interest. I have to admit, although I would like to, I don’t use planes very much. Mostly because I don’t want to spend all the money on a high end one or don’t have the time to tune up a flea market buy. I have a Stanley block plane that I use most often and rely on other methods for everything esle. I also did not want to invest a small fortune in waterstones or other sharpening equipment that I was lead to believe is necessary to keep this tools working.

A few months ago I picked up a Stanley #7 at a flea market for around $50. This difference with this one was the gentleman selling it was retired and did this as a hobby. He had taken the time to clean it up and sharpen it. I was able to use it immediately. Problem is I did not get his name and this was a once in awhile market so I doubt I will find him again. I did find I really enjoyed using this plane and it seem like good exercise too. But I also have a 12” planner that does 80% of the same work in 20% of the time. I want to try an get away from sanding and start using a plane or card scraper but I have to balance everything including time and cost.

Anyway I have decided this is a worthwhile effort so after a few failures, I finally purchased one on eBay, a Stanley #4. I have not seen it yet but I am going to assume I will want to replace the blade.

My question is, do I have to also buy a new chipbraker to use the upgrade blade. I have seen the Rob Cosman IBC demo and he explains why you need both for his system but I was just hoping to start with a new blade (not necessarily his) and go from there. If this works out I have a few others that I have picked up over the years but never got around to doing anything with them.

One last comment about me. I try and maintain all my tools but I begrudge some of time I spend doing this. Some guys spend hours fine tuning their saws or setting up their tools and really enjoy it. Honestly, that is painful for me. I enjoy driving my truck but I hate changing the oil. My free time is important to me and I would rather spend it doing something I enjoy. It took me 50 years to learn that free time is not free and it should be spent wisely because once you spend it you don’t get it back.

-- Ron, Kutztown, PA "The reward is in the journey."

5 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8150 posts in 3579 days

#1 posted 11-14-2010 08:06 PM

Blade replacement is optional, and I’d imagine the benefits are a bit subjective. I’ve only got one replacement blade in my whole collection, and I can get good results from even my stock blades. It really depends on your ability and willingness to sharpen/hone, along with your preferences (I’ve got a Scheppact Tiger wet/dry wheel that does a good job for me). None of my planes have an aftermarket chipbreaker. That’s not to say that there aren’t benefits, I just haven’t felt there was a need yet. Like anything, my view and experiences are relative to what I’ve been exposed to. If I used more finely tuned higher end planes, I might feel differently about it, but for now I’m satisfied with the results I get. YMMV.

I’d suggest giving the stock system a go and see what the results are….you can always pursue upgrades later if you’re not satisfied.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View barryvabeach's profile


159 posts in 3247 days

#2 posted 11-14-2010 08:23 PM

It may be surprising, but a review some time ago concluded that an upgraded chipbreaker gives more improvement than the upgraded blade. I would start by sharpening the current blade and see what you think. If you decide to upgrade, check Lee Valley – their replacement blades come very well prepared. They don’t offer chipbreakers this moment, but they will very soon.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3060 days

#3 posted 11-14-2010 08:30 PM

Ron, wait and see. A lot of 2nd hand planes have little blade ware.
It takes a few minutes to grind a blade.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Beeguy's profile


179 posts in 3840 days

#4 posted 11-14-2010 11:42 PM

Thanks for the advice. The more I have been thinking about this, it would seem that there could be an opportunity for a side business here. I don’t know how long it takes to clean up a plane but if you picked them up at a good price and spent two hours getting one ready I think you could sell it in a price range that would be appealing to users and still make a nice profit. What I have found is any that are cleaned up are usually the collector type. Since I don’t know what it takes and I have not found anyone that does this it probably is more work than I think.

-- Ron, Kutztown, PA "The reward is in the journey."

View RalphBarker's profile


80 posts in 2973 days

#5 posted 11-15-2010 02:32 AM

To start with, I’d try sharpening the original iron (after lapping the back side) and tuning the original chip breaker for a precise fit. Often, the factory fit on chip breakers fell short of precise. Then, if the plane isn’t performing well, try a good aftermarket replacement blade (Lie Nielsen, Hock, etc.) and their chip breaker. The better-quality irons are usually thicker than the originals, so chatter is correspondingly reduced.

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