Using oil or water with sandpaper to flatten soles of hand planes?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 05-31-2011 09:16 PM 1919 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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660 posts in 2104 days

05-31-2011 09:16 PM

When flattening the soles of hand planes using sandpaper on glass, do you use oil or water, or do you leave the sandpaper dry? I tried water once, but the plane sole got a little rusty. What do you recommend?

I know that kerosene is recommended by some; are there any dangers from the fumes in an enclosed area (such as a garage)?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

5 replies so far

View Bertha's profile


12989 posts in 2115 days

#1 posted 05-31-2011 09:58 PM

S&N, I use a quart sprayer with a blob of Murphy’s Oil Soap plopped in it. So, I guess I’m using both water and oil! I’ll intermittently give it a little brush back with a metal card file to free up the goop. You can actually see little pools of mercury-type metal pooling on the surface. And it smells good, too:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View olddutchman's profile


187 posts in 3357 days

#2 posted 05-31-2011 10:07 PM

I generally use light oil. I do not use water on My planes. If You clean them up with a dry cloth and oil them, is supposed to work well. I tried that on some other tools, and I remember some rust still forming quickly. One other thought, I have been wanting to try cutting oil for sanding sole plates, If anyone has done it, please reply

-- Saved, and so grateful, consider who Created it ALL!!!

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5839 posts in 3007 days

#3 posted 05-31-2011 10:36 PM

The best way by far I read about used oil and a chisel sharpening stone flat on the sole it brought an old iron plane up better than new, try it it works great just put some oil on the chisel oil stone and hone it back and forth along the sole of the plane. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View RogerBean's profile


1598 posts in 2375 days

#4 posted 05-31-2011 11:01 PM

Just about any liquid works. The liquid is only there to prevent the paper from clogging up. Hence it cuts better and faster. Water would work fine so long as you dried the metal thoroughly afterward. Oil is messy, but keeps the rust at bay.

I’ve had good luck taping a sheet of alum oxide 220 grit paper to the table of my saw, then a light touch up with 400 grit taped to the table. I have done this with no liquid at all and no problem clogging.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3549 days

#5 posted 05-31-2011 11:30 PM

The liquid, water or oil, serves two purposes:
1. To lubricate the abrasive surface
2. To create a suspension of abrasive particles, i.e. a honing slurry.

Kerosene works fine as a honing oil, as does mineral oil.
Natural oils, such as camellia oil and even canola oil, can also be used.
DO NOT use drying oils, such as Linseed Oil or Tung Oil.

After you are done honing, wipe the honing liquid off the plane sole and rub on some type of rust protectant, such as bees wax, paraffin, tallow or natural oil. I use camellia oil.

Hope this helps…
Bro. Tenzin.

-- 温故知新

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