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Forum topic by KylesWoodworking posted 08-13-2011 06:19 PM 1262 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View KylesWoodworking's profile


281 posts in 2716 days

08-13-2011 06:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane hand plane sharpening restoring

I recently got 5 hand planes and would like to restore them all. I have instructions on how to clean them up and give them a electrolysis bath and everything. The only problem I need help with, is what’s the cheapest way to sharpen the blades? Should I use wet stones? sandpaper? find a shop to do it? What’s the best, cheapest option? I bought this 3 stone sharpening system and honing guide from Rockler, but it ending up not being wide enough for the blades. Anyway here are the planes I have and what I payed for them from left to right: $15, $10, $20, free, free


6 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4121 days

#1 posted 08-13-2011 06:35 PM

You probably do not need to give them an electrolysis bath. They do not look that rusted from the photo. If there is some heavier rust, I would also look at evaporust as an option. Less of a hassel compared to electolysis in my opinion.

Sharpening. Using “scary sharp” with sandpaper is the lowest cost option. Your honing guide should work with it. You can google it or search the site for instructions. Personally, I use a combination of a Worksharp and water stones.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View wingate_52's profile


224 posts in 2593 days

#2 posted 08-13-2011 10:43 PM

Scary sharp is great. I have oilstones that I hardly use. A Tormek that grinds really nicely. 4×8” x 3” Diamond stones, diamond plates and wands, ceramic stones and rods. There are a few standalone jigs that give consistency. This has all been built up over a long period of time, as has a collection of 20 bench planes plus blocks and others. Use what you have.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3082 days

#3 posted 08-13-2011 11:10 PM

Personally, I prefer oilstones. I have water stones, but they tend to be so messy and constantly have to be reflattened. Most sharpening can be completed with 3 various oil stones. However, the scary sharp method does work and it is pretty cheap. Just pick up a 12×12 granite tile for a couple of bucks at your local home center or some 1/4” glass and then glue on some sandpaper. Just starting, you may want to pick up some sort of jig for setting the angle. It is also pretty easy to make your own jig. The most important step is to flatten the back of the iron for the 1/2 to 1” of the iron closest to the edge. If this isn’t flat, you won’t ever get it sharp. Just pick a method to start and get to it. If you send them to someone else to sharpen, then you won’t learn how to do it yourself. One of the rules of hand tools is to sharpen frequent, sharpen often.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View mvflaim's profile


189 posts in 3115 days

#4 posted 08-13-2011 11:45 PM

I wrote a blog about restoring a Stanley No 7. You can read it here.

As far as sharpening goes, I use a tormek but scary sharp method will work well.

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2678 days

#5 posted 08-14-2011 12:04 AM

When it comes to sharpening you have three options.

Scary sharp.

Oilstones cut slow but last a lifetime. Figured over the course of a lifetime, these are the cheapest method, but the up front cost is painful. Grab a Soft Arkansas or Washita stone for repairing an edge and then a finer stone to hone it, the finer your honing stone the less need there is for stropping.

Waterstones are a bit more expensive, though their cost is hidden by the quick wear-out of the stones. A 1000 grit and an 8000 grit is a good start. You will also need to have some method of flatting the stones because their fast cutting speed is offset by their rapid dishout. If you have an uninsulated shop these are not a good idea as they will crack if frozen. Also some stones need soaking for 10 minute before use.

Scary Sharp, The system cuts fast, had no dish out issues and builds a very high polished cutting edge. The entry cost is pretty low, I use 400 grit, 1500 grit, and 2000 grit silicon carbide sandpaper (found at any auto-parts store) stuck to MDF “stones” with spray adhesive (glass works too). The drawback to this system is very expensive as the stones wear out and need to be replaced (you wont do this as often as you need to…trust me). Also because the sandpaper can wear unevenly it can do weird things to an edge as the result of higher grit densities on different parts of the stone. If you want to start sharpening now, scary sharp is a good way to go, but I would make an effort to transition to a cheaper method as soon as possible.

As for me, I am looking forward to my oilstones…I’m cheap like that.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View KylesWoodworking's profile


281 posts in 2716 days

#6 posted 08-14-2011 12:35 AM

Thanks everyone for all the tips. I think I might try the scary sharp idea first and eventually I will get some oil stones.


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