sharpening blades for bevel-up planes & the ruler trick

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Forum topic by Millo posted 1048 days ago 2022 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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543 posts in 1647 days

1048 days ago

I have seen the famous Charlesworth DVD’s and found them to be awesome. So, in short, should I use David Charlesowrth’s sharpening methods—specifically, the ruler trick—, to flatten the backs and sharpen bevel-up plane irons? I haven’t looked recently at mine (which is back in the box after a quick try, newbie with little time for wood-chopping) and anyway I trust YOUR judgment better than mine …was wondering if this lessens the bed support area at all, affecting the iron’s stability. Please don’t hate me for being so ignorant. Thanks a million.

9 replies so far

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543 posts in 1647 days

#1 posted 1048 days ago

Hey Gary, thanks for your help! Tomorrow or Sunday afternoon I will have a long sharpening session…plane irons, scrapers, maybe a few chisels! Looking forward to it, time to check out my old cd collection!

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1286 posts in 1656 days

#2 posted 1048 days ago

The ruler trick works great on bevel up and bevel down planes. Just don’t but too excessive of a back bevel on there and you should be fine. I’ve been using the ruler trick on my planes for several years and haven’t ever had a problem.


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

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955 posts in 1487 days

#3 posted 1048 days ago

+1 for garypr’s comment. Plane irons yes—chisles NO.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View tirebob's profile


123 posts in 1451 days

#4 posted 1048 days ago

Ruler trick = WIN!!! I just started using it over the last month or so and it does work…

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 1647 days

#5 posted 1048 days ago

Thanks guys. Now one more question: since the thicker the ruler, the shorter the polished area and more aggressive the angle, what ruler blade thickness have you found optimum for BU irons, if you have a preference?

View JeremyPringle's profile


281 posts in 1071 days

#6 posted 1032 days ago

For the ruler.. get the thinnest one you can. I have the little LN 6” ruler, and I use that. I also have a tiltbox 2, and for kicks one day, I set up the stone with the ruler, and I put the tiltbox on the blade, and it registered .25 of a °.

View Joeshop's profile


49 posts in 1714 days

#7 posted 1032 days ago

Please excuse my ignorance, but what is the ruler trick ??

-- ~You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.~ - Joe

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12247 posts in 2695 days

#8 posted 1032 days ago

You place a ruler on the sharpening the stone when flattening the back. It puts a slight back bevel on the blade, but speeds up the flattening process. It should only be done with plane blades (not chisels).

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

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 1647 days

#9 posted 1032 days ago

I went through these aforementioned sharpening sessions, no ruler. Yup it was arduous but it worked fine, got the “business end” polished.

Someone tipped me and said some “shim stock” from Grainger would work. Not sure how the sell it at the actual retail shop but might find out this upcoming weekend. I will get the Lie-Nielsen ruler soon.

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