How long to sharpen new hand plane irons

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Forum topic by robdem posted 03-04-2012 12:19 PM 1855 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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377 posts in 2027 days

03-04-2012 12:19 PM

Would like to know about how long it should take me to sharpen new plane irons .Working with water stones starting with 220 grit stone then 1000 , 4000, 8000 .These irons are brand new so the backs need to be flattened first then honing cane be done. Also would like to know if I should use a nagura stone on the 4000 and 8000 grit stone

12 replies so far

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6421 posts in 2020 days

#1 posted 03-04-2012 03:47 PM

If you are not changing the bevel angle, it should only take a few minutes to get it sharpened and honed. Time to flatten the back will be relative to how close it was from the factory. I would guess more time is going to go into flattening than sharpening.

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95 posts in 2418 days

#2 posted 03-05-2012 04:55 PM

Sharpen until you get a burr to raise, remove the burr and then move on to the next grit.

Lie Nielsen has great videos on YouTube showing how its done.

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2076 days

#3 posted 03-05-2012 05:01 PM

Depending on the quality from the factory anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or so. On a plane blade don’t worry about getting the whole back flat, just the arearight behind the blade…some people use the ruler trick but I think over repeated honings this costs time rather than save it. The bevel should just take a minute or two to run through the grits.

Touch the edge up often and it will stay sharp and be easier to sharpen…a dull edge takes longer to get up and running.

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

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377 posts in 2027 days

#4 posted 03-05-2012 11:12 PM

Thanks guys for the info and video.Video explains alot will be trolling u tube tonight for more

View markplusone's profile


81 posts in 2376 days

#5 posted 03-06-2012 12:48 AM

I agree with RGtools. I use hand planes for my tables quite often and it gets to you if your spending too much time with honing. Lets face it, unless you have a high end hand plane like a lie nielson or other expensive bedrock plane, you can skip the 8000 grit stone. There is no need for it and most of the time your working with a cheaper steel in the blade that wont hold that edge past the first couple strokes anyways. Try this the next time you need to sharpen. First, hollow grind the bevel. That way your limiting the amount of material your dealing with just be careful not to “burn” or overheat the blade. Next I normally take after it with my 300 stone because I need the edge straight and I hollow grind by hand so this rough grit gets me started quick. When you see two parallel lines of edge material I step up to my 1200 grit stone. Less than 2 min. on that and I have my burr and take it off. Then up to my 6000 grit stone. Once again less than 2 min. and you have a burr. I ALWAYS pull to take off the burr on this step. Dont know if it truly matters but it makes me feel better. Then 40 strokes on a leather belt strop and your done. Total, I spend (if I need to hollow grind) about 7 min. on a blade. If the hollow grind is still good, it takes about 5 min. and I dont bother with the 300 stone. Hope this helps. My wife can always tell when Im handplanning because there is no hair left on the back of my left hand from testing my edge.

-- Dont carry that which you dont hold with.

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3969 posts in 1772 days

#6 posted 03-06-2012 01:34 AM

It shouldn’t take more than few minutes. Most of the new plane irons are pretty flat. A2 steel takes a bit longer than o1. I skip the 4000 grit and go from 1000 to 8000. I use the Nagura stone on the 8000.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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7 posts in 1694 days

#7 posted 03-06-2012 01:39 AM

I agree with Bondo, 4000 grit isn’t really necessary. I use the dmt lapping plates for flattening backs if they’re out, and they work great.

-- Ryan Baird,

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


13571 posts in 2040 days

#8 posted 03-06-2012 02:30 AM

Paul Sellers did a video and put it here on LJs within the last 30 days or show. With strop. Find that with a search and you’ll have a good idea…

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View crank49's profile


3979 posts in 2392 days

#9 posted 03-06-2012 02:48 AM

I use silicon carbide paper on granite and have never found it necessary to spend more than 10 – 15 minutes on a cutter. I can’t speak to the use of waterstones, but if they are not faster I’d be very disappointed since those stones are so costly.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View robdem's profile


377 posts in 2027 days

#10 posted 03-06-2012 03:20 PM

Thanks again for all the help from everybody . Will check out the video by paul smitty the honing part going pretty quick once I flattened my water stones flattening backs of chisels and irons taking awhile

View Don W's profile

Don W

17878 posts in 1989 days

#11 posted 03-06-2012 03:42 PM

Rob, I made this post on another thread but it seems it may be relavant here as well.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View robdem's profile


377 posts in 2027 days

#12 posted 03-09-2012 01:38 AM

Don W thanks for help doing pretty good with sharppening every thing flatting backs take a long time but the honning going pretty quick .

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