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Forum topic by grego posted 03-14-2012 06:45 PM 1272 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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grego

70 posts in 1335 days


03-14-2012 06:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sharpening honing honing guide question

Could I ask for a bit of guidance?

I’ve been re-honing blades using the Veritas MkII guide using the following sequence (for a 25 degree bevel plane blade, for example.):

- Set the blade in the guide for a 25-degree angle. Hone the primary bevel on a 1000 waterstone
- Advance the guide setting to the micro-bevel position (about 27 degrees) and hone first on a 4000 waterstone, then on an 8000
- Lap the back of the blade using the ruler trick

My question: does it make sense to hone the primary bevel again each time, or am I wasting effort and should I go straight to the secondary bevel from the second honing on.

If it does make sense to re-hone the primary bevel every time, why?

Thanks in advance,
Greg


11 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3589 posts in 2714 days


#1 posted 03-14-2012 07:04 PM

Don’t hone the primary unless you’re compelled.
Just be sure to keep an eye on the back of the iron.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View JuniorJoiner's profile

JuniorJoiner

451 posts in 2194 days


#2 posted 03-14-2012 07:15 PM

I would advise to lose the ruler trick. just keep the back of the blade flat against the stone, it is only a bit of work the first time you do it, ever after it is just a few rubs. by keeping the back of the blade flat, you can use the plane blade with a guide block for all sorts of handy trimming, plus, you never have to worry about contact between the blade and the lever cap. with the ruler trick do you find shavings sometimes get between the blade and the cap iron? the ruler trick is just that, a trick to sell planes out of the box. craftsmen learn how to sharpen.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

15581 posts in 1321 days


#3 posted 03-14-2012 08:15 PM

I agree with junior. Leave the back flat. I hone the bevel, hit the back, then a few strokes on the bevel again. I’ve found I get better results if hitting the stone on the back is not the last step. I then hit the back on the strop, making sure I keep the iron completely flat on the strop. (this is similar to what Paul Sellers does)

If your using 8000 grit I don’t strop the bevel. I’ve tried both ways, and don’t see any difference, so I just don’t do it.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View stevenmadden's profile

stevenmadden

174 posts in 1843 days


#4 posted 03-14-2012 08:29 PM

JuniorJoiner: Uh, I’m confused. On my bevel down planes, the order is blade, chipbreaker, then lever cap. If there are shavings getting between the blade and lever cap, then you have bigger problems than the ruler trick. By the way, I learned the ruler trick from David Charlesworth, who is a craftsman, not a salesman.

grego: There are as many methods for sharpening as there are people who sharpen, so be prepared for a wide variety of answers to your question. The ruler trick is a valid method of achieving a polished surface (where it matters). With a bevel down plane, the ruler trick doesn’t effect anything in regards to how the plane performs, it just saves a ton of time in the sharpening process.

As for the primary bevel, it should only need to be re-honed if the secondary bevel grows too large, thus defeating it’s purpose. The main purpose for a secondary bevel is to save time. In other words, it takes significantly more strokes to get a mirror polish on a large surface (the whole bevel) than it does on a very tiny surface (small secondary bevel). Also, the secondary bevel can be a quick way to change the angle of attack on a bevel up plane, which gives you more control over how the wood responds to being planed. On a bevel down plane, it makes no difference what the angle of the bevel is, primary or secondary.

Good luck.

Steven

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grego

70 posts in 1335 days


#5 posted 03-15-2012 04:59 PM

Thanks all.

On occasions when I only tackle the secondary bevel, should I start with the 1000 stone or the 4000 stone?

I’ve not had shavings trapped anywhere. However, I’m just honing plane blades for a wooden smoother, bevel-up jack, and block plane.

Steven, you say “With a bevel down plane, the ruler trick doesn’t effect anything in regards to how the plane performs” Does the ruler trick cause problems for bevel-up blades?

Also Steven, I have to put a lot of faith in your advice because your dog reminds me of my Rottie/Retriever cross

View jmos's profile

jmos

681 posts in 1123 days


#6 posted 03-15-2012 05:24 PM

I’m pretty David Charlesworth came up with the ruler trick. Per his sharpening DVD’s, you still flatten the back of the blade (goes into great detail on this), you can just stop flattening the entire back after a 1000 grit stone. You use the ruler trick on the 8000 grit stone to avoid having to polish the entire back to 8000 grit, which would take along time. If you’re happy with a 1000 grit back, by all means stop there and skip the ruler trick. Or if you’re willing to polish the entire back, go for it.

Charlesworth’s method is to keep your primary bevel (say 25deg), and only restore it occasionally. For regular sharpening, you use a slightly greater secondary bevel (say 30deg), sharpen at 1000 grit just until you raise a burr, then switch to a microbevel angle (say 33deg) and polish that to 8000 grit. It’s usually very quick. eventually the microbevel gets too large and it takes a while to raise a burr on the secondary bevel, then you regrind the primary (flat or hollow grind).

-- John

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3589 posts in 2714 days


#7 posted 03-15-2012 06:11 PM

I rest my case.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

15581 posts in 1321 days


#8 posted 03-15-2012 06:16 PM

I never flatten the entire back. It Is not necessary. I don’t use the ruler trick, it’s. Not necessary. But we all sharpen different and you should do what works for you. I like simple and id argue it doesn’t save time.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View stevenmadden's profile

stevenmadden

174 posts in 1843 days


#9 posted 03-15-2012 06:21 PM

grego: That’s funny. My dog is a long hair miniature dachshund named Bosco. That picture is the same one I use for my iPhone, I even have a daughter and a son but can’t bring myself to change it. He is a very good dog.

In regard to your first question, it depends on how beat up the tip is. If there are slight nicks (or major, for that matter) in the blade or other inconsistencies, or if you want to change the camber of the blade (which will open up another can of worms, some say camber, others say no camber), then it might be necessary to drop down to a 1000 grit stone (or the equivalent) so that you don’t labor too long on the finer grits. If you are only touching up the blade, then 4000 or even 8000 should do the trick. I would keep a close eye on the secondary bevel and when you have all the inconsistencies removed and/or a burr on the back of the blade from corner to corner, stop with that grit and move on to polishing. Be carful though, the burr can be deceiving, I have felt a burr from corner to corner but then, under closer examination (head gear magnification), discovered that there are tiny nicks that still need to be removed.

In regards to your second question, bevel up planes/block planes, I still use the ruler trick and have no problems (I also use it on shoulder planes, scraper planes, etc.). The only reason not to use the ruler trick is for something like a chisel, or as JuniorJoiner mentioned, if you are going to use the plane iron outside of the plane itself where the back side of the blade is used as a reference. I think when I mentioned the bevel up vs. the bevel down I was referring to the secondary bevel in bevel up planes being affected by the bevel angle, whereas the bevel down planes are not. In other words, I have the Lie-Nielsen #62 Low Angle Jack Plane, which is a bevel up plane. The bedding angle is 12 degrees, so if I sharpen the plane iron with a secondary bevel of 30 degrees, then I essentially have a 42 degree cutting angle. If I sharpen the secondary bevel to 50 degrees, then I have a cutting angle of 62 degrees. This change will effect how the wood responds to being planed, because of how the wood sees the plane iron. In a bevel down plane, the angle is set by the frog, so the bevel (or secondary bevel) will not have an effect on how the wood sees the iron. There are some craftsmen who advocate putting a back bevel on bevel down planes, thereby changing the cutting angle of the plane without changing the frog. I am not so brave. I have 55 degree high angle frogs in all but one of my bevel down planes, and that seems to work best for me.

In regards to the comments made about the ruler trick being a “gimmick”. Well, that may be true, but in my mind (and through my experience), it is a gimmick that works. There are many “craftsmen” who claim that the use of a honing guide prevents one from achieving the status of a true craftsman. That may be true, but for me, the honing guide allows me to obtain fast and consistent results. I have seen craftsmen who sharpen free hand, and it is quite impressive. I don’t have the time, nor do I sharpen frequently enough, to establish the muscle memory that is necessary to achieve a good and consistent result from free hand sharpening. If this precludes me from being able to achieve the status of a true craftsman, so be it. The honing guide, for me, is a great equalizer. I can get the blade sharp and get back to work on what I really want to be working on.

Lastly, I would not put a lot of faith in my advice (I realize you were kidding), as I stated before, there are as many sharpening methods as there are people who sharpen. My sharpening method came from two sources; one part I learned by reading/watching/learning what others do, and one part my own experience and what works for me. The one piece of advice that I would suggest you take from me, and others who have concurred, you don’t need to sharpen the primary bevel with each sharpening, only when the secondary bevel grows too large.

Sorry for the novel.

Steven

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bondogaposis

2764 posts in 1105 days


#10 posted 03-15-2012 06:22 PM

I don’t use the ruler trick either. I’d rather have the back of my irons completely flat. I don’t put a micro bevel on the blade until I get to 8000 grit. I do it all freehand w/o the use of a guide, it is just the way I learned many years ago. The true test is how your planes perform after honing. If you are satisfied with the results there is no need to adopt mine or anybody elses method. The reason I like my method is that I can quickly rehone the microbevel for a quick touch up w/ only a few swipes.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View grego's profile

grego

70 posts in 1335 days


#11 posted 03-15-2012 08:09 PM

Thanks everyone – lots of things to try! If nothing else I won’t hone the primary unless I’m complelled.
.

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