Plane blade sharpening

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Forum topic by rut posted 07-12-2012 07:06 PM 1513 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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62 posts in 2349 days

07-12-2012 07:06 PM

I recently purchased an old craftsman “smooth plane” off ebay (just to play with and learn something about planes) that is in terrific condition except for the blade. It has a few chips in the cutting edge but is otherwise in perfect shape.

What is the best way to get the chips out and resharpen this blade? I’m thinking a grinding wheel to flatten the end (to get the chips out) and then re-bevelling but I may be totally wrong.

Also, I’ve been reading up on the ‘scary sharp’ system of sharpening items. Is there a drawback to using this system vs traditional stones? Does one system hold an edge longer than another?


5 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

18686 posts in 2535 days

#1 posted 07-12-2012 08:37 PM

I use a grinding wheel but if it’s not an aluminum oxide you need to go extremely slow or you will burn it. Burn it and the temper is gone. If you have a hand grinder that is best until you’ve got some practice.

Scary sharp is an ok place to start. I like my DMTs, but they are pricey. The beat system is the one that works for you, because they will all produce sharp.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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2303 posts in 2452 days

#2 posted 07-12-2012 08:55 PM

Like Don said, nothing wrong with the Scary Sharp method. I use it and my plane blades work pretty well. As for edge retention, that depends on the steel being sharpened, not so much the method that it’s sharpened with.

-- Brian Timmons -

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19742 posts in 2650 days

#3 posted 07-12-2012 08:59 PM

on the cheap

but works

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Alexandre's profile


1417 posts in 2158 days

#4 posted 07-12-2012 09:08 PM

Fine sandpaper FTW!!!!

-- My terrible signature...

View Johnnyblot's profile


319 posts in 2243 days

#5 posted 07-12-2012 11:47 PM

The ‘holding of the edge’ is down to the (tool) steel your blade is made of. Modern blades such as A2 steel eg. Lie Nielsen plane blades are thicker (3mm) and are proportedly capable of holding their edge up to 3 times longer.
The trade off seems to be that they are more difficult to sharpen? I’ve never had this problem using Japanese waterstones.
As Don points out whatever system you choose they’ll sharpen. I think it’s more down to technique.
I GRIND the primary bevel (23* on thick blades) using a TORMEK grinder, gives you a hollow grind.. This bevel will last for many many future sharpenings. The TORMEK’s run at a slower speed and the wheel runs in a water trough to avoid overheating. They are very expensive:-( but there are other versions. One advantage is they are very easy to use. Have a look on YouTube.
However, the same thing can be achieved with a humble ‘Eclipse’ type honing guide, as used here. Just takes more effort.
Try not to get too bogged down with sharpening, it’ll boil ya head. Think of it as something you have to do to keep your tools ‘tip top’ and get back to your bench.


-- Gossamer shavings just floating around the back yard….-Bandit

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