Always sharpen your new hand plane blades

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Forum topic by Marcus posted 03-28-2013 11:35 PM 1455 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 1982 days

03-28-2013 11:35 PM

So it’s been said a thousand times, and everyone using hand planes knows it and probably does it. There are also probably a thousand people who get into hand planes, get a new and figure they’ll just start using it. Well, I was one of those new to hand plane people today. A few weeks back, I got a LN No 4. I had screwed around with it a little bit, shaved a piece or two off the edge of stock. I actually started using it for the first time today. I figured this isn’t a cheap Harbor Freight plane, the blade is probably good to go out of the box, so I didn’t worry about sharpening.

Well today I started actually using the plane on a glue up of some walnut that will be a desktop. I got a good deal of chatter and not the nice ribbons of wood I expected. I messed around a bit with the alignment of the blade to make sure it was centered. Changed the depth of cut a little each way, but still was having issues cutting through the wood.

I took the blade and chipbreaker off, spent 5 minutes sharpening the blade on a diamond stone (its crazy how fast those things cut). I hit the back of the chipbreaker to make sure it was smooth, put everything back together and went after the desk top again….WOW, what a difference. In the below picture you can see the shavings before (to the right) and after (to the left) the sharpening.

So yes, I know, EVERYONE sharpens their new plane blades right away. But just in case you’re like me, actually take a few minutes to do it!

5 replies so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3078 days

#1 posted 03-28-2013 11:53 PM

you are soo right :-)
and as the same time no one make a sign in the stores
or on the box you buy that say …. remember to sharpen or how to sharpen/tune before use
either its planes or chisels they sell

so every new to handtools is lost from the start :-(

take care

ps. congrats with your new toy :-)

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 1982 days

#2 posted 03-29-2013 12:24 AM

Hah, sadly Dennis, I KNEW I needed to sharpen it based on all the info and advice from this site. My brain just wouldn’t allow me to think that a $400 tool needed some tinkering.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3078 days

#3 posted 03-29-2013 03:09 PM

well your brain know it now ….... new tools want to know they are loved before they sing for you :-)


View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2743 days

#4 posted 03-29-2013 06:20 PM

Guys, I always take at least a swipe with the new stuff without sharpening. But get rid of the shipping goo first..
I WANT ! to know what I’ve got..from there, O.K. back is off, edge isn’t that great..or whatever..or it;s a Beaut ..

My Lee Valley tools have a beautiful edge and flat back from the start, but like anything else, they can use a fine tune, if nothing else to polish out the fine grinder marks, thus ensuring the best results. I’m sure the same is true for any high end tool though I have seen coments from some users about less than perfect stuff ..which generaly dosen’t include either L/V or L/N…

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15278 posts in 2581 days

#5 posted 03-29-2013 06:32 PM

“new tools want to know they are loved before they sing for you”

Love that, Dennis! :-)

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

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