not square handplane iron

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Forum topic by giser3546 posted 08-22-2014 08:26 PM 918 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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179 posts in 1438 days

08-22-2014 08:26 PM

This could be and probably is a silly question but it has been bugging me for quite a while. I have noticed that while sharpening my hand plane blades I can easily get my iron out of square while adding a micro bevel. I sharpen using a Veritas honing guide, I start on an extra course diamond plate and then move to water stones (1000, 4000, then 8000 grit). If its a blade I’ve never sharpened before I put an entirely new 25 degree bevel on it with the diamond plate before putting the whole bevel to the 1000 grit stone. After the whole bevel is finished with the 1000 grit I move onto a micro bevel on the 4000, and 8000 grit. This process works great, giving me a perfectly square edge.

My problem comes later during resharpening. It seems absurd to put an entirely new bevel on an iron I’ve already beveled, so I just touch up the micro bevel. But when doing this I end up with it getting pretty drastically out of square, which is obvious because of the wedge shaped new micro bevel. I’m using the same honing guide and the same stones I flatten regularly. Why am I suddenly getting a wonky edge?

-- "If you wait for it to rain, It will"

4 replies so far

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1901 days

#1 posted 08-22-2014 10:01 PM

That honing guide dorked up my vibe too. There is a serious flaw with that guide that results in INCONSISTENT edge angles. I’m not talking about your 25 degree angle, I am talking about your 90 degree angle with respect to the side of the blade. It is frustrating because that is exactly what the guide is not supposed to do. It has the cheezy right angle set up dealy that is supposed to fix that, but it doesn’t really work. Every time you reset the blade in the guide you get a slightly different angle, even if it is 89.9 versus 90.0, it screws up your edge. In reality, your blade is not sitting the same every time it goes into the guide, even though it is supposed to be. My guide even let the blade visibly move around, which also could be a problem. The tolerances with “touching up” blades in that guide are stupid small and not realistic.

To remedy the problem, I would actually tell you to replace your pricey guide with the cheapo one with he center wheel that clamps onto the blade from the sides. I made the switch and couldn’t be happier. The cheap guide allows the blade to settle onto the surface of the stone flat no matter if your cutting edge is at 89, 90, or 91 degrees. If you are worried, a 1 or 2 degree discrepancy in your edge will not be a problem. That is what your side to side adjustment is for.

My last advice is this. Ditch guides altogether and go freehand. It is scary at first, but once you get it down, it is awesome. You can even cheat little by establishing a 25 degree primary bevel with a cheap guide (this is what I do) and then switch to freehand for the micro bevel. Resharpening is all freehand.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View ksSlim's profile


1274 posts in 2856 days

#2 posted 08-22-2014 10:02 PM

Check the tension on the hold down bar on the honing guide.
extra tension on one side will change the amount of material removed.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

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Richard H

489 posts in 1647 days

#3 posted 08-22-2014 10:13 PM

I have this issue with narrow blades but not really anything over 2 inches or so. Like ksSlim said you have to make sure you tighten down the bar evenly so you are not twisting the blade in the jig.

Most of the time I only use that jig to establish the bevel than I touch it up by hand. It’s a lot faster and you can get away with minor inconsistencies by hand that you can’t do with the jig. It’s also a whole lot easier to camber your irons by hand than by that jig.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10264 posts in 3614 days

#4 posted 08-22-2014 10:49 PM

Try using a honing guide that does not ride on the
stone. There are a few designs out there.

Some of them can be used with the Burns
sharpening system, which is what I use.

I freehanded for years out of some idea that I
could master it and get fast and so good I never
dinged a stone… never happened. The Burns
system is faster because it wears the stone
evenly, doesn’t ding them up and allows the
application of a lot more pressure than freehand

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