sharp/dull blade drawing Updates small map
Finest abrasives.
Microbevels front and back.
Use a jig.
Copyright (c) 2002-15, Brent Beach

Google Group

I have a google group you can join. I send an email to this group whenever I update my web pages.

People regularly send me pictures of jigs they have built. If you build some jigs, send some pictures along. Send along your best picture of a shaving as well.


Date Link Content Added/Updated
Mar '15 All pages, including this page. Google wrote notifying me that all of the pages on this site have critical mobile usability errors. Yikes! Turns out they did not like the small print. No, make that, the small default text size. As well, some other arcane requirement of web pages - Viewport not configured.

The changes will mean that you will see bigger default text than before. Shrink the text to the size you like in the usual way. For me it involves the CTRL key and the mouse wheel

The pages are now mobile friendly and Google reports Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.

Apr '14 Abrasives, Steel, edge durability Using results from Metallography, this rather long section explores how you can devise a sharpening system that optimizes steel quality at the edge. You may be surprised at the resulting system - but probably not.
Jan '14 User jig design for jointer/planer blades If you want to try to get a bit more life out of your jointer and planer blades.
Jan '13 Back bevels and Tearout

Chip breakers break chips, right?

I have been doing some reading of very old books on the topics of cap irons. I have updated several pages.
Jan '13 History of the 3M company Discovered while reading The Evolution of Useful Things.
Jan '13 Design Evolution Design evolves in response to perceived shortcomings. What are the shortcomings of the jig designs? Can it evolve to resolve those?
Oct '12 How does skewing change the cutting angle? There has been an error in the formula in this item since it was written 10? years ago. I have corrected the formula and added some notes. Thanks to Tony Yeates for pointing this out!
Mar '12 User jigs A number of changes along with the addition of two user jigs for Adzes - the first I have seen. One was for a straight adze, one for an incannel adze. The problem is that these tools have handles and the handles would bump into the glass surface on which the jig slides - limiting the range of motion.

The solution is a variation on the Stone vice! Sketchup models included for both the straight and incannel adze.

The ideas for the incannel adze could be applied to any incannel chisel. That is, instead of capturing a flat stone, the stone vice captures a tube to which the adhesive backed abrasive has been applied.

Sep '11 Grinding Wheels enhanced I have added a calculator to the page on Grinding wheels that lets you calculate the actual edge, mid, and heel angles depending on the radius of your grinding wheel and the thickness of the tool. As well, a slightly more accurate angle setting jig for grinding wheels and a precision tool rest.
June '11 Leather Splitter blade The blade used in a Leather Splitter has unique features that mean it can be honed using a fairly simple jig.
March '11 Sharpening Bevel Up Irons The Sharpening Bevel Up Irons has been updated with a series of Sketchup models showing a modified protocol for sharpening bevel up blades. Particularly with planes with a 12 degree bedding angle, it is important to not put too large a final microbevel angle on back. This protocol does not use the slip when honing the back, but continues to use the slips on the front.
January '11 Saw Sharpening The Saw Sharpening pages had not been updated since '03. I went back over them and rearranged the material. I also spent some time using Google Sketchup to create models of saw teeth. The page on Sloping Gullets has many new models. The page on Sketchup and Saws explains how the models of saw teeth are constructed.
December '09 Cabinet Scrapers I have done a short page on cabinet scrapers. It includes two sketchup models. The first shows a scraper blade with a turned burr. The second shows a scraper blade in a honing jig suitable for blades of this shape and honing angles.
October '09 Other people's jigs People regularly send me pictures of the jigs they have made, starting from the ideas in these pages. Two more sets of pictures in the last couple of weeks, including jigs for use with carving tools.
April '09 Cambered edges I have redone the scrub iron page, adding a general discussion of camber in blade. This page includes a calculator which lets you determine how much camber you need to get a desired thickness shaving.

Other new or reorganized pages linked from there cover: grind and hone use abrasives on glass, grind and hone using just a belt sander, hone using a convex surface.

December '08 Simplified Jig Some may think it is too difficult to make one of my jigs. I have added a Sketchup model of the steps in making a simplified version of the jig. The machine screws are threaded directly into the wide jaw - no t-nut required, only one drill required.
December '08 The Slips Making the thin shims may be stopping people from using microbevels. I have added a short section which uses a Sketchup model to show how to make a simple planing board to make the slips. It can be used to make plane any thin wooden slip.
November '08 Jig geometry with Sketchup Models After some false starts, I have finally learned how to use Google Sketchup to the degree that I can make pretty realistic models of the various jigs, with tools and slips and abrasives. My first new page is an investigation of the sharpening problem.
October '08 Stone Vice without slips In a moment of inspiration I realised you could lower the finer stones in a stone vice, rather than raise the jig for the finer stones! That meant no slips during use. Unfortunately it also meant it was very hard to do back bevels on the fine grit.
October '08 Jig FAQ I have split the FAQ into a bunch of smaller pages, each one concentrating on a specific issue. There has been some reorganisation of content as well.
October '07 Sharpening Radiused Blades I have add a small calculator to this page - which uses blade width and camber to compute the radius of curvature.

I have also added a section discussion cambered blades for low angle bevel up planes.

August '07 Jig Flea Market While I no longer make jigs for sale, those that make a few extra can send me a picture and contact details and I will publish them.

Or am I getting myself into the middle of a mess on this?

July '07 Side-to-Side Honing Every honing jig I have seen up until July 07 used a forward-and-backward (FAB) honing action. This is the same action most people use when honing.

Harrelson Stanley has been popularizing side-to-side (STS) honing, both freehand and with a jig.

This page looks at the problems with his jig, how my jig can be used for STS honing, and at the problems with STS honing even when you use my jig.

June '07 Slanted Jig The standard jig works well with long planes blades, giving a range of motion of around 5" with a 3 to 4" extension.

What happens when you want a longer range of motion (grinding), or the blade is too short for a 3" extension?

Pictures of my slanted jig have been on the grinding with a benchstone page for some time.

I have added a new page on making slanted jigs, with added examples on using slanted jigs with short tools.

May '07 Initial Sharpness Many plane blade manufacturers make unsubstantiated claims about their blades. Their blades are sharper than others. Their blades last longer than others.

Some of these claims are true, especially on the durability side. The blade testing page covers blade durability.

The claims about initial sharpness are all false. The initial sharpness page shows test results on sharpness.

It turns out that all blades - O1, A2, D2, M2 - can be brought to the same initial sharpness if you use the jig and abrasives discussed in these pages. (I suspect it is true no matter what abrasive you use. Almost all abrasives are hard enough to create the basic geometry. I doubt that any other setup will get blades as sharp as my setup, but they will get all blades equally sharp.)

March '07 Honing



Videos of parts of the sharpening process.

I am making some short videos which shows the making and using of the sharpening equipment.

A grinding demonstration. A blade from a type 4 Stanley #30 (a 22 inch transitional) plane, which came with a 30 degree primary. The blade back was rounded and pitted as well.

I removed the pits by grinding the first back microbevel on the SiC benchstone.

A honing session. Typical honing of a blade which already has a good primary bevel. Honing is discussed in detail here.

One of setting the extension and one of me sharpening a plane blade.

I put up three videos of me applying the PSA backed 3M abrasives to glass. This can be tricky, but if you use just enough water you can apply the abrasive to the glass in a few seconds with no bubbles.

February '07 Tsunesaburo Blue Steel test summary For some reason I summarized the performance of this blade as good.

Perhaps I made this mistake because I tested it in parallel with a HSS blade from Academy Saw Works. While not in the same class as the ASW blade, the Tsunesaburo Blue Steel blade was far better than any other High Carbon Steel blade I have tested.

In fact, with durability just a shade less than A2 steel blades, but with far superior worn edge quality (no chip outs), this blade should have been very highly rated.

December '06 Hand Honing Radiused Blades Chris Schwartz discussed using a radiused blade to plane a groove, which you could then use to hone the blade. I have added a section on hand honing radiused blades.
December '06 Photomicrographs of Abrasives Comparing the Norton 3X 60 Grit to the 3M Microfinishing abrasives. Quite interesting.
December '06 Sheet Abrasives for Primary Bevels Norton 3X 60 Grit, an aluminum oxide based sheet abrasive, can readily renew primary bevels on even the hardest plane blades. Be careful turning a burr with this abrasive though, since it appears to cause edge fractures. Grits 100, 150, 200 also cut well, but were much too slow to be used for primary grinding by hand.
October '06 Extension calculator Updated the Extension calculator to handle jigs which hold the tool at other than 90 degrees, the slanted jigs.
September '06 Bench stone wear results Grinding a primary bevel on an older blade using a water stone - a Dragon Stone - produced good speed but bad stone wear.
August '06 SiC bench stones Continued testing SiC bench stones. Results to date appear to emphasize that this is indeed slow speed grinding.
July '06 Stanley Laminated Added discussion of Stanley laminated versus non-laminated blades to the Nov 2002 retest page.
July '06 SiC bench stones Added a section on using Silicon Carbide bench stones for grinding the primary bevel on plane blades.

Home again

Back to the plane iron sharpening page.


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Questions? Comments?

You can email me here.