bench planes – honing

Once you’ve ground the blade to to about the right angle then you need to hone it in order to create a keen edge.   As per the previous post, experience has shown that grinding the blade at 25° and honing a few degrees steeper – around 30° – is a good practical approach for many woodworking tasks.  As we learned … Read more bench planes – honing

bench planes – sharpening angles

Once you have established the rough shape of the bevel (see previous post) the next step, referred to as honing or whetting, involves rubbing the iron against progressively finer abrasives until you are satisfied with the sharpness of the edge. Before we get going we’d do well to consider the various angles we’ll be working with. … Read more bench planes – sharpening angles

bench planes – grinding

grinding the bevel – the mechanical approach There are two basic techniques – the first method I’ll describe is the one frequently described in old woodworking literature (you can read about the basic principles of sharpening edge tools in the previous post). You start by using a mechanical grinder with a circular grind stone to establish a bevel … Read more bench planes – grinding

bench planes – preparing the iron

Sharpening! A quick trawl of the internet reveals a bewildering array of opinions on this topic, and if you look a bit further afield you will find entire books covering the same.  But do not be deterred: the basics can be understood and learned with a relatively modest investment in time and do not require any special skills, … Read more bench planes – preparing the iron

bench planes – flattening the sole

In the previous post we found out how to check your plane’s sole for flatness.   If you buy a new plane from Lie Neilsen, Veritas or some other high-end maker then you can rest assured it has been manufactured to very high tolerances and therefore won’t need any work (and if it isn’t you can send … Read more bench planes – flattening the sole

bench planes – how flat does the sole need to be?

Given the function of bench planes it is unsurprising that the sole of your plane should be flat, but views differ on exactly how flat it needs to make them work optimally. To understand why flatness is important we can consider the mechanics of the plane: if you imagine the sole of a plane that is significantly convex – in other words … Read more bench planes – how flat does the sole need to be?

bench planes – the cap iron

You might recall that the cap iron is the part that is held on top of the cutting iron with a shallow bolt.   Thus joined the parts are secured on to the frog by pressure from the the lever cap.1)in old books planes with this arrangement are often referred to as double irons for reasons that are obvious when you … Read more bench planes – the cap iron