How To Sharpen a Plane Blade
When it comes to the sharpening of a plane blade, there are many different techniques used by modern woodworkers. However here is a simple, yet very effective way to restore life to blunt plane blades and achieve a sharp clean edge.
1. Get a flat back
While most plane blades will have a flat back, its still no harm to give it a quick polish to keep it that way.
You can start by polishing it on a 1000 grit stone, then moving on to a 4000 grit stone and finally finishing it on a 8000 grit stone. This will be enough to ensure you maintain a flat back on your plane blade.
2. Check the edge for square
The next step is to ensure that the bevel of the blade is square (straight across). If you find its off a little or a lot, then you need to regrind the bevel of the blade square.
3. Put the blade in the jig
For most blades, you can use a simple side clamp honing guide. Due to these simple honing guides having a narrow wheel, you can use your finger pressure to hone the edge of the blade straight or with your desired camber angle.
For example, you can set the plane blade in the honing guide to 30 degrees using a protractor.
Tip: Once you have this done, you can easily make a simple stop block jig with 2 scraps of timber, making it quick and easy to set the angle next time.
4. To hone a straight secondary bevel
Make sure you use steady and equal finger pressure against the blade and hold it flat against the 1000 grit waterstone and move it back and forward about 15 – 20 times.
Make sure to keep an eye on the edge, and watch for a small curl of metal developing on the back of the blade. This small curl is called the Burr.
Once all of the grinding scratching are gone, repeat this process using the 4000 grit waterstone and then moving to the even finer 8000 grit waterstone.
5. Remove the burr from the back of the blade
A simple way to remove the metal burr that has been created on the back of the plane blade (due to the sharpening process), is to place a simple thin ruler across your 8000 grit waterstone.
What this will do is to raise the angle of the blade less than 1 degree and will concentrate the hone on the working edge. To remove the metal burr, hone the back by working the plane blade on & off the edge about 15 – 20 times.