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Sharpening plane blades


JonGeo

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Hey all

i got my finger planes.. not the expensive ones.. maybe someday.. lol 

 

anyhow I got looking at the blades and was wondering what different people do to sharpen the rounded cutting edge.

 

my father and I used to run a little sharpening business so we’ll probably cook up a jig for them.. in all the years of sharpening I’ve never sharpened plane blades like these.. as well any thoughts on bevel up vs bevel down on the finger planes?

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I may do this completely wrong but…

I do bevel down.

When I first get the plane I just barely extend the blade and use a coarse stone to clean up the sole and shape the blade to the sole.  Even good planes usually have small distortions in the sole shape and the blade angle.

Quickly work through finer grits to polish the sole.

Then remove the blade and hand sharpen to restore the angle and remove any flat just created.

 

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3 hours ago, JonGeo said:

Hey all

i got my finger planes.. not the expensive ones.. maybe someday.. lol 

 

anyhow I got looking at the blades and was wondering what different people do to sharpen the rounded cutting edge.

 

my father and I used to run a little sharpening business so we’ll probably cook up a jig for them.. in all the years of sharpening I’ve never sharpened plane blades like these.. as well any thoughts on bevel up vs bevel down on the finger planes?

If/when you come up with a jig let me know. 
     I use the planes bevel down as the planes came that way so it must be the way they are supposed to be used. 
     For sharpening, I guess at it, both radii, but I can get the blade good enough to work that way. I just swing it back and forth for one radius and roll it with my fingers for the other. As long as the edge is sharp and the sides of the blade don’t dig in they will work. 

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On 12/12/2023 at 5:28 AM, Davide Sora said:

Bevel down. Make sure that the edges of the blade do not protrude, so the curve of the blade must have a slightly more curved radius than the sole of the plane

Extremely important point!  
 

After shaping the blade to match the sole, the hand sharpening process to restore the bevel will naturally take a little extra from the edges of the blade.  But you do need to have some awareness of what you are trying to do.

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I think that most finger planes have a blade bed between 35 and 40 degrees at the most. I don't know of any design that would be suitable for a bevel down configuration, apart from the extremely high cutting angle it simply would not work.

I use a piece of wood like violins 88 but secure the blade with some thin binding wire. I don't use a pivot but sweep the blade across the stone with a side to side motion on a 1000 grit water stone until I raise a burr. I do that after making sure that the blade curvature matches the curvature of the plane. I do think the pivot is a good idea especially if you are not confident about keeping the right angle when in the final stages of sharpening.

Like Urban Luthier I hollow grind the main bevel a little using a tool rest set high up on the wheel to get a nice low bevel angle. During the sharpening process it will disappear after a couple of honings. But, as Urban Luthier says, it helps you to maintain the right honing angle.

Another tip, with finger plane blade as well as gouges when freehand sharpening, is to alternate holding the stick or handle with the left and right hand to avoid any unintended unevenness.

If you have a finger plane with a badly curved sole it is possible to sand it smooth or change the curvature using a section of plastic pipe of the right diameter which is cut in halves. Simply lay some abrasive paper inside and run the plane back and forth and side to side applying pressure where needed. Good finger planes are curved from front to back with a slight curve, and across their width with a tighter radius one.

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7 hours ago, Dennis J said:

Good finger planes are curved from front to back with a slight curve, and across their width with a tighter radius one.

That depends entirely on the sort of shape one is trying to achieve when cutting with the plane.

 

7 hours ago, Dennis J said:

I don't know of any design that would be suitable for a bevel down configuration, apart from the extremely high cutting angle it simply would not work.

Bowmakers sometimes use extremely high angle planes. I have one I use on highly-figured maple. It allows planing in any direction with no chance of tearout, because the angle of the blade doesn't pry the wood upward during use.

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JonGeo was asking about finger planes with curved blades. They will not work bevel up. You could use a finger plane radiused across its width and not from front to back but it wouldn't work as well in hollow areas.

Scraper planes are another thing altogether. I've got a couple of small planes with 18 mm blades which could be used bevel up I suppose but with a flat sole and blade that wide they can be difficult to use one handed.

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I remember once what happened putting a finger plane blade in by accident bevel up. I just tried it again and it certainly didn't produce shavings just sawdust. I've got a flat sole plane with a 14 mm blade pitched at 45 deg. sharpened at about 30 deg. making the cutting angle about 75 deg. bevel up. And that doesn't produce a shaving. If I wanted to use it with a steeper cutting angle than 45 deg. I'd go bevel-down with a micro bevel on the flat side to get something about 55-60 deg. I don't think I'd try that with curved blades because they can be used across the grain to avoid tearout.

 

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20 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Mine have, but as always with steeper angles, they require more force to move through the work.

Do you sharpen them with a more slender included angle when set to work bevel up?

The first bow plane I made had a thick blade, vertical with a large included angle maybe 85' to 80'. You might say bevel down but it wasn't much of a bevel.  It worked very nicely on difficult hardwoods. 

 

Edited by LCF
Spellin'
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  • 2 weeks later...

I just do mine by hand. A small grinder with a small diameter wheel give you more of a hollow grind. Then just swipe it on a few stones. In use, sharpen on the flat side, until  you feel like they need more.

I've been sharpening mine at 20-22 degrees or so. I do scrapers at about 15 degrees, no burnished edge. You are just pushing them by hand. Why work hard?

They are so small, I measure the angle with trig. It doesn't lie.

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27 minutes ago, Ken_N said:

They are so small, I measure the angle with trig. It doesn't lie.

trig?!?!?!? Runs out of the room hair on fire.. lol

i was thinking about hollowing out a wheel or a stone.. are the diameters all the same or would you need a different diameter for different blade width.. this is in context to finger planes

 

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