View Full Version : Attaining bevel w/o bench grinder

maurice biddles
09-10-2003, 9:51 PM
Newbie here with four older Baileys, some glass, sand paper and the library's copy of 'The Handplane Book'. All was going well but after sharpening my blades a few times I think I have rounded over the bevel on atleast two of the irons. I'm not using any gigs to sharpen and I don't have a bench grinder or access to one (unless somewhere out the in webland happens to live near LaCosta Rd and Rancho Sante Fe Rd :) ). On a very tight budget.

If the bevels are indeed rounded what should my next step be? Can I flatten the bevel using the things I have and if so what grit paper would you suggest? If not, are there any inexpensive alternatives to a bench grinder? In the book, Hack shows a small "grindstone" thingy attached to a hand drill to slightly hollow the back of the irons. Is this something I could get at the Depot to help with the bevel?

When and if some $$$ does come my way, what are absolute essentials (minimum req) I need to get with a bench grinder? I also have Lee's 'The Complete Guide to Sharpening' and he mentions new grinding wheel(s), wheel dresser, and some type of tool rest.

Thanks in advance for the help

Matt Woodworth
09-11-2003, 12:29 AM
I can totally relate to what you're going through. I've been making my way down the same path except that I'm a few weeks ahead of you.

Personally, I am nervous about using a high speed grinder to sharpen chisels and plane irons. However, a $40 grinder and $20 wheel would be one way to set the bevel.

I have a different method. I bought one of these (http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?page=33001&category=1,43072,43078&abspage=1&ccurrency=2&SID=) to help me get the angle correct. I use sandpaper and glass to put a 25 degree bevel on the iron. Next, I set it to 30 degrees and put on a micro bevel. The micro bevel step only takes a few strokes (maybe 10 on each grit) and I like to only pull backwards so that I know the sandpaper isn't pushing up away from the tile/glass slightly.

There are some people who "feel" the correct angle and do it without a honing guide. Those people have more talent than I do. I suspect I could develop that talent and save $35 but I went the other route.

To answer your question, if the bevel is really messed up I'd use 60 grit to reset it. Otherwise, I'd start at 120.

Noah Alkinburgh
09-11-2003, 7:55 AM

Matt is right on...get a honing guide and an angle setting jig. It works great...once you go through all the steps you don't need to start back at 120 again though. You should be able to just do touch up with the higher grits.


Randy McDonnell
09-11-2003, 9:31 AM
I can't disagree with any of the suggestions made so far. However you can save a few bucks more if your interested. The Veritas jig (blade holder)is great but mine cost about a third of the price at WWorkers Warehouse. Also, you can cut a 25-30 degree angle in the saw and use that to set the slope of your tool for sharpening on the sandpaper. Lastly, I went down to the dumpster of our local stone counter top maker...I have two pieces of granite about 36" long and 1 1/4" thick.
You don't need a grinder unless your putting a whole new edge on you blade....the curved bevel means little to the wood...only the edge counts.

I have similar difficulties as you cutting without jigs...but I have been practicing and am geting better..good luck

David Klug
09-11-2003, 9:38 AM
Maurice I never use a grinder to sharpen my tools. I made a jig for my belt sander which has the belt sander up sidedown. At the end of it I made a rest for the tools that I'm sharpening. I like this setup because I don't have any problem with the edges over heating and burning. Then like you I have a peace of plate glass with different grits of sandpaper on it and I use the angle guage as others have suggested. You can get a very nice edge this way.