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Thread: I can't sharpen my block plane

  1. #1

    I can't sharpen my block plane

    After watching several videos online, I purchased the Model SS2 sharpening sled from Alisam engineering. (http://www.alisam.com/alisam-sharpening.html) After working with this for a long time, I still can't get a consistent edge without faceting up the blade. I'm using Razorri Knife Sharpening Stone Kit, Double-Sided 400/1000 and 3000/8000 Grit Whetstones and generally following their directions.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    https://www.theboohers.org/wp-conten.../06/Chisel.jpg

    I tried to make sure the blade was perpendicular to the stone and to make sure I was working on a level surface.

    As it is, I now have a dull faceted blade. How do I fix this? I'm thinking about using a chisel to get a straight surface, or even a grinder, but that seems sloppy.

    I also looked up my block plane and measured the existing angle to be 25 degrees, but isn't their always a second bevel on a block plane.

    I greatly appreciate advice on improving my technique. I'm also up for other product/system recommendations, but would be especially appreciative of any tips to get my current system working.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    I would make sure your iron is secure in the guide first. Nowadays I only use a guide to reprofile the bevel of my irons on a coarse medium, the rest of the sharpening is done by hand. If you are using your guide for the whole process, I would suggest that only apply pressure only while dragging the iron towards you, assuming the stone is laid out lengthwise away from you. The reason for it is that if you are going back and forth, you may be wobbling. Once you get a burr switch to the next grit.

    With the guide, you'll get a single bevel, if you reset the iron to get a secondary bevel you'll loose the alignment and likely screw up the edge. Don't worry about a secondary bevel at this time.
    Last edited by Rafael Herrera; 06-06-2021 at 9:20 AM.

  3. #3
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    I've never used one of those guides. Never even wanted to try one (and I've tried most). They simply do not make sense to me. The guides runs along and on each side the stone?? If this is so, with a waterstone stone wearing, the bevel cannot maintain a constant angle. It will be all over the place. These guides can only work (ha!) if used with stones which maintain a constant height, such as a diamond stone. The absolute worst case scenario would be a collection of stones with varying heights. You will end up with a facetted, rounded bevel. And there is no telling which, if any, stone would create a wire edge.

    Get yourself one of the new, inexpensive Veritas guides, or and an Eclipse-copy.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  4. #4
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    I tried to make sure the blade was perpendicular to the stone and to make sure I was working on a level surface.
    It looks like the blade may have not been parallel to the surface of the stone. If the stone isn't perfectly square, this can happen with this type of guide even on a perfectly flat, level surface.

    Tim, this is where having your location can help. You may be near another member who would be willing to offer some help with your sharpening.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #5
    Thanks, some great ideas here. I live close to NYC (Westfield, NJ), but now work in Fort Worth Texas so I'm back and forth a lot between the two locations. I would love to practice with someone on this and am willing to travel, even fly somewhere to learn.

  6. #6
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    First, get some sort of magnifying thing to look at the blade. I prefer a 10x loop. This will let you see what is going on.

    Is the back flat up to the edge?


    If you give up and there is nobody near you to give you a hand, send the blade to me and I will put on a hollow grind (tell me the angle you want). Then, I will send it back. I am not a professional, nor am I the best sharpener here, but my blades cut. And you may not want a hollow grind on your blade. With a hollow grind, it is easier to free hand the blade so i just free hand after I put on the hollow grind.

  7. #7
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    "First, get some sort of magnifying thing to look at the blade. I prefer a 10x loop. This will let you see what is going on. "

    This is great advice. To me, seeing exactly what you are doing to the edge and bevel makes knowing what to do much more obvious. I recently discovered the magnifier on my iPhone, which is awesome for looking at blade edges.

    Then I started looked at my cuticles, and grossed myself out.

    By the way, for me, I usually set the primary bevel on a grinder with an Ian Kirby style jig, then develop a secondary bevel freehand on a stone(s) and finish with a loaded strop. I don't use a guide (after the grinder).
    Last edited by scott lipscomb; 06-07-2021 at 10:16 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    It looks like the blade may have not been parallel to the surface of the stone. If the stone isn't perfectly square, this can happen with this type of guide even on a perfectly flat, level surface.



    jtk
    Plus which, no mention of flattening the stones in the OP.

    I'm guessing the guide *is* tracking along a plane, but the stone is dished.

  9. #9
    Feel your pain, we've all been there. It's hard to figure out the problem without seeing your process. From the pic it looks like there's a lot of material to be removed before the primary bevel is flat. Maybe your rubbing too hard and the blade is moving in the jig and/or the jig is flexing All I can do is to offer what I would do were it my blade. First to the grinder to restore the primary bevel keeping it cool to not mess up the temper. The new bevel is hollow ground so the heal and edge of the bevel can rest on the stone and act as a guide. I would then by hand go to the 1K stone and work the heal and edge just until the grind marks are gone. Check the back of the blade to make sure there's a bur along the complete length of the edge. If not then back to the 1K until there is. For me, checking the bur is one of the keys to sharpening because it gives you a real indication of whether you've sharpened to the edge or not. I'd then go to the 3K stone and just work the edge and strop from there.

    The back needs to be as polished as the bevel for the blade to be sharp.

    A little trick that might help when using the jig is to use a sharpie to color the bevel. Make a few strokes and you'll be able to see where you're removing steel, adjust and repeat.......hope this helps
    Happiness is a sharp, well tuned hand plane

  10. #10
    this is all incredible advice. I'm going to get the loop and also follow tracy's advice. I just hate the grinder because I think I'll mess that up. But it is a cheap plane and I need to learn.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Booher View Post
    this is all incredible advice. I'm going to get the loop and also follow tracy's advice. I just hate the grinder because I think I'll mess that up. But it is a cheap plane and I need to learn.
    If you think you messed it up, let us know (and if you really just need someone to fix it and cannot find someone, just PM me).

  12. #12
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    I would make a jig to hold the iron square to the stone.

    or

    https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=m...pening+chisels

    The Woodcraft guide excellent and easy to use.

  13. #13
    All, I realize the stone itself may be bad. Do folks recommend a good system (scarysharp?) or specific ceramic stones?

  14. #14
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    Owner of about 15 working block planes.....does NOT take that much work to get these sharp.

    First,,get the back of the iron flat....no, I did not say shined up like a mirror, I said flat....you can polish it up later.

    Next.....work on just a single bevel.....say around 25 degrees, for now. That means the entire bevel....do not worry about any "back bevels" just a simple, single, flat bevel.
    Stanley Block Plane, irons, edges.JPG
    These are my spares....Right now, there is a Stanley No. 9-1/2 sitting on my bench....other days, it might be the No. 60-1/2....just depends on which works that day.

    BTW...ALL of my block planes still have and USE the irons they had when they were shipped out of the factory. Never found any need to get an after market iron....

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Booher View Post
    All, I realize the stone itself may be bad. Do folks recommend a good system (scarysharp?) or specific ceramic stones?
    A 'bad' stone isn't usually the total cause. Yes, some stones are better than others for various reasons. At $30 those stones are even tempting me to give them a shot. As it is there are already more stones in my shop than needed.

    From the image you posted it looks like the blade isn't being held to the stone equally over its entire width. It would be a truly bad stone that would abrade on part of its surface and not another.

    You may be able to (have to) correct this by setting it up by eye.

    My first thought would be to not use a sharpening holder that doesn't roll on the stones. Just a caveat, my sharpening has always been done freehand. A holder seems to take longer to set up and introduces new problems.

    Many folks have had great results with what is known as the basic Eclipse style blade holding guide. It is possibly the least expensive (from some sources) and easiest to use> https://www.amazon.com/s?k=eclipse+s..._1_15_ts-doa-p

    As Steven said, start off keeping it simple. Learn to get to sharp before trying all the secondary, cambered, unicorned and back bevels.

    There isn't really any one system that works best. There may be one system you can make work best for you.

    Good luck,

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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