Infill Planes


Tool Stories


Is the Pope Catholic? by Tom Holloway


"...Would anyone agree that the Stanley Metal Planes made today are very inferior to the Stanley Metal Planes we now call vintage. Of particular note is the quality of today's Plane Blades.  They are much more difficult to sharpen without burning the cutting edge."

Does the bear do his business in the woods?

Is the Pope Catholic?

This, Stewart, is Porch Gospel.  Our Mantra.  The Elixir that sustains us.

You would have a difficult time, I think, finding "anyone" who would take the opposite position, if this were put up for debate.

That said, I wonder about this reference to burning the cutting edge of a plane blade, in sharpening.  The only way I can envision that happening is by use of a motorized grinder, moving at speeds fast enough to heat the blade in question to an undesirable temperature.  Stock Stanley irons, of whatever vintage, are so thin that the use of a high speed grinder is unnecessary overkill.  Many Galoots, myself included, have used a geared hand powered grinder, with the speed controlled by the operator.

I have reverted to ScarySharp in most cases, unless there is a major chip that one must grind past.  Using 80-grit paper and a sharpening jig, I can usually reestablish a proper bevel on the dullest Stanley-type plane blade in a few minutes, then move on down a few grits to smooth out scratches (my usual sequence is 120, 220, 320, 400, 600, 800), then dial up the jig about one degree and hone with 1000 and 2000 grit.

Assuming the front half inch or so of the back is already reasonably flat and smooth, I start working off the wire edge with about 400 grit, then continue doing that with whichever grit I'm using on the bevel at that moment, down through the sequence.

This works for me - others have other routines.

No burning of cutting edges.

Tom Holloway,
not really a hand method zealot,
really. . .

February, 2006

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