Iron Sharpening

The iron on the Stanley plane needed a good bit of love. The bevel wasn’t square and it was quite dull. A good bit of work was going to be needed to bring this puppy back into shape.

First, I squared off the bevel on the bench grinder. Having a good tool rest is essential in getting something you can work with. The first attempt I made was with my bare hands and the bevel just was too messy to make the next step of sharpening easy. After I installed a tool rest from Peachtree Woodworking, I could get a nice, even bevel across the entire iron.

Second, I took it to a fairly rough oil stone to get the big bench grinder marks out. I think my oil stone is about 400 or 500 grit. A few minutes on the stone helped get things looking good for step 3.

Step 3 takes us to the first water stone. I purchased a two-sided King waterstone off of Amazon. The rough side is 1000 grit, the smoother side is 4000. I soaked the stone then started pushing and pulling the blade to get all the scratched out of the bevel. I also flipped the iron on its back to flatten it. This step took a little bit longer until I was happy with the scratches removed.

Step 4 is the 4000 grit side. You have to be careful because it’s easy to nick and gouge the surface with the blade/iron. I only pulled the blade towards me until the bevel was almost mirror like.

The final step is stropping. I glued a piece of leather, fuzzy side up on to a 3/4 inch piece of plywood and applied green buffing compound. 30 strokes on this brought the bevel to a mirror finish and the edge very sharp. I tested the edge by holding up a thermal receipt from the store and tried cutting it. Very easy and very clean cuts.

It’s ready for the wood now!