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How sharp is your plane? - Tynyyn - 07-16-2017


I wish I could get my planes as sharp as this.  I wonder if they hone to 10000 or if they say 1000 is good enough?

I tip my hat to all of those wood workers because they are young and seem to have elder abilities that only come through decades of experience.

RE: How sharp is your plane? - hbmcc - 07-16-2017

Lost Art Press Blog has run (or, is) a series on sharpening. Check it out. 


You can get the rest--3 parts--by going to the "View all posts" link. 

There are more 'authoritative' explanations for sharpening than there are tools. Just be aware that the media you have is likely good enough. I probably have a hundred pounds of stones boxed up in various places. The only difference in them is that my experience in using one influenced my direction to the next. I use loose diamonds (paste) on steel plates now. 

Regarding the Asian pull plane artists, they are fun to watch. Which I think is part of the demonstration. Fact is they probably complete the full operation of one plane in the time we see a single swipe.

RE: How sharp is your plane? - Admiral - 07-16-2017

I love sharpening threads.  You can distract yourself endlessly seeking the ultimate sharpness but really, how sharp is sharp?  For "normal" work I've found that "regular" oilstones are quick and easy, and get you sharp enough to do what you want to do.  If you work in highly figured wood, which I don't, then you have to pay attention a lot more to sharpening, but IMHO much too much is made of ultimate sharpening media.  Get it sharp enough, work, and hone when needed.  But then again, I may be a fool!!!

RE: How sharp is your plane? - Arch_E - 07-16-2017

Admiral, sir,

You are NO fool!!!

RE: How sharp is your plane? - AHill - 07-16-2017

They hone to at least 10,000 grit - more than likely 13,000 or better to accomplish those feats.  With blades that wide, the sharpening media is unbelievably expensive, because you need a surface as wide as the blade - and VERY flat.  There are Japanese waterstones rated up to 30,000 grit.  I'm betting for these competitions, it doesn't take too many swipes with an ultra sharp blade before the blade can't do that anymore.

RE: How sharp is your plane? - bandit571 - 07-16-2017

Mine get honed to 2500 grit, then stropped...
As Mister Balin would say..." Sharp enough for the two of us"  ( The Hobbit)

RE: How sharp is your plane? - Bentley - 07-16-2017

The guy in the suit seems unimpressed.

RE: How sharp is your plane? - Steve N - 07-23-2017

The actual sharpening of the "Kanna" Japanese handplane really isn't much more involved than with a western plane. I had purchased a very nice Kanna from Harrleson Stanley several years back in Berea at the first WIA. Harrelson was using a guy by the name of James Blauvelt, a Connecticut cabinetmaker, joiner and carpenter who runs the company Bluefield Joiners. James took maybe 7 minutes with a stone making my blade sharp, then he spent about 90 minutes tapping, and adjusting to get the absolute perfect geometry of blade to sole. It was when he was done there that we were able to take shavings just like that, but we were using hard Maple. What you saw in the video of the first guy with that perfect ribbon was Port Orford Cedar, which can make any guy with a so so hand plane look like a super pro Big Grin

RE: How sharp is your plane? - rwe2156 - 07-24-2017

You can get your plane irons that sharp. It is not magic it just takes some practice. You also need to pay some attention to the quality of your tools. Don't expect much from a cheap tool with poor quality steel in the blade.

Sharpening is a very opinionated subject you do what works for you. To some extent it depends on what you're doing, for example planing hard or curly or wild grain wood this requires an extremely sharp iron and touched up more frequently. Regardless, I sharpen my tools to the same degree not matter what the task, but realize I need to touch up more frequently. THIS is the biggest think to remember. Don't wait till your tool gets dull!!

I hone to 8000 then 5 or 6 -light- strokes on the strop. IME that is quicker and better then 30-40 vigorous strokes on a strop like Mr. Sellers advocates.

Keep in mind stropping can actually dull a blade if not done right. This is due to the dubbing effect. Keep in mind there is a subtle difference between honing and polishing.

RE: How sharp is your plane? - GeorgeV - 08-01-2017

I invested in a set of Japanese Sigma water stones 


years ago and never looked back.
The results are absolutely amazing.