sharp/dull blade drawing Details small map
Finest abrasives.
Microbevels front and back.
Use a jig.
Copyright (c) 2002-15, Brent Beach

You can sharpen plane irons without knowing all this stuff. But, since you asked ...

The Wire-edge
Because a metal blade is rigid, rubbing the blade against a flat surface produces a flat bevel except right at the edge. There the metal is too thin to resist the force of the abrasive - it bends upward away from the abrasive sheet. This very fine sheet of metal is called the wire edge.
Back bevels
A description of back bevels and how they improve the quality of the edge.
Blade Wear
This is a reexamination of back bevels that tries to determine the exact shape of the worn blade. Because my jig allows me to calculate the exact angles of the microbevels, the remaining problem is to determine the shape/curvature of the wear bevels on the upper and lower faces of the plane iron. Under construction.
Bevel-Up Planes
Planes with bevel-up irons present special sharpening problems.

Water/oil-stone users
A stone vice for water and oil stone users that lets them use my jig.

Grits and Edge Durability
How the grit of the last abrasive affects edge durability.

Jig Designs
I have gone through a number of variations on the simple design premise: two pieces of wood of specific thickness clamped to the tool. This page shows pictures of some of them. It also contains pictures and descriptions of a few commercial jigs, as well as jigs people have made based on the ideas in these pages.
Sharpening
Return to the main sharpening page.

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Try looking around the site map. You can also reach the site map from the little map at the top of each page.