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How to Sharpen Woodworking Blade When Tuning Up Hand Plane

Learn how to sharpen the blade when you tune up a hand plane from Makeville Studio in this Howcast woodworking video.

Transcript

Another important thing, of course, with the plane is having a sharp
blade. So, sharpening these blades can be done in a variety of different
ways. Some people use sandpaper, like I was using for flattening the
sole, working their way up through the different grits until you get
into the thousands. Oil stones. Water stones. All, of course, classic
methods. Some people also use grinders to get the edge on there to
begin with. So, lots of different methods and which one is right for
you, it depends on how much you want to invest in equipment and your
time and energy and money, how to do the skills. But, you do need to
sharpen when you buy these planes or, if you've gotten one from a flea
market. They're definitely not going to be sharp enough to use in a
shop. They'll feel sharp, but they're not going to be sharp enough for
really good woodworking. These other planes, smoothers, jointers,
you're going to want to do a couple extra steps. The first step is,
take the cover off. You're gonna wanna look at the chip breaker on
top here. And you can take this apart. Separate the chip breaker from
the blade by undoing this screw down at the bottom here. Just unscrew
it and then you can get into the two parts. So, the blade will be sharpened,
of course. Set that aside. The chip breaker has a very important
function of breaking out the chips in front of the blade, and also
keeping the blade really rigid. Now, it can't do its job properly if it
doesn't have a very flat front edge and so, just as we flatten the sole of
the plane, you're going to want to flatten this front edge of the chip
breaker. You can use the same method. Sandpaper, on a flat surface.
Pretty easy. It doesn't take very long. Just keep it level. A couple
minutes of sanding and you're done. Make sure to check your work
though. You want to put it up here. Look at it very closely and make
sure you don't see any gap. What will happen is, if there's a gap in
there, it will just collect chips as you're planing and jam up. It will
jam up your work. So, after you've got that set and your blade is sharp,
then you want to place this on back together. And now, the proper placement
of this is not way back here. You need to have this up close to the
front of the blade. Usually, you want it to be between a 16th and a
32nd of an inch behind the front edge of the blade. So, you don't need to
measure. You can just sort of eyeball this, but get it very close. Let me
get the screw back in there. So, that's setting up the chip breaker. If the
blade's sharp and the chip breaker flattened and in place, you can
put this all back together. On an older plane, there is one more other
step that you might need to do, which is taking apart the frog. The frog
is the base here, which has all the controls attached to it. You can
unscrew the frog from the base of the plane with these two screws here.
Over time, what happens is you get dust and chips and things might come
out of square, and so on a new plane, this isn't much of an issue, but on an
older plane, you may want to take this apart and just check and make
sure that there's not things jammed under there or that the frog's out
of square with the plane. Chip breaker and blade back in, cap back on, and lock it in place and you're ready to go.

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