Sharpening Step by Step

Hand tools must be sharp to work. This guide is an attempt to get you over the sharpening hump by describing my process to sharpen a plane blade in as much detail as possible.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions or improvements.

I learned this process from Brent Beach and then added a few tweaks of my own. As an overview, I grind the primary bevel to 25°. I start the secondary bevels at 29°. The abrasive is 3M micro-abrasives glued to glass. My honing jig is homemade.

Let’s get started by assembling the supplies I use.

Scary Sharp Supplies

To start sharpening planes and chisels, we need to collect a few supplies. For my system, all of these parts are required except the permanent markers.

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Choosing Your First Iron to Sharpen

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Grind the Edge Square

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Define the Primary Bevel

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Correct Grinding Errors

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15 Micron Abrasive

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5 Micron Abrasive

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0.5 Micron Abrasive

3M microabrasive

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Testing the Edge

I test an edge by trying to cut copier paper.

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How to Resharpen

I resharpen when I notice any of these:

  • Small nicks in the edge
  • Tear out
  • I’m tired.

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