Sharpening update

It’s been a while since I posted and even longer since I’ve done anything other than buy tools, but I’ve recently begun chipping away at the excuses for my inactivity

I have one of the best sharpening tools available – the Tormek T7 – so I’m out of excuses here!

I’ve been slowly getting to know the machine, sharpening pen knives freehand and lawnmower blades, but recently I’ve moved on to my plane “collection”.

Most of the blades have seemingly been hand ground as scrub planes, are asymmetrical and have 3 or more different bevels, so I started on the roughest of the lot, the No. 5 1/2 (which was also fairly pitted with rust) on the basis that I couldn’t make matters much worse.

It turned out ok (I forgot to photograph my progress though) and I’ve moved onto the Acorn No. 4:

Acorn No. 4 blade before sharpening

Acorn No. 4 blade before sharpening

Covering the blade in permanent marker makes it easy to see where the high spots were, as they’ll go shiny first

Acorn blade with permanent marker

Acorn blade with permanent marker

As there are so many bevels I’m just using the SE-76 jig to put a square 25 degree bevel on each blade and I will worry about rounding off some for use as scrub planes at a later date.

Tormek SE-76 jig

Tormek SE-76 jig

As with all the Tormek kit I’ve seen, it’s well designed with some nice touches – the two stops (used to prevent the edge of the blade falling off either side of the wheel) attach to the jig when not in use to prevent their loss.

Tormek SE-76 stop

Tormek SE-76 stop

Tormek SE-76 endstop

Tormek SE-76 endstop

The side of the blade locates against a flat step in the jig and it is this which ensures the square grind.

Acorn blade during sharpening

Acorn blade during sharpening

The backs of plane and chisel blades can be ground flat against the side of the wheel

Back of Acorn blade during grinding

Back of Acorn blade during grinding

Back of Acorn blade after grinding

Back of Acorn blade after grinding

To avoid grinding too much of the blade away I’ve stopped short of making a perfect job of it:

Sharpened blade from Acorn No. 4

Acorn No. 4 blade after sharpening

The results are certainly a lot smoother than before:

Shavings from sharpened Acorn No. 4

Shavings from sharpened Acorn No. 4

Buoyed by my success I’ve now sharpened almost all my No. 4 and larger planes.

I’ll get round to doing the block planes once I’ve thought a bit more about what bevel to put on each.

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