Exercising My Hand Planes

I had a little bit of time in my own shop this weekend so I thought I would exercise some of my hand planes. Many of them I haven’t had off the wall in a few months and thought I would check their state of sharpness and make a few passes on some scrap. I think they were just feeling lonely. Alright, I admit it, I just haven’t used them lately and felt the need but didn’t have a project that needed them.

Stanley Plane Collection
Stanley Plane Selection

Mind you it was only a small piece of scrap oak, but it was viciously attacked by at least four of my planes. First the #4, it took a fair number of little fine shavings off. The #4-1/2 stepped in next and took even finer shaving, but looked a little tired so I ran it over the diamond stones a bit. After that short honing session it cut wonderfully. I tried the #5-1/2, it took nice sized shavings.

I reached for the #5-1/4 and looked at the iron and cringed. You need to visit with the extra coarse diamond stone before you are let out to visit the piece of oak. A few passes on the extra coarse, then the coarse, onto the fine, and extra fine. Then released to the oak, wow, your such a mean fighting machine!

The #5 was set nice and rank, so it hogged off quite a bit of material as expected. I grabbed the #6 with the radius iron, hmm I think you are a bit tired to fight today, you should rest and take it easy. I then reached for the other #6 with the straight iron which is intended to be used as a shooter. A quick hone and its gone after the oak. Whisper thin shavings abound!

Stanley #7
Stanley #7

I reach for the #7, oh your looking sharp! A couple of quick passes and there isn’t much left of the oak. I quick blow the dust and shavings out of each of the planes and put them back on the wall. While not all of them are quite where I want them yet, they are mostly in great shape and fun to let loose once in a while.

I have a bit more cleaning to do on the #8, there is a bit of paint in it. One of the #6s needs to be sharpened with the radius, and a couple of the #5ish ones need to be more purposely honed. The #3 needs to be reassembled and put back into use. The #4 is functional, but I think I would like to hyper tune that one and make it near perfect unless the #3 shines more than I expect. Also a few of the soles need to be flattened a bit, not all of them have gone through that process. A couple also need to have a little time in the citric acid to remove rust from the previous users neglect.

I have a hand full of rear totes to repair. A couple of splits through the middle of the tote, and several horns to replace. None of this is likely to happen soon, though I wish I had the time to do it. Luckily most of the front knobs are in good shape, but I do need to look them over and double check.

I’d like to add that using the diamond stones for sharpening was quick, less messy and pretty painless. I am liking them more an more.

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