Plow Plane Iron Sharpening

Plow plane iron with pitting.
Plow plane iron with pitting.

Next up on the diamond sharpening experiments is to get my plow plane irons in reasonable shape. I thought it would be interesting to see how well these stones cut on larger steel, and some that has fairly deep pitting.

These irons were purchased on Ebay a few weeks ago and I have longer term plans to make a plow plane to fit them. Most of the irons are in pretty reasonable shape, they just need flattening and then to be sharpened. Previously I would have started on coarse sand paper for the really bad ones. Then moved through the grits on my water stones. This time around I am working with the diamond stones.

Tang end of plow irons.
Tang end of plow irons.

I started with the extra coarse, this made quick work on the pitting and the ones that needed reshaping. It also worked great to get the backs flat.  I then progressed through the coarse, fine, extra fine, and extra extra fine. Some I spent a little extra time on in comparison to others. But no single one was longer than what I would have spent on water stones. Never mind the extra mess or flattening that would have been done. I used a bit of water and occasionally some Simple Green on them, but considerably less mess during the process, and cleanup after was way easier too. A quick spray with a water bottle and they were clean again. I even used less water. I’m quite impressed, although I am sure most will grumble about the price, I am not one of them.

Cutting edge of plow irons.
Cutting edge of plow irons.

I have taken these through approximately 8000 grit, which is likely more than enough. But in the sense of putting the final touches on, I will likely touch them up on my 10,000 grit water stone for a few passes, and either buff them on the wheel or strop them. In all cases I just followed the existing bevel, there is quite a bit of difference in some of them.

Sharpened plow irons.
Sharpened plow irons.

If you haven’t picked a sharpening method yet, seriously consider diamond stones.

Sharpened plow plane irons on diamond stones.
Sharpened plow plane irons on diamond stones.

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