Post Class Sharpening

Inevitably each year after Gulf Wars and teaching for a solid week, I have extra sharpening to do. This is a combination of students using my tools, less than great storage and packing for the event. Add to that, many of my edged tools get over used right before I leave and they end up a bit dull. This isn’t all bad as it gives a good opportunity for students to learn about sharpening, but it is hard on the tools.

Stanley # 5-1/2 disassembled for sharpening
Stanley # 5-1/2 disassembled for sharpening

Some of the issue is good, but the damaged edges on the tools from transport is unacceptable. Which means short term I sharpen, and a lot of it. Longer term it means I really need to come up with a proper toolbox to keep the tools safe and make them easier to access.

Stanley #3 Smoother and Stanley #7 Jointer
Stanley #3 Smoother and Stanley #7 Jointer

I went through the planes I brought with and that I used prior to leaving to make sure they were sharp. Both the Stanley #3 and #7 were in good shape, only a quick honing and they are back in working order. The #4 was pretty good, although I had to go up a level to pull out a small nick, it went pretty quick.

Stanley #4 Smoother
Stanley #4 Smoother
Stanley #5 Jack and Stanley #5-1/2 Jumbo Jack
Stanley #5 Jack and Stanley #5-1/2 Jumbo Jack

The #5 and #5-1/2 looked like they had run into a box of nails. This was mostly my fault, I know I was abusive to them when working on the plane floats. Not only did they go through brass, I know I hit the edge of the float irons more than once. Each time I run into the float iron, I cringed and knew I would pay for it when it came time to sharpening them. I had to go all the way back to the coarse stone and do some serious steel removal. Even with this large of a nick, it took less than 5 minutes on the coarse stone.

#5-1/2 iron with some serious nicks
#5-1/2 iron with some serious nicks

Even with this large nick, it took less than 5 minutes on the coarse stone. I put the camber back in and progressed through the rest of the stones.

#5-1/2 iron after sharpening
#5-1/2 iron after sharpening

Almost all of the sharpening was done on the diamond stones, yep another job well done with them. They cut much quicker than I expected, they stay flat and are easy to transport. Even the “grinding” step on the coarse stone was fairly quick. The extra-extra fine does a nice job, but I like the polished finish I get from the 10,000 grit water stone. Both irons went through the full range of stones and very quickly.

My sharpening setup, diamond stones on the left, and 10,000 grit water stone on the right
My sharpening setup, diamond stones on the left, and 10,000 grit water stone on the right

Just for the fun of it, I took most of the freshly sharpened tools to a piece of quarter sawn beech and a piece of curly maple. All I have to say is “oh yah, they are sharp once again”. Hopefully I will be kinder to these great tools for the rest of the year and only have to hone them on occasion.

My stack of DMT Dia Sharp diamond stone
My stack of DMT Dia Sharp diamond stones

Eventually I will get around to checking the chisels and gouges to see how bad off they are. The new tool chest certainly gets bumped up on the list of projects for next year.

Stanley #5-1/2 freshly sharpened, shavings from curly maple
Stanley #5-1/2 freshly sharpened, shavings from curly maple

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