Hand Tools Archive

One last plane method for bill

David Weaver
Bill would say "it's not for bill!".

I tried honing a small microbevel on the bevel side and then buffing the flat face of the iron. It feels like a 55 degree plane. I don't like that. Bill will probably not care. The plane works fine like that, though.

So I wanted to try one more thing that came to mind yesterday and that was to hone both sides of the bevel but not remove the wire edge, and then buff both sides closer to their angles (Which would be repeatable and not threaten the geometry of a blade) to finish the edge.

So, shallow primary, still
* secondary angle with 1k diamond (10 seconds)
* work back of the iron to weaken the considerable wire edge and remove some wear (bill may not approve - it's not necessary for maintaining an iron, but removing the wire edge without lots of buffing like we do on chisels - if the wire edge is coarse, the edge shows it when it's taken off - this back step is better for lanes) - 10 seconds
* then buff front and back of the iron close to their actual angles (buffer will still round the edge very slightly)
* finish with one very light pass across the bevel at a steeper angle to the wheel.

What's the point? to get some bevel strength, but avoid the lack of clearance that limits edge life with buffing just the bevel side.

This is for my benefit and has gotten some away from for bills' benefit, because I didn't like the planing resistance.

I'm trying to stick with a 1 minute method that is indefinitely repeatable, but is at least as good or better than using only stones. I think this will be it.

The unicorn on the plane blade bevel side is not lost, though, as I suddenly have a way to plane rosewood indefinitely, too, without losing much in feel vs. steepening the bevel instead.

I have to mention Mike Dunbar now. Not long after I did this, I got an email from someone mentioning that mike dunbar had already done the unicorny thing. But I got the full text relayed to me, and what mike was doing is more like what I'm doing here - using the buffer as strop and some edge refinement, but mike warned against any edge rounding due to the loss of sharpness. So, he was promoting a horse with no horns. What I'm doing with the plane is almost what I subsequently found mike dunbar said in his book, but I just want a tiny bit of unicorn on the underside of the bevel, even doing this, to maintain surface quality.

I will test durability at lunch today. I think this nearly dunbarish (and probably a thousand other people) way of finishing an edge to a finer level but not doing much to alter geometry is a great added one two punch for planes. I think it will also match a stoned edge in duration, but because it's just refinement and not geometric change, it will likely not stand up to the rosewood or rough planing without chipping.

I may go full unicorn for smooth planing from now on and use the method mentioned above on the try plane in agreeable wood. I'm OK with the loss of about 20% of edge life for the fact that the full uni protects the edge so well even in nastiness - the planed surface is nice, and the heavily buffed edge *seems* to burnish it even further. It still only takes a minute to refresh.

It's a little personal contest to get the buffer to finish what I was doing in stones on a "clean wood" edge, though, and get the duration to be as long or longer than it was in the stones, and at the same time, do it in a way that the stones completely remove any geometric change at each sharpening so that nothing gets out of control.

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