[GUIDE] How to Sharpen a Bench Plane | #1 Bench Plane Guide

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Overall there are 6 Steps to learn how to Sharpen the Bench Plane, and they are:

  • The Setup
  • Flatten Your Glass Stone
  • Flatten the Back of the Planing Iron
  • Sharpen Bevel in Honing Jig
  • Use Ruler Trick & Create a Micro Bevel
  • Strop your Iron with Leather Strop

For years, I was one of those individuals who want razor-sharp woodworking equipment, which made it seem as though woodworking was a task meant to relax and de-stress. To my disappointment, I had a hard time finding a good method for honing my hand plane. I discovered this was a long-term investment, which is why I did not purchase costly jigs and stones.

When it came to hand plane sharpening and chisel sharpening, it took many years before I discovered I had gotten a “bug” and spent a few hundred dollars on sharpening equipment.

The Setup

Using melamine-faced MDF to find your sharpening stone makes a good idea. It’s very simple to clean, and the MDF doesn’t distort. Don’t worry about it—scraps can do in a pinch.

The key is to match the thickness of your stone with two cut pieces of hardwood of the same thickness. Doing this perfectly is essential, especially if you aren’t able to do it yourself. In such case, use scrap or something equivalent to find the stone and keep it in place. With these blocks, it is assumed that you will stay on the stone rather than fall off. The larger of the two remaining pieces is close enough for the honing guide to utilize more of the stone.

Attaching a batten to the bottom of the sharpening station allows you to attach it to the bench.

If you know the distance of the chisel from the blade’s edge, you will be able to calculate the exact angle that you need to produce in order to sharpen. the two white blocks in the upper left of the image are each configured to create a 30-degree bevel. Setting is quicker with these blocks.

Flatten Your Glass (or water) Stone

It is essential to have a completely flat stone at this stage. If you’re going to use stones, this is for you because diamond stones do not wear out.

They are excellent for producing absolutely flat working surfaces. You use a lubricant to keep the cutting surface of the diamond stone operating at peak performance during this phase.

To prevent my planes and diamond stones from rusting, I use HoneRite water additive. Feel free to use water only. Getting your glass stones and/or water stones ready for usage takes just a few of seconds.

Flatten the Back of the Planing Iron

Next, you will use your diamond stone to begin the flattening process.

For fresh new irons, I utilize the finer side of the stone.

the edges of the plane will start to show wear (typically new planes are relatively flat).

An easily-worn stone should be replaced, since using grit or sandpaper on a level surface and progressing to this stone will lead to an uneven surface.

I would suggest avoiding any finer details up to this point (over 220 grit).

Sharpen Bevel in Honing Jig

When sharpening and maintaining their planing irons, woodworkers must create a proper bevel angle.

My planes and chisels do not hold their edge well, so I use the Veritas Deluxe Honing Jig for them.

In addition to being able to set the bevel angle, the jig also has a micro bevel and a low, medium, and high angle plane adjustment.

I start by setting up my front bevel on the jig, and then I use the iron on the diamond and glass stone while applying lubrication.

Once I’ve set up a foothold on the end of the plane, I go on to the next stage.

Use Ruler Trick & Create Micro Bevel

The technique that I acquired from Rob Cosman, a top hand tool woodworker on the internet, is called the “ruler trick.”

The bottom of the planer will become a fine “micro bevel.” This represents the start of the iron’s cutting face and its leading edge.

This, then, shortens the amount of time and work it takes to sharpen the blade.

Use the iron to place the ruler on the far side of the stone. A little of experimentation results in a sharper angle on the iron’s edge. This is all you’ll need to keep your blades razor sharp in the future (unless you damage the iron).

Strap Your Iron With Leather Strap

With a leather strop and stropping compound, I complete my iron. Sharpening the mirror-finished blade to its razor-sharp point maintains the blade’s razor-sharpness. Conceptually, this is a replication of the bur that’s been formed in the sharpening process, this time pointed in the same direction.

You will be able to produce paper-thin shavings in no time using this method. To keep your bench plane well-maintained, all you need to do is remove the iron and then do the procedure once again.


This ends our How To Sharpen a Bench Plane Guide.

With that, please always remember that you need a good set. And by ‘good’, a properly organized set of hand tools, including hand planes, will see you through the best projects. Nothing is impossible with dedication, practice, and patience, and better yet – choosing the right hand plane.

We want you to be sure of what you plan to get, please don’t hesitate to ask for advice. 

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