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Hello everyone,

I am in the process of restoring my grandfather's Stanley Bailey No 3 plane.  I am very new to the hand tool scene; Do all No 3 planes have the same bevel angle?  What angle should I be putting on the iron?  I have a Veritas Mk. II honing guide that I used on a few chisels and was very happy with the result.  Would you put a micro bevel on this iron?

Thank you, in advance, for your assistance.

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Hi Stephen,  I am not sure if there is a standard angle grind on the blades as it is changed between the type of wood that will be planed.  On my planes I have a grind between 25 and 30 degrees and then a slight second degree on the very tip of the blade.  This is in my standard block plane for hardwood.  Then on my low angle plane I will use no 2nd bevel at all as I like the wood breaking at the beginning of the cut and I keep the frog pretty tight from being closed.  Like I say this all changes depending on the angle of the blade setting in the plane body.

Sharpening of block plane irons is a scientific venture and everyone is different with opinions.  I can just tell your that this is what I aim for when sharpening my blades. I only use them on finish work where I do not was the roughness of even the 220 grit sand papers.

 Now in a plane that I would use for heavy cutting then the angle will approach about a 40 degrees.  I seldom use these but that angel works for me.

If you are restoring one of which I would not be using but for show then I would do some research on the plane and find an answer from that.  All planes that I have I alter them by grinding the sole and smoothing up the throat and polishing and regrinding the angles.

Sounds like a good learning experience to me. 

Thank you, Jay.  Since I have never used a hand plane before, I will start with the 25 degree bevel, and most resources recommend that secondary bevel.  Then, after some time working with it, I think I might have a better feel for my needs.  I appreciate the reply.  Thanks very much.

Jay Boutwell said:

Hi Stephen,  I am not sure if there is a standard angle grind on the blades as it is changed between the type of wood that will be planed.  On my planes I have a grind between 25 and 30 degrees and then a slight second degree on the very tip of the blade.  This is in my standard block plane for hardwood.  Then on my low angle plane I will use no 2nd bevel at all as I like the wood breaking at the beginning of the cut and I keep the frog pretty tight from being closed.  Like I say this all changes depending on the angle of the blade setting in the plane body.

Sharpening of block plane irons is a scientific venture and everyone is different with opinions.  I can just tell your that this is what I aim for when sharpening my blades. I only use them on finish work where I do not was the roughness of even the 220 grit sand papers.

 Now in a plane that I would use for heavy cutting then the angle will approach about a 40 degrees.  I seldom use these but that angel works for me.

If you are restoring one of which I would not be using but for show then I would do some research on the plane and find an answer from that.  All planes that I have I alter them by grinding the sole and smoothing up the throat and polishing and regrinding the angles.

Sounds like a good learning experience to me. 

I usually put a 25 degree sharpened angle on my plate irons, of my hand planes, 

whether new or reconditioned.

(To keep it simple, a 25 degree angle is desirable for most hand planing operations).

A honing guide is a very useful tool.  

More accurate than eyeballing.

When it's desirable, I add a 30 degree micro bevel, on some plane irons.

The micro bevel sharpened edge is only about 1/32"---only the tip of the plate iron.

If after honing/resharpening a plane iron a few times with a micro bevel, the plate will have to reground/sharpened to to 25 degrees and then the 30 degree bevel added. 

I also put a 25 degree angle on my "low-angle" block planes, which I use for planing end grain.

It can also be used for making a smooth rabbet, after rough cutting or sawing.

 

Larger 40-45 degree angles, are desirable for wood chisels, for chopping/rough cutting, and for mortise chisels, when pounding with a mallet.

The larger angle is more durable than a shallow angle, for chisels.

For paring chisels, I use a lower angle of 15-20 degrees.

I use paring chisels for making thin shaved cuts, dressing a rabbet, dado and smoothing dovetail joints.

Ken,

Thank you for the information; thorough as always.  Quick follow-up question: You mentioned the 30 degree micro bevel "when desired." So when would one want that micro bevel?  When would having one be undesirable?  

Thank you!

Ken Darga said:

I usually put a 25 degree sharpened angle on my plate irons, of my hand planes, 

whether new or reconditioned.

(To keep it simple, a 25 degree angle is desirable for most hand planing operations).

A honing guide is a very useful tool.  

More accurate than eyeballing.

When it's desirable, I add a 30 degree micro bevel, on some plane irons.

The micro bevel sharpened edge is only about 1/32"---only the tip of the plate iron.

If after honing/resharpening a plane iron a few times with a micro bevel, the plate will have to reground/sharpened to to 25 degrees and then the 30 degree bevel added. 

I also put a 25 degree angle on my "low-angle" block planes, which I use for planing end grain.

It can also be used for making a smooth rabbet, after rough cutting or sawing.

 

Larger 40-45 degree angles, are desirable for wood chisels, for chopping/rough cutting, and for mortise chisels, when pounding with a mallet.

The larger angle is more durable than a shallow angle, for chisels.

For paring chisels, I use a lower angle of 15-20 degrees.

I use paring chisels for making thin shaved cuts, dressing a rabbet, dado and smoothing dovetail joints.

Stephen,

The primary bevel of 25 degrees and the secondary (micro) bevel at 30 degrees.

(I prefer to refer to it as a "secondary" bevel.  Some may use the term "micro" bevel.

"Micro" means small).


The secondary bevel is/should be on the face side of the sharpened plate.

I checked one of my hand planes and the secondary bevel is about (.008 - .010") vs 1/32", as previously noted.

A secondary bevel edge can be achieved with only a few strokes, on a sharpening steel.
When done correctly, the secondary bevel is barely visible.

NOTE: Only as small portion of the cutting edge is given a secondary bevel, and ONLY on the sharpened edge---NOT on the back side of the plate.
The entire face of the secondary bevel MUST BE flat.

I generally use a xtra-fine (1200-1500 grit) diamond steel for this operation.

This plate is primarily used for heavy stock removal and rapid removal of material.
The cutting edge of the secondary bevel will stay sharper longer.

On my low angle planes, I use a 25 degree edge---it does not contain a secondary bevel.
I use this plane for shaving edge grain and plywood.
This plane is adjusted so as to produce a glass like finish, with shavings of .001 - .002" thick.

NOTE: Some hand planes have the plate with the bevel on the top-side and some planes have the bevel on the under-side.
Check the planes you are using.

A secondary bevel, of 5 degrees from the primary bevel, is nice to have on some chisels, when a mallet is used to assist in faster removal of stock---such as in chopping, cleaning out a dado, rabbet and mortises.

BTW---a secondary bevel is advantageous on hollow-ground chisels---(chisels that have been sharpened on a wheel).

PS---secondary bevels are common on some high-quality knives, that feature a double bevel edge. The secondary beveled edge stays sharper longer.


Stephen said:

Ken,

Thank you for the information; thorough as always.  Quick follow-up question: You mentioned the 30 degree micro bevel "when desired." So when would one want that micro bevel?  When would having one be undesirable?  

Thank you!

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