Wood planes can be a pleasure to use. They are small hand-held tools that shave tiny, consistent ribbons of wood from a woodworking project at a controlled rate. Wood planes have a small razor-sharp knife that protrudes from the bottom at a precise angle. They are operated by sliding the plane to slice a thin, controlled amount of wood from the edge of a piece of wood. If it is clean and sharp, it can accomplish what no other tool can do. To sharpen and clean a wood plane, you must first remove the blade.
Pick up the plane. Locate a large serrated knob on the top of the plane in the center facing up. Turn the knob counterclockwise until it comes loose and remove it.
Grasp the small metal plate with your fingers. It has a hole in it where the knob passed through. Lift it out to expose the shiny blade.
Grasp the blade carefully with your fingers and lift it out. Set the body of the plane aside and pick up the sharpening stone. Hold the stone in one hand. Turn the blade upside down and place the angled side of the blade against the stone. Match the angle of the blade to the stone so that the beveled angle is flat against the stone.
Slide the blade back and forth gently over the stone while maintaining the angle of the blade to the stone. Continue sliding the knife back and forth until you produce a fine powder on the stone. Check the sharpness of the stone by trying to cut the edge of a piece of paper with it. If it easily slices into paper, it is sharp. If not, continue sharpening.
Blow the dust out of the body of the plane with an air nozzle attached to an air hose. Use a screwdriver to scrape off any built-up pitch residue from the body of the plane. Use 180-grit sandpaper to sand off any rust or discoloring. You can also use a handheld rotary tool fitted with a sanding drum accessory with 120-grit sandpaper to remove rust, dirt or residue. Choose an accessory that fits into the small spaces to remove inaccessible debris, such as a detail abrasive brush.
Place the blade back into the body of the plane just as it was when you removed it. Replace the small plate and knob.
Tips & Warnings
- Depending on what type of plane you have, the blade removal knob may be on the back instead of the front. They work the same way.
- Some woodworkers like to add a few drops of light oil to the stone when sharpening to get it sharper, but it's not necessary. Just keep the blade sharp by sharpening it every few hours of working time.
- Be extremely careful of plane blades. They are capable of slicing skin. Keep fingers and body parts out of the way at all times.
Things You'll Need:
- Sharpening whetstone
- Air hose with nozzle
- 180-grit sandpaper
- Handheld rotary tool
- Sanding drum with 120-grit bands
- Detail abrasive brush accessory
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