Need help on sharpening skewed plane blade

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    I bought a pair of vintage side rabbit planes, and the blades need some serious attention. Im finding it difficult to maintain the correct skew angle and bevel at the same time. Anyone have some tips on how to sharpen this type of blade?


    Hi Mike

    I also have some skew-bladed tools.  I sharpen them in the same way that I sharpen on the three stones, ie freehand – or, if you feel you want to use a guide, the Richard Kell guide (Mk III, I think) is able to fit skew blades in it.   Here’s a link for the type I have:

    I have also used my Tormek waterstone freehand, too.

    Good luck




    From Warrington, UK. Making stuff in my front room.

    Ron Harper

    This is from Larry Williams at Old Street Tools



    Once again sharpening jigs and gimmicks make things harder than they should be.

    You don’t need to know any precise angles. Paul and Wiley have that right. You’ve got more angles involved than are obvious, it’s a good bet your plane also has a leaning wedge so the iron isn’t set parallel to the side of the plane. Again, this little complication shouldn’t have any effect on what you need to do.

    Place the iron in the plane in the position you’ll be using it. It be set for depth to the point that all of the edge is exposed when sighting over the sole, but just barely so. The iron should also be revealed by a hair on the escapement side of the plane.

    Now scribe the location of your new cutting edge off the sole of the plane. The first grinding/roughing step is to grind/rough at 90� to the face of the iron right to the scribed line that establishes the cutting edge. This leaves a flat which I find helpful to mark with layout fluid or a felt tip pen, I prefer a red color because red is easy for me to see when I grind the bevel to a point that flat is just a faint hair line. Then hone the remainder away. These steps work for straight, angled, curved or any other cutting edges.

    Sometimes I think sharpening jigs and gimmicks are designed to keep those afraid of and uncomfortable with sharpening from ever being able to sharpen. At the very least these gadgets slow down and complicate sharpening.

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