Plane Iron edge

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  • #138192
    M W

    When I am trying to plane spruce, the pin knots turn the edge of my iron. I have 3 different planes this has happened to, 2 older Stanley’s and a Buck Bros.

    The edge looks like I ran the iron into a bolt. Any ideas? Should I go to a steeper iron angle on the edge? I have about a 30 degree now.


    Are the edges of the knots that hard?

    Perhaps a more expensive and compatible harder steel blade may be one answer, but it may be an expensive experiment if it doesn’t work. If you do consider that option, measure the thickness to ensure that it will fit into a Stanley plane that was designed for thinner, stamped steel blades. Sometimes thicker blades, together with the backing iron exceeds the width of the mouth.

    Another alternative would be to revert to a scraper. I’m thinking of the Stanley/Record No80 type that is capable of removing an agressive shaving while leaving an acceptable surface in terms of smoothness.

    Either way, expect regular and frequent sharpening episodes….

    Good luck


    Are you sure you’re getting the burr off when sharpening? It is possible to sharpen a heavy bur onto the blade that appears to be a true edge, but isn’t. Under stress, it folds. To test, sharpen, then hold the blade crosswise to the grain on the face of a hard wood like oak and strike the top of the iron or chisel with a mallet (use a block if needed). Give a few good blows, then feel the edge you just sharpened to see if you now feel a bur. If so, you’re not getting the bur off.


    Yes, knots can be really hard on your edge tools….

    If you want a nice finish a cabinet or card scraper is the only option. Usually the surrounding grain runs so weird, it makes planing very difficult.

    If you have difficulty planing with a regular bench plane, you probably have too much set (taking a too heavy shaving).

    That’s what I’ve learned from experience.
    In hard woods, the difference between normal grain and knotty areas is less.



    Like alien8 said, you may just be taking to much bit. Pine/Spruce knots are brutal. Even Paul Seller comments about this in his Bench building blog when has one show up in the middle of housing dado.

    Is the whole bevel of the cutter at 30? Part of the reason you do the camber or micro bevel is to strengthen the edge. Try the 25 degree main bevel and then a 30 degree micro bevel. That will help with a stronger edge.

    Tuscloosa, Alabama
    Lung T'an Hu Huesh Kung-fu Woodshop

    M W


    I finish with about 30 strokes on a strop, so the burr should be gone.

    ehisey and Alien8,

    I have just resharpened the irons with a honing guide and put a microbevel on the irons. I hope to have time to give it a try again this week. I had been using the free hand technique that Paul Sellers teaches.


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