Split shaving – time to sharpen up?

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    Matt Mahan

    I have a question here that I feel I know the obvious answer to, but I wanted to pose it because I have not seen this referenced elsewhere: has anyone encountered a thin shaving splitting straight down the middle as you plane? If so, I’m assuming it just means you need to hit the sharpening stones. Just seems like a strange phenomena because it always occurs in the exact same spot, and it afflicts every plane I’ve used after a while. It also leaves a subtle but detectable ridge on the workpiece. Pic attached.


    If it’s EVERY plane then the common denominator could be your sharpening system.

    Do you have a flaw in your stones that is, over time, putting a subtle ridge in your irons or chip breaker?


    Matt Mahan

    That’s a good point, Darren. I’ve switched back and forth between DMT plates (what I started with after finding Paul’s content oh so long ago) and water stones. I’ve never been fully confident on the DMT diamond stones. The extra fine DMT felt like it wore down absurdly fast, and now the medium and fine stones are starting to develop what look like chatter marks in the surface – it doesn’t feel like it’s engaging like it used to. Might be time to bust out the Ohishi stones again and see if I can rectify it there.


    -Is there a bur on the sole of the plane that is scoring a light groove and this leads to the shaving splitting? If so, why on all of your planes?
    -Is there a nick in the blade edge? A nick would most likely leave a raised defect in the planed surface
    -Are you not getting the bur off all the way? Even if you think you’ve removed the bur and don’t feel one after stropping, do a small amount of work with the blade, take it out of the plane, and feel for a bur again. You may find one, indicating that you are making a heavy bur during sharpening and not really getting it off. I had that problem for quite a while!

    The mystery is why this would happen to all of your planes and always be in the middle. Is there something about how you store the planes or handle them? A shared history of hitting a corner of the vise? Very puzzling.

    Benoît Van Noten

    is there a nail/screw in your strop or where you store your plane?

    Stewart Perry

    I’ve found that split shavings (and other degradation of the blade) can often follow from hitting just one or two knots, requiring the edge to be cleaned up by resharpening it. Microscopic nicks and roughness in the edge can be detected by lightly dragging the end of your fingernail across it, but obviously be very careful when doing this.

    Stu - Surrey, UK

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