I’m restoring a Stanley 5-1/2 and squared the bevel to the iron by registering my square against one side of the iron, but when I finished, it looked skewed, and registering the square on the other side of the iron showed it to be very much *out* of square. Turns out, the iron tapers slightly away from the cutting edge. Any advice on how to proceed? The square can’t help me, so I’m thinking of reshaping it with the cap iron on, as a guide. I would be grateful for any guidance!
If it was me, I’d start by assembling the blade in to the plane again, so that it looks central (same gap on either side at the bottom near the mouth, then advance the blade through the mouth until the full width is projecting out above the sole. Then have a look at how the lateral adjust affects the projection. If you can get the blade edge parallel across the sole of the plane this way, then back the blade out again, and try it out. If it takes nice wide shavings, then great.
If you can’t get the blade edge parallel, then mark a line across the blade a little bit below the lowest corner and then disassemble the blade and start to sharpen away again until you are closer to parallel to the line. Then retest the plane function again. That should get you where you need to be.
As Colin implies, there’s no need for it to be perfectly square, as long as you can adjust it to be parallel to the plane bottom with the lateral adjuster. I don’t like it if the lateral adjuster needs to be to the extreme on one side to be parallel, but I do expect to use some lateral adjustment. What I’m learning as my sharpening skills improve is to carefully and frequently observe the scratch pattern as you sharpen, particularly as you start out. By eye you should be able to see if you are establishing an appropriately “square” bevel.
Also, if you are doing major metal removal to establish the primary bevel, and you’re doing it by hand as opposed to using a grinder, then I find a piece of course sandpaper attached to a flat surface (like a piece of float glass) with spray adhesive cuts a lot faster than any stone or diamond plate I’ve tried. Again, be sure to check the scratch pattern frequently.
You can use a bevel tool instead of a square and adjust it so measurements off both sides of the iron agree.. then sharpen to a line drawn on the iron at that setting.
But replacement irons aren’t that expensive if you aren’t buying boutique irons. . A new iron with parallel sides will save you that grief every time you sharpen.
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