Bench Plane: Sharpening & Setting


This is a free video, want to watch it?

Just log into the site and you can enjoy this video and many more!

Paul shows how he sharpens and sets a bench plane in his everyday work. A quick and easy guide to get your plane working.


  1. Eddy Flynn on 8 November 2016 at 10:14 pm

    if ever there was an definitive demonstration this has to be it no need for anyone else to cover this its been done .

  2. António on 2 December 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Thank you WWMC team

  3. Justin Spaeth on 9 December 2016 at 3:29 pm

    I am having a really tough time with some quarter-sawn red oak and tearout. The tearout is deep and happens very fast, and all my adjusting and sharpening aren’t getting me much of anywhere. Is this just a tough type of wood to plane, or am I missing something obvious? I am using a Stanley 4 1/2 sharpened just like Paul says. I have no problem planing pine or cherry to a mirror finish. I noticed some wood stuck between my blade and chip breaker and am working to fix that. Depth of cut is as small as possible (I sneak up on it is 1/8th turn increments). Is there anything else I can check? My 1″ panels (14″ by 26″) are turning into 3/4″ panels…



    • William Allen on 23 October 2019 at 8:53 pm

      close up the mouth to about 2-3x the thickness of a shaving. Take as thin a shaving as you can. Getting that chip breaker to 1 shaving thickness away from the edge, and meeting all the way across is key when dealing with PITA grain.

  4. deanbecker on 9 December 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Some times a cabinet scraper or card scraper is your best friend.
    If it tears going in any direction , it’s time for the scraper.

    • Justin Spaeth on 9 December 2016 at 5:51 pm

      Thanks Dean,

      I am working on perfecting the card scrapper sharpening, and I have been using that to get a better finish on these problem areas. My bigger question is “Did I try hard enough to make the planing work, or is this wood just not going to cooperate no matter what I do?”

      • Philip Adams on 12 December 2016 at 2:27 pm

        Hello Justin,
        If you’ve tried planing in both directions and you are still getting tearout, you can plane across the board at 45-90 degrees to get it close, before moving onto the cabinet scraper for the final finish.
        Hope that helps

        • Justin Spaeth on 14 December 2016 at 2:55 pm

          Thanks Philip,

          I have had decent success doing that. After fitting my iron cap better, I have seen much improved results. I try to minimize the amount of scraping I have to do as the feel of a fine planed finish feels much better than a scraped finish to me. Although, I am sure it all gets roughed up equally during my light sanding before my stain.

          I also didn’t plan well enough ahead of time with the direction of grain of the two boards I joined. The grain of both boards ideally would run in the same direction to avoid tearout near the seam. Lesson learned…

  5. Bryan Dilks on 10 December 2016 at 3:59 pm

    What is used to lubricate the strop around minute 8:00 of the video?

  6. Youhanna Mohyedddini on 5 January 2017 at 12:36 pm

    I would like to thank you from bottom of my heart. And wish you all the best.

  7. Sam Jackson on 11 March 2017 at 11:02 am

    Paul – I should like to pay you a compliment and say thank you, if modesty permits. A while back, the store was short of a needed plane blade. So; I purchased a ‘plane’ for 20 odd dollars, thinking I could always use the steel. The ‘plane’ itself was a cripple, I shelved it for a long while as it simply would not ‘take’ a shaving. Then I watched your scrub plane conversion – and I wondered. It was a job to get the plane body to working condition (don’t ask) but I managed. Then I followed you guidelines and turned the cripple into a scrub plane. It now sings as it works, every bit as effective as a friends purpose bought job, matched stroke for stroke against a hollow ground, thick blade tool of a serious professional. The ‘how to’ video was a gift; but the insight into ‘how’ a plane should work – priceless. I did not mention to my mate the figure of eight sharpening method – let him keep to his grindstone. That’s it, thank you for my scrub plane – dubbed Gunga –Dunnit, oiled, sharp, clean and residing in the ‘working’ tool box. Cheers.

  8. Maninder Kumar on 20 July 2017 at 11:50 am

    Just got back after adjusting my no. 4 smoothing plane, it was gouging and now gives great long shavings.

    Priceless video !!

  9. David BR on 24 October 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I’m using Veritas bevel up planes, can I use exactly the same process as described for the Bevel down blades ?

  10. Lee Manson on 11 October 2018 at 8:51 pm

    I give up my woodworking skills now Paul Sellers. I am not getting anything right

    • Brian A on 12 October 2018 at 3:31 am

      @Lee – We can’t give up our skills, only our efforts in applying them.

  11. CJ on 5 September 2021 at 10:04 pm

    Brilliant explanation. Thank you.

  12. Jonathan VanWeelde on 26 October 2021 at 9:28 am

    I had my planes working well. Sharpened my blades, now I can’t seem to get them back working again.

  13. Fernando Munoz on 10 December 2021 at 3:33 am

    At the time I started my hand tool woodworking, this seem to be a fairly complicated video to replicate, but the way master Sellers keeps his explanations makes it a breeze. Now, just a couple of years have passed and I still look up for this videos to see if I can learn new things or even re-learn things I’ve forgotten.
    Brilliant work as usual!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.