At the risk of bringing further controversy into the field of woodworking I thought we should build on the successes forged in the chisel sharpening YouTube video. You might be interested in this method that I use because it was also used by craftsmen for at least two centuries.
I have written several blogs, posts and forums previously about the #4 bench plane, the best of which in my view is the plainest of planes, the exceptionally humble and most underestimated and undervalued Stanley #4. I own plenty and use the #4 and the #4 ½ in my workshops. I used to have the heavyweights available but students found them to heavy and awkward to use so I just stayed with what they were most likely to use in the field, so to speak. Eventually they will want a low angle Veritas for refining aspects of their work, but a good old bevel-down Stanley does almost everything they really need.
The first stage with fettling any bench plane is sharpness and so here I am showing how to sharpen the bench plane. I am using my old #4 ½, but the technique is the same for any and all bench planes used for levelling and smoothing, regardless of plane length or width. It’s very fast and follows the same method I use for the chisels in the previous YouTube video from last week.
To begin with you must first lap the flat face of the cutting iron on a dead flat surface to give a clear and polished face for about the first 3/8”- 1/2” from the cutting edge. Then polish this face on the strop to a mirror finish. This is the last time you will need to do this as this face does not wear. I go through the grits on my 3” x 8” EZE Lap diamond sharpening plates as you can see. I don’t use cheapos for this because I like my plates to stay dead flat and the diamond particulate to be consistent in size. I also use car polish to get a final mirror finish. Dig the cutting edge into a board for safety and polish the face with a soft cloth. Once you have done this, it can simply be maintained on the strop as shown.
Now set up the sharpening plates and hone following the video. This is very fast. A matter of minutes only.