A Impromptu student "plane off" -- NBSS week 3

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Shamrock

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Michael
Hello all again, as promised here, I'm pleased to detail the results of our 1st annual impromptu student "plane off". A quick background 1st. Last week many of us (i.e 1st year students at NBSS) bought used planes at the MJD tool auction in Nashua, NH. My prize was a Stanley Bailey #4 for $25.



We started this week at school learning how to tune up the #4. we flattened the sole's




Then tuned up the frog, chip breaker, and sharpened the blade. I'm using the Shapton Professional Series Waterstones and I took my blade from 225 (it was just a wee bit rusty) to 500, then 2000, 5000 and ended with 8000. Now that you know about mine, here are the other players :

1) a Clifton #4 sharpened using Shapton GlassStones up to 16,000

2) A Woodriver #4 sharpened using DMT stones up to Extra Extra Fine

3) a Lie Nielsen #4 sharpened to 6000 with a King Waterstone and stropped with Green Rouge

4) Another Stanley Bailey #4 sharpened with DMT Duosharp Plates to Extra Fine

5) a Lee Valley #4 sharpened Only with an Norton India Medium Oilstone and stropped with Yellowstone

6) The "wildcard" my low-angle Lie Nielsen #4 sharpened to 8,000 with the Shapton Professional Waterstones

The judging was based on the overall feel of the handplane through the cut, the feel of the board after the cut, and the condition of the shaving produced. All the tests were conducted on the same piece of face grain poplar and everybody in the test used all the hand planes and discussed the results after using each hand plane. The results please..................................

Coming in 1st place : The Clifton #4 to 16,000 The plane felt solid through the whole cut, produced a very smooth surface, and was a pleasure to use. This was a unanimous decision however it did not produce the smoothest surface or the nicest shaving! Still what a plane

Tie for 2nd : The Wood River sharpened with DMT and my Stanley Bailey #4 to 8000 with Shaptons : Both of these planes felt about the same in the cut, smooth but not as smooth as the Clifton, and both left a surface smoother than the Clifton. That's right, smoother than the Clifton. The shavings were nice too, but not as nice as the Clifton's

A close 3rd (and I do mean close) as we all argued about this one: The Lee Valley/Veritas #4 with only the medium oilstone and Yellowstone stropping. This was a hard one for us to get our heads around. We all spent a ridiculous amount of time sharpening our planes, but the owner of this Veritas has never done any woodworking before, and she sharpened her Brand New plane with only a medium oilstone and a strop, and you know what? This thing performed well. We couldn't believe it, super smooth through the cut, and it felt solid like the Clifton, produced "angel breath" shavings and left a surface to rival the front runners. Pretty nuts! And she did nothing to flatten the sole as it was dead flat from Veritas (the Clifton and both Lie Nielson planes were dead flat too)


And now the Spoiler--- so we had all done the tests come to a decision and agreed on a winner. The Clifton no doubt.

However, enter the wildcard, I took down my low angle Lie Nielson sharpened up to 8,000 and said "now try this" (in true Devil Went Down to Georgia Fashion) We all used this plane and we all laughed out loud, why? Well it produced the smoothest edge without question, the shaving was on par with the best, and the effort to push the plane was the lightest with that Clifton like solid feel. It was fabulous.

In Summary, this was a hoot. Super Fun, Social, Informative and I can only imagine that we will continue to have events like this throughout my 2 years at NBSS. I can't wait, hope you all enjoyed the write up!

 

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Mark Gottesman

New User
Mark
Sound like lots of fun. I regularly sharpen my pllanes to 600 and the surface and shaving thickness are remarkable. I would expect to see the results of higher grits if you went to blades made of PM or A2 steel.

Thanks for posting this. Videos would be a lot of fun if possible.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
Thank you Michael for letting us live vicariously through you and your postings - I know I apppreciate it and I think many others will enjoy your journey!

Here is something I found a long time ago with advice from someone in NCWW to look at some of Paul Sellers information - I really think this "tells the tale" about sharpening... maybe you agree, maybe not... regardless, it has launched more than a few discussions when I bring it up!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbAo4RpM7oM
 

Shamrock

New User
Michael
Hank, I totally agree with Paul, that's why I included the results of the Veritas #4. That India Medium is exactly what Paul was talking about. It really surprised us all and was definitely a learning experience.


The other thing to note for most folks here is that we are hollow grinding at the school. This means you are taking off much less metal each time you hone. I only mention this because as with micro bevels the amount of time needed to go from 400 to 8,000 is a little less than 3-4 minutes when your only sharpening an 1/8" of the blade :)


So really I think it's a personal choice but for most things a well sharpened blade at a lower grit will most certainly get the job done and the surface needed is directly a result of how you intend to finish the product, no sense in getting a surface off an 8000 grit blade if your gonna start sanding the finished piece at 220 grit.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
Hank, I totally agree with Paul, that's why I included the results of the Veritas #4. That India Medium is exactly what Paul was talking about. It really surprised us all and was definitely a learning experience.


The other thing to note for most folks here is that we are hollow grinding at the school. This means you are taking off much less metal each time you hone. I only mention this because as with micro bevels the amount of time needed to go from 400 to 8,000 is a little less than 3-4 minutes when your only sharpening an 1/8" of the blade :)


So really I think it's a personal choice but for most things a well sharpened blade at a lower grit will most certainly get the job done and the surface needed is directly a result of how you intend to finish the product, no sense in getting a surface off an 8000 grit blade if your gonna start sanding the finished piece at 220 grit.
There is a "mantra" or at least a signature line: "no sense in getting a surface off an 8000 grit blade if your gonna start sanding the finished piece at 220 grit.":D
 
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