How to Sharpen a Hand Plane


There is nothing quite as satisfying as creating something out of a piece of wood using your own two hands. Working with tools such as a hand plane can make woodworking projects even more fulfilling. However, without proper maintenance, using a hand plane is difficult and frustrating. Like all cutting tools, a hand plane must be sharpened periodically or it will become inefficient. Creating an optimal cutting surface is not difficult, but it does require the right tools and a few minutes of time.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver Magnifying glass Bench grinder Safety glasses Light machine oil Sharpening stone Rag
  • Remove the blade from the plane. Use a screwdriver to loosen the screw from the blade and slide it out of the plane.

  • Examine the blade with a magnifying glass to find any nicks or rough spots.

  • Turn on a bench grinder and carefully grind the blade, holding the beveled side up, to remove burrs and nicks.

  • Turn the blade so the beveled side is facing down. Hold it at a 25-degree angle to the grinding wheel. This will help match the beveled edge on the blade. Grind the other side of the blade to remove blade impurities.

  • Place a few drops of light machine oil onto a grinding stone.

  • Place the beveled edge flat to the stone. Pull it toward you in one long stroke. Lift blade and repeat the stroke, always pulling the blade in one direction and not back and forth across the stone.

  • Clean the blade with a rag every third or fourth stroke. Place additional oil on the stone and repeat the process.

  • Hold the blade beveled side up and pull across stone once. This will remove any burrs from the reverse side that were created in the sharpening process.

  • Examine the blade with a magnifying glass to ensure all burrs and nicks have been removed. If there are rough spots on the blade, repeat the grinding stone procedure.

  • Reattach the blade to the plane and screw in place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to hold the sharpened edge of the blade square to the grinder wheel. Dip the blade into a cup of water occasionally. This will keep it from losing temper.
  • Always wear safety glasses when sharpening metal.

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