Frustration level: high

First, let me say this isn't meant to be a whining post, just looking for guidance. I'm running into what I can only describe as sheer frustration lately with getting anything right in the woodshop. My jointer knives need sharpening so I got the Veritas honing jig (don't ask me why I didn't just get new blades). I thought sharpening should be easy using this. I was doing the Scary Sharp thing for what seemed like hours and could not get one knife sharp. No they aren't carbide blades. I mean it may as well have been an eraser on the end. I could not even get the wire edge with 60 grit sandpaper so I went to the bench grinder...mistake. Shwoop, into the trash they go.
Well I have some hand planes I wanted to try anyway, maybe I can joint my project edges by hand. I picked up some planes off Ebay, and a couple at flea market sales. I spent maybe $150 on a #4, 5, 6, 7. But getting them in working order has been a,..umm.challenge. The frog on the 7 won't keep the iron straight - I have to move the adjustment lever waaaay over almost bending it in half to getthe bevel sticking out straight and not skewed. Then it won't stay this way. I can't get the sharpening thing down on any of the blades. I have Lee's book on sharpening, but can't find anything on how you grind the initial bevel? No way I'm trying the bench grinder again. I tried the stationary belt sander and did nothing but make a mess. I got what I thought was a close bevel, but using the Veritas honing jig the honed line always seems skewed - I could never get it perpendicular to the blade edges.... Finally I got close (after 3 hours), then tried planing the edges...but my jointed edges do not make an invisible seam when glued together...argh..saw it in half...start over.
I go in there thinking that I have to do all these things like the pros do.. sharpen like a wiz, plane like a pro. And I know I'm trying this all on my own without anyone to guide me along. So, is it better to toss the old tools, start with new planes and get new blades etc., and a Tormek or Makita wet grinder for sharpening? It seems like I've spending way more time just trying to fix and fiddle with stuff or tools that are already crippled and attempt to learn repair, sharpening etc. than actually working wood.
Sigh.
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Dukester wrote: snip of long story don't get new planes or blades, what you have now is superior unless you're going to spend a lot of money. Find someone to teach you haow to sharpen instead. If we knew where you are you might have a chance of gettingsome help. Over to you.
Dave in Fairfax
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Dave's right. You're 90% of the way there. Whatever it is that you're missing is likely a) important and b) not something we can see from here.
But what you're trying to do is not rocket science.
BTW, send the jointer blades out to be done. That's cheap and reliable.
Patriarch
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So the sloppy throat adjustment and messed up frog mechanisms are fixable? Between Memphis, TN and Jackson, MS btw. Back to you.

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Dukester wrote:

Unless you've removed alot of metal trying to make it right, yes. The problem is *probably* that you've got a slanted cutting edge when compared to the side of the blade. Making that a 90 degree angle is the critical part to start with. The next part is that the frog and its bed match up and theat the frog is sitting parallel to to the throat when you sight down it and out through the hole from the back of the frog. Sorry, I don't know of a better way to describe it, that's why I recommended finding someone to help you. Old blades, in general, are better than the new blades, certainly if you're buying Stanley or Buck or Great Neck. If you want to spend some serious money, there are VERY nice blades available that will start out sharp and square. A Hock blade will run you about $35, but if you put it in the plane and the adjuster is centerline, then you KNOW the old blade wasn't ground square. Conversely, if the adjuster isn't centered, you know the frog and its bed are the problem and you can work on them until the adjuster IS centered. Sor of using a known blade as a gauge. Roger is giving you good advice as is Silvan.
If you have a digital camera and a trysquare, mark your blade as Roger suggested and send me a pic, less than 100K please, and I'll try to help you through the problem. I take it that you fettled the frog as described in Jeff Gorman's website: http://www.amgron.clara.net/planingpoints/planeindex.htm You might want to read all the way through his website, BTW, it's really first rate.
Try not to do anything irreversibel and we'll see what we can do about it. Fairfax, BTW is in VA.
Dave in Fairfax
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Dave in Fairfax wrote:

Just barely. :)
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Duke, Take a day off... then try again. Sharpening tools is much like the art of working wood. It's learned through practice and patience, and if your new, ya have to start at the bottom and work your way up. As a learning exercise, I'd suggest taking a chisel (any chisel) and learn to scary sharpen it with the veritas jig you have and just focus on making that chisel the sharpest tool in your shop. Very Important - Make sure you have a flat surface to work on to start with. A piece of glass, MDF or whatever, so long as it is dead flat. Start by lapping the back of the chisel until it's flat. I'd suggest starting with 400 grit for a new chisel, but you'll have to determine how much metal needs removed and the best grit to use here, however, I wouldn't suggest anything coarser than 220. Did you get the angle gauge with your jig also? This really helps in keeping things consistent. (I like to put a 25deg angle on my chisels) Anyway, after the back is flat and honed, chuck the chisel in your jig. Make sure it is as square in the jig as possible, and work it over the sandpaper (I'd start with 220g and then 320, 400, 600 etc..) Make a few strokes and check to make sure the edge is straight with the jig. I usually take about 30 strokes on each grit up to 1500g to get a scary sharp edge, finishing it off with a few strokes on the back to get the wire edge off than it's off to the bench grinder that's fitted with a buffing wheel. A charge with some polishing rouge and after a few seconds buffing, I have a chisel that is shiny as chrome and could shave a hair off a gnats ass. Once you have it sharpened, try slicing off a little endgrain of a board. It should go easy with a little force or light tapping with a mallet, but should slice the wood nicely. This is the method I use for plane irons also. Your #7 may have other issues besides the sharpness of the iron. I do use my bench grinder to sharpen many other tools, such as turning tools, but I really like the results I get from the sandpaper. I don't know if a Tormek is the answer to all the sharpening situations, and for what it costs, I may never. Hope this helps, --dave

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Dukester wrote:

I tried doing it on my belt sander, but then I eventually realized I have a bunch of screwed up plane irons in my inventory. Not screwed up beyond salvaging, but screwed up enough that I'm back to doing it the old fashioned way. The sander was not removing material evenly, even though I did everything humanly possible to ensure that it should have every opportunity to do so. Sigh.
So now I get the initial bevel the same way I do everything else. One stroke at a time. It's extremely tedious, and takes forever, but there's almost no opportunity to screw anything up at that speed.

It's tricky. It helps to check with a square against both sides of the iron or chisel before setting the knob. Make sure both sides are square, then it pretty much has to be really square. Then tighten the absolute hell out of the knob. Then be very, very, very, very careful not to skew the iron/chisel as you work. Even with the knob as tight as humanly possible, it's still possible to knock it out of alignment with a well-placed fart.

Jointing with hand planes is kind of a bitch. Not a good way to start off learning to use hand planes. In fact, I finally sucked it up and bought a mechanical jointer to solve this particular problem. It turned out to be a real bitch to get things to come out right with that too. Sigh. But if I don't remove much material, I don't have much opportunity to turn perfectly good wood into trapezoids.

If I had $300 to blow without feeling any pain, I would buy one of these in a heartbeat:
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pH435&cat=1,43072

I'm kind of in the same boat, but I'm muddling through. My stuff works in spite of the edges that aren't quite square.
http://users.adelphia.net/~silvan/smaller-shop-p1010025.jpg
Some of them are really markedly not quite square, like really not even remotely close to square, like really skewed all to hell. But they still make shavings. Planes with bungled irons like this are completely worthless for jointing though.
Anyway, I feel your pain. The boat I'm in is a little different. I have all these mirror polished edges, and I thought I was a world class sharpener, plane slinger and tweaker and fettler extraordinaire, but then I discovered that I had bungled damn near every plane I own without even noticing. Some sharpener I am. I also discovered really pronounced shiplapping on a project I thought I had done such a good job of planing. Turns out I actually suck at this. Oh well, nobody else noticed, and that project has been in use for over a year now without anyone seeing the shiplapping until I specifically went looking for it.
So the lesson you can take from this is that screw-ups like us can still make stuff out of wood anyway. Screw it. It's not like we're getting paid, right? We still make better stuff, mungled and bungled and beflungled though it may be, than the vast majority of tool-less wimp wussy boys who don't know which end of a hammer to use to open a paint can.
Cheer up.
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On Sun, 06 Feb 2005 04:12:23 -0500, Silvan wrote:

<snip>
I use a 60 grit belt sander belt, cut open & laying flat on a piece of glass. Pretty fast, but not as fast as a grinder.

Second the square notion. Combination or machinist square works for me.
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On Sun, 06 Feb 2005 04:12:23 -0500, the inscrutable Silvan

Try a diamond plate. They work a hell of a lot faster than stones, they never need flattening, and they work well DRY. (Less messy.) If I wake up and my house is on fire, I'll grab my DMT plate before leaving the building. ;)

<g>
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On Sun, 06 Feb 2005 08:00:56 -0800, Larry Jaques

I second that, but I sprinkle a little water on when I use them.
Diamond plates also flatten fine water stones quite well.
If I was starting all over today, I'd buy DMT plates first, then add an extra and ultra fine waterstone.
Barry
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Larry Jaques wrote:

That's actually a really good idea. I wonder if it wouldn't be hell on the brass roller on the angle guide flummy though. I guess not necessarily more than any other abrasive is.
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SNIP
It seems like I've spending way more time

There's someone who teaches it, if there is, and s/he has probably learned a few things you can use. A drop-by at closing time might do you a world of help. They're generally delighted to have time with an interested adult, especially the HS types. Some even make house calls, and they also know where the best deals on wood are.
Hanging out around the sawmill or hardware store might work, too.
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. I got

I had the same poblem so I scribed a line perpemducular to the edge of my bench. I line the chisel or iron up with that line while holeing the front edge of the honing jig against the front edge of the bench. Works pretty well.
Finally I got close (after 3 hours),
You'll get that reduce to a much shorter time as you get some more practice in.
but my jointed edges do not make an invisible seam when glued
Do you clamp the blards together so that you are plaing the edges at the same time? That little trick did wonders for my joints.

I had similar doubts. I took a very close look at the irons that were in the old planes I had aquired and saw a problem. The surface rust I had removed caused very minor pitting on the back of the iron. It was very fine and hard to see, but bad enough to degrade the edge I was working for. So now I use the old irons for practice and purchased new Hock irons. Sharpening and planing became the rewarding experiences they were meant to be
Roger
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Damn sorry about the spelling errors. Thought I had spell check on. Corrected version below.

I had the same poblem so I scribed a line perpendicular to the edge of my bench. I line the chisel or iron up with that line while holding the front edge of the honing jig against the front edge of the bench. Works pretty well.

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Roger amd Missy Behnke wrote:

Let me second that suggestion. That trick is -- IMO -- the single greatest thing I have learned in gluing up panels. It works really well, giving beautiful glue line joints.
PK
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Roger amd Missy Behnke wrote:

I can second that one. I've got some old irons that are fine, but some that just aren't workable because of pitting on the back. It makes the edge collapse far too easily, and it doesn't take hardly any pitting at all to cause this.

I'll also throw out that Lee Valley sells both Hock and Veritas irons for the same price. They claim their irons are made of a better alloy than Hock. So far, I have only bought one, and I bought Veritas. Next time I'll buy a Hock, and see which I like better. I think they're both the same thickness. Serious hunk of edge those things. Probably worth putting on any plane you care about just to make it work better.
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