planing edge grain on eastern maple

Hey all...
I picked up a couple of flea market planes a little while back and putzed around with them somewhat until I had them working well (I thought). They took lovely little fluffy shavings on 2x4's and some rock maple that I was turning into lacrosse shafts (longpoles for field lacrosse - whack whack :-)
However, I have now picked up a nice chunk of eastern maple that I intend on turning into a few cutting boards... 2" thick, 10" wide about 5" long. Really nice tight growth rings.
One edge is rough, so I thought, "No prob, time for a little exercise", and picked up one of my planes.
Ummmm, well, problem. I can't take shavings off this thing at all...at best I get a little bit of dust. Granted, this is edge grain in Maple, but still, is it really that much harder to take a shaving off of?
I dunno. I guess I will sharpen my plane irons as best I can and take another whack at it. I think I will lay out the money at lee valley to pick up some stones...I am leaning towards a set of diamond stones since I don't want to muck with flattening and maintaining waterstones and find scary sharp tedious since I tend to tear paper and make big messes attaching and swapping paper.
So, long story short:
Any suggestions as to how to tackle this maple - is it likely a matter of simply not having sharp enough irons?
And any suggestions for a sharpening setup that won't cost the earth - suggestions for grits in diamond stones to pick up would be welcome as well.
Thanks to all that reply....
Jason
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stickdoctor wrote:

Hmmm, you said "edge grain, but I suspect that you mean "end grain". Not knowing which planes you're using, makes it harder, but I think that you may not be getting them sharp enough since you say that you're cutting the sandpaper. That suggests that you're changing the angle of attck and rounding the edge. It also suggests that you aren't gluing the paper down and may be pushing a ridge of sandpaper before the edge of the blade as you sharpen.
What you really need for end grain is a low angle block plane, with a sharp blade. Try gluing it carefully and use a holder for the plane blade to maintain a constant angle on it. It takes a lot of practice to get a truly sharp edge by hand, but once you've trained your hand and wrist, you'll find that the kitchen knives are much sharper too. %-) Good luck, Dave in Fairfax
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snipped-for-privacy@fairfax.com wrote in

Well, I did mean edge grain, as in the 5 foot long, 2 inch thick "edge" of the board as opposed to the 10 inch wide, 2 inch thick "end" of the board,
i.e.
_____________________________________________ | | | | | | end | | | | |_____________________________________________| edge
It does look very much like end grain though, since the growth rings are so tight on this particular piece. Thankfully, I am slicing more or less with the the grain on this edge rather than across the grain like I would be on end grain.
At any rate, I dug out some sandpaper, the 1" thick mdf chunk I use as a flat surface, my el cheapo chisel/plane blade holder sharpening jig, and gave it a shot...
Couple minutes on 220 wet/dry, knock off the wire edge on the back, couple minutes on 600 wet/dry, knock off the wire edge on the back, slap it back in the plane (which is a Stanley #5, BTW)....
whoa.
So THIS is what is supposed to happen. Oooookay.
Working much better to say the least. I guess while the planes still had enough sharpness before to deal with spruce/thin maple, it just cried mommy on the 2" thick edge grain of this chunk of maple......
As for sharpening by hand, I have tried it...I just don't have the time to develop that particular skill, and what time I do have I prefer to spend working on projects rather than sharpening tools. So I use the jig, and it works...
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stickdoctorq wrote:

I'm glad that the holder did the trick. Sharper is always better, and how you get there is secondary. I did wonder about the direction of planing if it was edge grain but I figured that you'd know to go with the grain so I didn't mention it. That left the need for sharper edges and I'm glad that it worked out for you. Happy curlies, Dave in Fairfax
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Juergen Hannappel wrote:

Well, I find "mirror" an overstatement at the best of times. I've spent four hours on a single plane iron, going up through 2000 grit, and the best I've ever seen is "mirror-like." Real mirrors are much more reflective.
If it's possible to get closer to a mirror than this, maybe it takes chromium oxide or rouge or something. 2000 grit sandpaper won't do it.
(Most of that four hours was getting rid of the deep tool marks on the back, incidentally.)
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You do something wrong ;-) For example when i needed a small mirror urgently during the summer (of course on an evening, impossible to buy one) 20 minutes of wet sandpaper applied to a rusty piece of iron yielded a mirror good enough to read a LED display in, as was required... I used sandpaper up to 2000 grit.
My tools are finished with a 600 grit japanese artifical waterstone, and they also have wirror finish (but only close to the edge...)
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You do something wrong ;-) For example when i needed a small mirror urgently during the summer (of course on an evening, impossible to buy one) 20 minutes of wet sandpaper applied to a rusty piece of iron yielded a mirror good enough to read a LED display in, as was required... I used sandpaper up to 2000 grit.
My tools are finished with a 6000 grit japanese artifical waterstone, and they also have wirror finish (but only close to the edge...)
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Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
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diamond stones are not the greatest thing for sharpening steel. they wear fast they are not super fast and they are not fine enough and they are expensive. only pulling the tool on the paper will keep from tearing it. water is usually enough to hold it down.
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