Plane Iron Bevels and Edges

Hello friends!

Ole Plane Plate

Ole Plane Plate

Ok i would like to discuss bevels and plane iron edges.
This is a subject that stirs up a conversation with the hobbyist all the way to the hard core woodworker.

Skewed Rabbit with Knickers

Skewed Rabbit with Knickers

My main point I want to make is that most molding planes are bevel down. So that with the bevel on the back side it is a most that the iron be flat. If you are putting a bevel on both sides you are changing the cutting angle of the plane.

Round Plane with double irons

Round Plane with double irons

Also the geometry of the bevel on the iron is very important. From serving as a plane all the way to a scraper on the same iron and cutting stroke there is a lot going on with that bevel of your plane.


I hope all is well with each one of you!

Please be careful. Some of the things I do are dangerous. It is not my fault if you get hurt. Use your brain, be safe.

18 Responses to Plane Iron Bevels and Edges

  1. Joe Lyddon says:

    Hi David,

    Good to hear from you again… missed you…

    Thank you for the information… Interesting…

    Keep up the good work…

    You still doing Leather and Steel work?

  2. Ted says:

    Hi Dave ol’ buddy…. it’s been way too long! I know you’ve been busy 24/7 at home and shop time is hard to come by, but glad to see you finally got some time in. This topic about maintaining the flat back and a proper bevel applies equally to modern tools, including chisels, power plane blades and for that matter, saw teeth. Although it makes perfect sense to keep the back of the blade flat, I never realized how important it is until I stumbled upon a similar tutorial. At that time I had to take all my chisels to the grinder and take about 1/16″ off the tip just to get the back flat as it should be. I’ve never tried adding a micro bevel… just seems like pre-dulling the edge to me.

    • David Bardin says:

      Hello Ted!
      It has…
      Ted the chisel edge is easier to obtain than a knife edge. I use my tormek a lot to get a hollow edge or concave edge. Its not bad to return the edge back while the tool is in use. What we have got ourselves into is speed. I use hand tools so speed in not what I do. So take the time and zen in finding the edge for your tools.

      I look at the tool at the time it needs resharpening. If i am doing a whole set I will get the machines out and do a lot of bulk sharpening. If not the diamond stones are fast and good. So I guess I am guilty of using a lot of different methods.

      So good to see you !

  3. ksSlim says:

    Dave, I forge many of my own molding blades. That said, if the back is good and flat, I hone a “micro” bevel on the bevel side of the iron. about 2 degrees more or less. They seem to hold up better. Look at the bedding of the iron.
    If it’s between 35 and 45 degrees, make your primary bevel the same, then use slip stones or diamond files to create a two to three “micro” bevel on the bevel side of the iron. Takes less time to hone them up when they get “draggy”.


    • David Bardin says:

      KSSlim WOW!
      You are a man after my own heart. Forging your own irons.
      I will agree on the micro after I get the iron to a good primary edge. After the primary sharpening I will use the micro method while the plane is use on the bench. But you can only use the micro so long before you have to reestablish the primary bevel. Also if you are hand sharpening the human body has a natural tendency to put a convex bevel on the iron. As long as we get the piece we are building made with a good sharp edge.

      Thank you for the information and the knowledge.

  4. JL7 says:

    Hey Dave – GR8 to see you in the shop again! I’m sending some cooler weather your way, hope it helps……I’m all beveled out with that lesson……too much for my brain, but always enjoy the lessons. Keep ’em coming my friend!


    • David Bardin says:

      A lot of those planes were from your direction..

      You know when you look at a molding plane there are only three real parts but a whole lot going on. Bill Anderson is teaching at Roy Underhill’s school and I would love to go pick his brain.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Glad you’re getting some time in the shop Dave.

  6. Dave,

    Been awhile? Hope all is well in your life. I tried to micro bevel, then I figured I just need a sharp edge. LOL!

    • David Bardin says:

      Hello Doc! Yes yes busy with the wife. House duties are taking a large part of my time but I do get to sneak out in the shop every now and then. Im not a large fan of the micro bevel either. So nice to see you Doc! Stay well and safe….

Forge a whitty reply.

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