Removing the Rust Preventative & Sharpening the Blade
What should I do first?
The plane should be completely disassembled. Clean the adjuster and all machined surfaces (don’t forget the areas under the frog and toe piece) with a rag dampened in solvent/degreaser. Old toothbrushes are also handy for this work.
To help protect against rust, apply a silicone-free surface treatment such as Boeshield T-9 or Veritas Tool Wax. Use a light machine oil on the adjuster. The plane can now be reassembled; be sure not to overtighten any screws by torquing them down too hard.
How do I sharpen the blade?
First, polish the back of the blade, working your way up to the finest grit of your sharpening medium. The back has been lapped flat, so you are simply polishing this surface to the same degree that you will be honing the bevel.
If you’ll be using your plane exclusively for shooting or jointing, you can proceed to sharpening the bevel.
We recommend using a honing guide because it quickly provides accurate, repeatable results.
If your plane will be used on stock wider than the blade, you’ll need to round the blade’s corners or add a slight curvature across the cutting edge to prevent the blade from digging in at the edges. Some woodworkers do both.
Cambering the Blade
Camber the blade on a medium-grit stone by applying pressure first to the outside corners of the blade, then to positions either side of center, and finally to the center of the blade itself. The numbers in the photo indicate the locations of these points.
Use about 15 strokes at positions one and two, 10 at three and four, and five strokes at position five. Repeat this process when using your polishing stone.
How to Round the Corners of the Blade
Round the corners before honing, using a diamond or oil stone. A water stone is too soft and will score. Start with the side of the blade resting on the stone, and draw the blade towards yourself in a sweeping motion. Repeat for the other corner.
Left: Resting the side of the blade on the sharpening stone. Middle: Drawing the blade along the stone, lifting it. Right: Drawing the blade corner along the stone.
What is the chip breaker, and how is it set?
The chip breaker (some call it a cap iron) is attached to the face of the blade. It reduces vibration and directs shavings up through the throat of the plane, but its most important purpose is to help prevent tear-out.
For coarse work, setting the chip breaker about 1/16"” from the edge of the blade is about right. For fine work, that can be reduced to 1/64"” or less. In exceptionally difficult grain, setting the chip breaker just a few thousandths of an inch from the cutting edge is highly effective at reducing tear-out, though the plane will be difficult to push.
Image left: Chip breaker set for a coarse cut. Image right: Chip breaker set for a fine cut.
Once the blade is sharp and the chip breaker set, it’s time to put your new plane to work.
Discover More About Veritas Custom Bench Planes
Concentrated Citrus Cleaner
Boeshield T-9 Protectant and Lubricant
Veritas Tool Wax
Powder-Free Vinyl Gloves
(Box of 100)
Veritas Mk.II Standard Honing Guide
Bester/Imanishi Ceramic Water Stones