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Thread: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

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    Question Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    Greetings !

    This newby mandolin builder has been touching up the edge of his Ibex carving planes by strop and compound, since their arrival. ( Super sharp from the box BTW.) However I believe I have have to take then to a stone soon. I'm a bit wary due to the curvature of the blade edge. Any input would be appreciated !

    Thanks ! Bill Durkin thefretfarm@gmail.com

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    I give mine a slight hollow grind on my Tormek grinder. The curve just has to be maintained by hand and by eye regardless, but I find it easier to sharpen them and maintain a good curvature when the edge is slightly hollow ground. If you don't have the tools for a hollow grind, I'd suggest a wide bevel and a "micro bevel". it is mush easier to keep a very narrow bevel sharp and in good shape than a wide one, so the secondary micro bevel makes things simpler once the work is done to establish the wide bevel.
    Also, there is usually mush that can be done to tune up an IBEX plane.
    Here's some info about that from (what's left of) my web site. http://hamlettinstruments.com/repair...a-finger-plane

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Here's some info about that from (what's left of) my web site.

    Man - it's decaying. Maybe it's got woodworm?
    The more I learn, the less I know.

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    Here is the process I would try to use.
    To get the right curvature you will probably need to use a grindstone. A white friable grindstone will not heat the metal up as much so it is preferred to the typical gray stone.

    Push the plane blade out a bit to far, paint it with a magic marker and then scribe a line with the scribe flat on the plane's sole, you can mark the correct curvature for grinding the blade on the flat of the blade. Magic marker works, dykem blue is probably better.

    If you set up your tool rest on a grinder correctly and test with some scrap metal, you can get the angle right to match the original exactly. This will also allow you to practice your methods just before doing it on the tool blade.

    To keep the steel from overheating you absolutely never want the color to shift. If it goes to straw or amber, you are probably ok. If it is blue or purple, that portion of steel has lost temper and will not retain an edge long until it is ground away.

    To keep it cool, I put a wet, natural plant fiber paint brush on the back of the tool I am grinding and I grind slowly without great pressure. When the water starts to boil I ease the plane iron back and wet the paint brush again. This way you can keep the blade cool as you work.

    Bob

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    It's all in being in the proper state of mind to flow with the curve of the blade against the stone. . . Dull off; sharp on.

    Steve

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    Maintaining angle. Scary sharp approach. Make ramp at angle slightly sharper than final on edge of board. This can be a pain. Make very smooth and wax. Clamp said board onto abrasive paper, ideally glued to some magic flat surface that is lost under stuff in the shop. Run blade along ramp and against paper so that the edge of blade assumes angle. Try in body of plane until shape matches. I like to have the corners roll in so I have no sharp edge.

    Micro bevel by eye or make a little jig and put on fine paper, stone, whatever. Little jig can be piece of hardwood with slot very carefully fitted which an assistant can throw in the fire later.
    Stephen Perry
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    working for the mando.... Bluetickhound's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    I give mine a slight hollow grind on my Tormek grinder. The curve just has to be maintained by hand and by eye regardless, but I find it easier to sharpen them and maintain a good curvature when the edge is slightly hollow ground. If you don't have the tools for a hollow grind, I'd suggest a wide bevel and a "micro bevel". it is mush easier to keep a very narrow bevel sharp and in good shape than a wide one, so the secondary micro bevel makes things simpler once the work is done to establish the wide bevel.
    Also, there is usually mush that can be done to tune up an IBEX plane.
    Here's some info about that from (what's left of) my web site. http://hamlettinstruments.com/repair...a-finger-plane
    That's good stuff right there... I just got my first Ibex yesterday and will tune it up as the link shows. Thanks a bunch John!!

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    Thank you!

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    I just wanted to thank Sunburst for the Ibex modification- set up info. I did that to mine and it works much better thought I may not have taken the mods far enough. I just finished graduating the top plate of my 2nd from scratch mandolin with it and very much noticed the improvement. I'll tweak it a little more before I do the bottom plate.
    -Newtonamic

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    I remember seeing a thread on this in which someone clamped the blade between two nuts and washers on a dome head bolt, sharp end protruding, so that when the dome head was rocked on a flat surface the tip of the blade would touch that surface along the appropriate radius. Obviously you have to find the right height on the bolt to set the blade. This sharpening jig would work best on sandpaper (or diamond paste on a surface) so that the bolt head could slide back and forth at the same level as the abrasive surface but not on it.

    I've sharpened mine by eye, but I've been meaning to try this. If it makes sense....

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    I give mine a slight hollow grind on my Tormek grinder. The curve just has to be maintained by hand and by eye regardless, but I find it easier to sharpen them and maintain a good curvature when the edge is slightly hollow ground. If you don't have the tools for a hollow grind, I'd suggest a wide bevel and a "micro bevel". it is mush easier to keep a very narrow bevel sharp and in good shape than a wide one, so the secondary micro bevel makes things simpler once the work is done to establish the wide bevel.
    Also, there is usually mush that can be done to tune up an IBEX plane.
    Here's some info about that from (what's left of) my web site. http://hamlettinstruments.com/repair...a-finger-plane
    Hi John,
    I know this is digging up an old thread, but I just bought my first finger plane and was wanting to tune it up per your tutorial. I found the text via the web archive (http://web.archive.org/web/201210040...a-finger-plane), but unfortunately the pictures weren't archived. Without the pictures I'm having a hard time visualizing how to reshape the top of the cap iron (bronze) to clear chips better. Do you happen to have any pictures of your modified Ibex cap iron (bronze) you'd be willing to post here?

    Thanks,
    Greg

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    Yeah, I took down my elaborate website from years ago. It was getting 'buggy' and I lost interest in maintaining it. I think I still have the pictures and text from all of the stories and tutorials that were there. I'll see if I can find the Ibex pics...

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    OK, here we go...
    I have an older 12mm plane that has always worked well with little jamming and loading up with un-cleared shavings. My 10mm plane (and other newer ones) tended to clog very often. Here is the difference I found and what I did about it, in brief compared to the version on the old web site.
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    You can see that the curve that leads down to the iron is steeper with a much smaller radius on the 10mm cap iron. That is part of the problem...
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    ...But this is also a big part of the problem. The 12mm one is milled smooth so that it makes good contact with the iron and does not leave room for th deges of chips to lodge between the iron and the cap iron.

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    Here's how I ground the 10mm cap iron smooth.
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    I started on a coarse diamond sharpening "stone" and progressed to hard Arkansas stone.

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    To reshape the curve I simply filed, sanded and buffed.
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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    ..Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by sunburst; Oct-15-2020 at 10:52am.

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    I give my Ibex planes a hollow grind with a wheel on a Dremel tool, slow enough not to heat up too much. The hollow grind doesn't' have to be perfect-- it's just there to make honing easier, and to make it easier to hold the blade flat on the stone.

    For honing, I find it easiest to pull these blades sideways along the stone. I hold the blade lightly with one hand, and press down opposite the bevel with the other, carefully pulling the blade sideways while rotating it along its long axis to get the whole bevel honed. For some reason I find it easier to maintain the proper angle using the sideways approach. I do out-cannel gouges the same way.

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    OK, here we go...
    I have an older 12mm plane that has always worked well with little jamming and loading up with un-cleared shavings. My 10mm plane (and other newer ones) tended to clog very often. Here is the difference I found and what I did about it, in brief compared to the version on the old web site.
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	189157Click image for larger version. 

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    You can see that the curve that leads down to the iron is steeper with a much smaller radius on the 10mm cap iron. That is part of the problem...
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	P7.jpg 
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ID:	189159
    ...But this is also a big part of the problem. The 12mm one is milled smooth so that it makes good contact with the iron and does not leave room for th deges of chips to lodge between the iron and the cap iron.

    Thank you John! The pictures speak a thousand words. I will be working on tuning up my 10mm this weekend. I played with it a little on some scrap wood and the chips were definitely getting hung up. Can't wait to work it over, sharpen it up and watch it fly. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us!

    Greg
    Last edited by Schneidly; Oct-16-2020 at 12:00am.

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    Quote Originally Posted by amowry View Post
    I give my Ibex planes a hollow grind with a wheel on a Dremel tool, slow enough not to heat up too much. The hollow grind doesn't' have to be perfect-- it's just there to make honing easier, and to make it easier to hold the blade flat on the stone.

    For honing, I find it easiest to pull these blades sideways along the stone. I hold the blade lightly with one hand, and press down opposite the bevel with the other, carefully pulling the blade sideways while rotating it along its long axis to get the whole bevel honed. For some reason I find it easier to maintain the proper angle using the sideways approach. I do out-cannel gouges the same way.
    Thank you for the sharpening tips, Andrew! I think I understand the hold and motion you're describing and moving the blade sideways while rocking makes sense to me. I'll give your technique a go this weekend while I'm giving my plane the "Hamlett Treatment." Do you round off the edge of the blade so it doesn't have an abrupt edge?

  28. #20
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    I don't have a grinder so I don't hollow grind, but over the years I learned that you can sharpen to shallower angle than desired final angle and then just do the final bevel at desired angle. The wood doesn't see what's behind your bevel and that counts.
    I sharpen (and shape curved) plane irons to some 25 degrees by eye using sandpapers on a flat surface. Then I finish the sharpening on finest grits keeping the bevel close to final angle.
    My method of holding is similar to Andrews. I hold the thumbplane iron in right hand with index on the flat side of the blade close to edge and thumb and middle fingers at sides. I lay my forearm flat on table and lift my wrist 1" or so to get proper angle of blade touching the flat plate with sandpaper pivoting the forearm on elbow. I sharpen by moving the blade siedeways by moving forearm pivoting on the elbow. Keep the wrist stiff (to keep the angle constant) and rock the blade with thumb and middle finger slowly as I move the blade on the sandpaper. (something like one sloooooow rocking movement during 5-10 2" long quick side strokes on sandpaper.
    I didn't have to resharpen the blades of my planes for a looong time. I just go to 1200/200/3000 grit succesion to refrest the bevel. Sometimes I start with 600 grit if the edge is either slightly damaged or very dull.
    I do this same for my gouges.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    And: I collect and use antique tools, and almost always try to get planes to work properly. There are many instances where two planes, identical-seeming geometry and sharpness, behave differently. I have planes with blades from 4” wide down to less than 1/4”. One factor which seriously affects jamming is the width of the mouth, generally not adjustable on even modern tiny planes, but so important it drove 19th century design.
    The mouth has to be small, and the edge of the opening unworn, as that prevents lifting of the big chip that jams the plane. That is, the blade is capable of a tearout unless the wood being cut is held down. The other factors: smooth transition to the cap iron (often not even present), effective support of the blade as close to the edge as possible, variation of blade geometry for wood and grain, all contribute, as mentioned in the many prior threads.
    So, if you have a thumb plane, or any acquaintances with big mouths, you can correct the former, at least. This is done by moving the “bed” of the plane forward, for these using shims under the blade, and possibly also having to refine the wedge or cap iron. Also, if you have wood-soled planes, the effect of sole wear is to widen the mouth an all geometries, and that can effectively ruin the performance.
    This is all picky, time-consuming stuff, but unfortunately the nature of the tool.

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    Thank you all for your help with my first finger plane! Using John's instructions, I worked on my 10mm Ibex this last weekend. I ran into a couple things I wanted to share and a few questions. First, when I pulled the cap iron out, I found that the casting isn't as solid as John's. The casting is relieved on the underside, which made me much more conservative in my filing and sanding to change the profile of the "nose".
    Could I take more off the top without weakening the cap iron too much? It is definitely clearing chips better than before, but could I/should I go further?

    Second, when I tried to use the plane, I found that the iron seemed to creep back as I was using it. I could get about 10 strokes in before the iron had nearly recessed itself. Am I not tightening the thumbscrew enough? I haven't used a finger plane before, so I don't know how tight to go and don't want to strip or bend anything.

    Third, related to the auto-retracting iron, I noticed it's leading edge of the cap iron isn't straight across (partially visible in the second picture). Could that be leading to the iron retracting too easily?

    Thanks again!


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  32. #23
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    Quote Originally Posted by Schneidly View Post
    ...when I pulled the cap iron out, I found that the casting isn't as solid as John's. The casting is relieved on the underside, which made me much more conservative in my filing and sanding to change the profile of the "nose".
    Could I take more off the top without weakening the cap iron too much? It is definitely clearing chips better than before, but could I/should I go further?
    Yes, you can take off more material and it would probably help chip clearance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schneidly View Post
    ...when I tried to use the plane, I found that the iron seemed to creep back as I was using it. I could get about 10 strokes in before the iron had nearly recessed itself. Am I not tightening the thumbscrew enough? I haven't used a finger plane before, so I don't know how tight to go and don't want to strip or bend anything.
    No worries. You'd have to have some superhuman hand strength to be in any danger of tightening that little thumb wheel enough to cause damage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schneidly View Post
    Third, related to the auto-retracting iron, I noticed it's leading edge of the cap iron isn't straight across (partially visible in the second picture). Could that be leading to the iron retracting too easily?
    It would be nice of it was straight across but it is not necessary for it to be. If you file/grind it straight you are effectively moving the chip breaker farther from the cutting edge, and since it would be best to have the chip breaker closer to the cutting edge I'd say leave it as is.

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  34. #24

    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    The cap iron doesn’t even have to go all the way across to do its function, and in many small planes, is just a narrow finger, or even absent. In small planes it may not be adjustable. It functions best when closest to the edge, and is adjusted according to the wood type. If the blade of the plane is slipping, in an all-metal plane, it may be that the surface it bears on is not smooth or a plane. The Ibex appears fairly primitive, so touchup in this area might be a good idea, so that the (flat) blade makes secure contact with its bed.
    And for newbies, be aware that planes with low angles have to be bevel-up, and therefore need no cap iron, except for chattering reduction. If you have a little plane that just doesn’t cut well or seems to have a very wide mouth, the iron may be upside down! I just checked a few of mine; and behold, one was.
    Another bit of un-requested advice: Unless everything is set up precisely, it’s easy to get the iron corners to leave little grooves, so a very slight rounding can be helpful.

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    Default Re: Sharpening Ibex plane blades

    Thank you for the feedback John! I'll do a bit more filing and sanding on the cap iron this weekend.

    Silly question, but I want to clarify the Richard500's input above, are Ibex planes bevel up or bevel down? I'm pretty sure mine came with the iron installed bevel down and it seems like that's the correct way to fill the mouth of the body, but want to make sure I'm not missing something.

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