Monday, November 22, 2010

Micro Bevels

Sometimes I'm really, really glad I bit the bullet and learnt to hone freehand. Like, for instance, this time:

Okay, so I didn't actually try it in a honing guide, because... Well, I mean, come on. Although before you come on, do pause to appreciate that fine machining for the blade bed. Okay? Got that? Right.

So faced with this stonking great big hunk of A2 steel, I bethought me to turn to the instructions; bearing in mind those clever Lee Valley elves have provided cunning dodges for holding awkward blades before. And found:

"Blade Sharpening
The 0.060" thick by 1/2" wide A2 tool steel blade has the bevel ground at a 25° angle."

And that's your lot.

Gosh, that's helpful... The Mk1 honing guide it is then. R/H version.

The Schwarz is associated with cut nails - I do bitten ones. Sorry about that. Must try and remember to get some stunt nails for these things. Something with some nice sparkly-pink girlie polish...

And behold, if you look carefully you can see a nice little secondary bevel all honed and ready to go. Although, on reflection, describing anything to do with this plane as "little" is just a tad superfluous.

I was a little concerned as to exactly how tricky it'd be to set the iron. I've read mutterings on the difficulty of getting the edge so the tool actually planes at 90° to its fence with the normal-sized versions, so what would this one be like? No adjuster and very little fiddlin' room. In the end I had a brainwave and adapted a tip out of the wooden plane-setting manual. Viz: One block of hardwood, one face and edge at 90°. Place plane tight against same and push cutter down so the edge just nicks in the surface evenly across. Tighten lever cap.

Then I looked at the blade setting instructions for the normal-sized version - and found not dissimilar advice. Oh well, great minds...

Now for the fun bit; time to hit the scrap box and find something suitably thin. Oak seemed to be flinging itself at me and nothing else, but it's not a bad tester. First, some pretty thin stuff to ease us both in:

Ooo, look at the pretty curlies. More! More! In fact more of a challenge - a piece that's absolutely the upper limit of planeable thickness. Actually I had to take a couple of shavings off it so the blade could span the thickness:

Oooo, different pretty curlies. Me likey.

Okay, I'm sickening you now, aren't I? You're rolling your eyes and muttering about how could anyone mistake me for a serious tool user. Okay, out with the square it is then, you practical types:

Perfecto! Houston, we have a miniature edge that is definitely trimmed. Job done, tool proved, case closed.

And as a result I will absolutely not be tempted by the big one. Nosir. I don't like edge trimming planes. Nope. Silly things. For collect- Er, I mean. No. Um. Er. Well. Look, I can explain...


  1. Alf you should try a little holder for free-hand honing little blades - just a piece of 2x1 with a saw kerf slot.
    Perfectly traditional and makes honing loads easier.


  2. Hey Alf,
    When I see LV's micro tools I wonder how useful they would be. Cute, yes, but useful? Do they add anything to normal sized versions.
    Though, for small tasks like drawers or boxes they must be handy.
    THanks for the review. Looks like you're having fun.


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