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    Flattening many Record 044 blades

    I recently ordered a Record 044 plow plane off of eBay. It came with a set of 8 irons that are all out of flat on the tip in the same way. (See attached -- I sharpied the top part of the backs and rubbed them a little on 2000 grit sandpaper on float glass.)

    Given how long it took to mostly flatten the tip of the 5/16" blade using 80 grit sandpaper on glass (done after this picture) I am already exhausted thinking about doing all of these, especially the wide ones. I'm also worried about rounding the backs of the narrow ones, spending that much time on abrasives.

    I'd really appreciate advice on what to do next. Should I find someone with a Worksharp? Use the ruler trick on the backs? Just buy new blades entirely (~$50 + shipping from the UK? )

    For what it's worth, I have a set of DMT diamond stones from coarse to extra fine, a good strop w/ green compound, a variety of sandpaper and good flat float glass. I don't have any power sanding/sharpening equipment myself.

    Thanks!




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    Re: Flattening many Record 044 blades

    I looked at mine and thought the same thing, so I knew I was going to use the 1/4" and the 1/8" soon so I flattened those and then waited to see what I used next rather than taking the entire job all at one time - not a simpler or faster method, but it stretches the "back-flattening marathon!"
    People are amazed as a shaving rises from the throat of a plane as if itís a spell plucked from a sorcererís hand Ė Paul Sellers

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    Re: Flattening many Record 044 blades

    Save your money.....No guarantee new irons will be any better than the ones you have now.

    I have little experience with power sharpening but I'd like to think a grinder would get you close and then finish with the stones. A dedicated sharpener with jigs.... Even better.

    I don't use the "ruler trick". I understand the concept and the pros and cons of sharpening that way. But I prefer to lap mine flat and be done with it once and for all. My personal preference....ymmv.

    I'd do like Hank suggested and sharpen as needed. It'll spread out the pain.
    Last edited by Chris C; 09-18-2018 at 09:26 AM.

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    Re: Flattening many Record 044 blades

    Why are you flattening the whole back? You only need ~1/16-1/8" flat at the edge. Too much unnecessary work!

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    Re: Flattening many Record 044 blades

    I agree with Mark and probably a 1/2" flat on the back is plenty (that just a convenient number to keep the blade horizontal on your stones (like a chisel back). How are you going to sharpen the bevel at about 25-35 degrees on the front side?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKU3IcCXAQg

    Do one or two blades and take a few practice strokes on your board. What do you think?
    Last edited by Jeff; 09-18-2018 at 02:21 PM.

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    Re: Flattening many Record 044 blades

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone!


    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    How are you going to sharpen the bevel at about 25-35 degrees on the front side?

    I have one of the Kell honing guides, I got it when some of my tools wouldn't fit in the Eclipse style jig (even in the chisel jaws.) Expensive but it seems very good even on narrow cutters. I just tried it on the 1/8" blade and it seems alright, although now I have to go back and do some more work on it because there was a pit near the cutting edge and a tiny chunk just broke off the corner during use :/


    Mark & Jeff - Do you flatten that small strip just by lifting off of a stone slightly and pulling or do you recommend using a ruler or some other method so it only hits the tip? Hang it off the stone and move it side to side? I am used to flattening about 1"-1.5" of the back on other blades so it's easy to just press the back flat on a stone with a couple fingers (well, actually very fine wet-and-dry paper on glass) and pull back to pull off the burr, but I'm not sure I'm dextrous enough to keep the same flat on the back if it's that small without some kind of guide.


    By the way, that video is one of the ones that sold me on the 044, that and the eBay price seemed reasonable compared to some alternatives. I did the 1/8" blade, which works pretty well, and the 5/16" I got a lot of the way there (I just picked that one as a middle size to test on, but now thinking about it I doubt I will have much use for a 5/16" groove in the near future...) Results seem fine so far, most of my problems seem to be with accidentally tearing out the arris on either side of the groove. I've tried a few things and they do help (making sure the blade is proud of the fence on the sides, taking small shavings to start, scoring the groove edges with a cutting wheel type gauge, etc -- harder wood seems less prone also) but I think at this point a lot of it is just making sure I don't accidentally let the plane tilt or wander. The fence does not help as much to keep it vertical as I would have thought, it is not that large vertically especially when you consider the portion that is below the skate is even less. If anyone has any other tips I am all ears.


    I am also noticing the fence is out of parallel by about 1/32" over the whole length, a wider gap at the rear end, which according to one of Paul Sellers' books at least is actually acceptable but I wish it wasn't quite so much. I'm considering making a larger wooden fence to bolt onto the metal fence so it has more registration area and I can shim it for parallel.

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    Re: Flattening many Record 044 blades

    A belt sander works great for flattening the back. Go slow, stop often, keep your finger directly over the point of contact with the belt so you feel it getting warm before it has a chance to overheat.



    One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man." -Elbert Hubbard

    WWFD

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    Re: Flattening many Record 044 blades

    I hang the blade off the edge off the abrasive an inch or so for registration to flatten the back edge.

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    Re: Flattening many Record 044 blades

    I wouldn't worry about getting them flat. Just get the 1/2" or so behind the edge flat. If that means elevating the iron a few degrees, I doubt would be a performance issue.

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    Re: Flattening many Record 044 blades

    Quote Originally Posted by Rwe2156 View Post
    I wouldn't worry about getting them flat. Just get the 1/2" or so behind the edge flat. If that means elevating the iron a few degrees, I doubt would be a performance issue.
    +1

  11. #11
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    Re: Flattening many Record 044 blades

    I do a lot of sharpening and rehabbing cutting edges at the Woodwright's School. Monday I cleaned up the irons from 64 planes and 30 chisels. I find that the WorkSharp is invaluable when I need a lot of throughput like that. When I began using the WorkSharp, I bought extra glass plates so that I could use the same grit on both sides. That way I can flatten on the upper face and work the bevel on the underside. Now I make my own plates from 1/2" mdf. This makes them disposable so no solvents needed to remove the used sandpaper. I routinely have grits in the following sizes: 36, 60, 120, 220, 200, 1000, 3600, 6000--IOW by factors of 2 in grit more or less. I very seldom get down to 36 unless an edge really needs repair; and very seldom get up to 6000 unless I really have time on my hands. My go-to grits generally start at 120 if I have issues, and 220 otherwise, and for general work I stop at 1000 grit unless I am sharpening my dovetail chisels in which case I go to 3600. The nice thing about the mdf disks is that I make them to match the diameter of available PSA disks on the market so I do not have to pay Darex exorbitant prices for sandpaper (still have to pay for the 3600/6000). Commercial sandpaper disks are 6", but Darex is about 5 3/4" (to match their glass plates) which means that I always had to trim overhanging paper each time I replaces sandpaper--a real pain. Now my substrate disk matches the sandpaper. Also the glass plates are a bit thin, so that the grinding surface is slightly below the plastic rim of the WorkSharp. The mdf is now slightly above. Makes flattening tools so much easier and also make s sharpening small cutters easier as well.

    When flattening a tool face, you really want to apply the concept of coarse-medium-fine. You need something aggressive to get immediately aligned. Diamond stones are not aggressive enough in my mind. They are more of a medium grade. If your tool face is out of flat, 36 grit will get if flat, if somewhat rough. After that, it is just the process of taking off the scratches from the previous grit.

    For plane irons I generally shoot for at least 1/4" flat from the cutting edge. That should last you a lifetime of sharpening. For chisels I go back farther because not only do I need the flatness for the cutting edge, but I also want the flat polished face as a visual reference when chopping straight down, and as an actual reference when paring. So in that case, maybe back an inch. Generally when you flatten a face, that is the last time you need to pay attention to it. In subsequent sharpening operations, I will only use a fine grit on the back, to remove the burr or wire thread generated.
    Bill Anderson
    Edwards Mountain Woodworks
    57 Woodside Trail
    Chapel Hill, NC 27517-6077
    phone: 919-932-6050
    email: bill@edwardsmountainwoodworks.com

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    Re: Flattening many Record 044 blades

    Bill this is a great way to go. I use a system quite similar to what you describe. The tool in the photo 1 is the joy. Turn the knob and you micro adjust the angle as she spins. Works well. Get it done and back to work.









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    Re: Flattening many Record 044 blades

    6"X1/2" Center Hole Stearate PSA 25pk

    This disc kit is an accessory for the Worksharp sharpening and grinding system. The 25 disc pack includes 5 each: 80, 120, 220, 400, 1000 grits. The discs are sticky back, 6" diameter with a 1/2" center hole.
    https://www.woodworkingshop.com/product/sd06199/

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  16. #14
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    Re: Flattening many Record 044 blades

    I used those discs for a while and they are a good deal. An even better deal is to buy the Norton Blue ceramic zirconia (?) disks which will go from 36 to 400 I believe. Those are meant for the machine shop and are really great on grinding metals. Above that, I just buy the 6" disks by the box of 25 or 50 up to 1500 grit. Some of those have a center hole and some do not. No problem to ream out the hole after the sandpaper is slapped on. This brings the price way down and I am less likely to try to squeeze out use of the disks. Recently I was turned on to Red Label Abrasives, which are very inexpensive, no center hole and come in the lower grits. I have some but have not tried them out yet. Usually the most use is made of the first grit I go to (120 or 220 depending) and then the other grits are just "bumped" as I work theourhg them, so it is very fast for those and they get minimal use.
    Bill Anderson
    Edwards Mountain Woodworks
    57 Woodside Trail
    Chapel Hill, NC 27517-6077
    phone: 919-932-6050
    email: bill@edwardsmountainwoodworks.com

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