Image to the right shows nomenclature used in this outline. It shows a bevel up blade, but the ideas are the same for a bevel down blade (only the blade is flipped over before inserting into the plane).
Notes are also available on a different web page for Micro / Secondary Bevels.
Values shown in the table below are for the Cutting Angle and the Relief Angle. As the Bed Angle is based on the plane body you are using, these are not shown. Additionally, the Front Bevel and Back Bevel can be easily determined from the Cutting Angle and the Relief Angle. To calculate these angles, use the following formulas:
|Type||Front Bevel||Back Bevel||Micro- Bevel||Camber||Notes|
|Bench Planes||Bench planes are used to cut with the grain.|
|General Purpose||30°||--||+ 2°||1/32”||When working wood wider than the blade, consider adding a very slight camber, or rounding the corners (or both).|
|Harder Woods||35°||See notes||+ 2°||1/32”||The higher bevel angle can be achieved by adding a back bevel.|
|Highly Figured Woods||40° +||See notes||+ 2°||1/32”||The higher bevel angle can be achieved by adding a back bevel. If this does not work, a scraper will have to be used.|
|Softer Woods||25°||--||+ 2°||1/32”|
#1 - #4 ½
|35°||--||+ 2°||1/32”||Set for a very fine shaving, especially the mouth opening.|
#5 - #6
|30°||--||+ 2°||1/16”||Jack planes generally have a higher camber, though it could be none if the plane is used for working edges (e.g., adding a cambered edge to a plank).|
#6 - #8
|30°||--||+ 2°||1/16”||Also known as trying planes. Jointer planes generally have a higher camber.|
|Scrub Plane||35° - 40°||n/a||+ 2°||1x - 2x width||Highly curve the cutting edge. Radius it no more than 2x the width, though it could go as small as 1x. Increase the bevel for harder woods.|
|Block Planes||Block planes are used to cut across the grain.|
|General Purpose||30°||--||+ 2°||--|
|Bevel Down||35°||10°||+ 2°||--||Ensure relief angle < bed angle|
|Low Angle||35°||10°||+ 2°||--||Ensure relief angle < bed angle|
|Soft Woods||25°||--||+ 2°||--|
|Other Plane Types|
|Type||Front Bevel||Micro- Bevel||Camber||Notes|
|Blind Nailer||n/a||See Leonard Lee's The Complete Guide to Sharpening.|
|Bullnose Plane||25°||+ 2°||None||Sharpen square across the front.|
|Moulding Plane||n/a||Lap the face of the cutter. These are not typically re-profiled or otherwise re-sharpened.|
|Shoulder Plane||30°||+ 2°||None||Sharpen square across the front.|
|Spoke Shave||35°||--||--||Be sure to hone the cutting edge well. See also, Leonard Lee's The Complete Guide to Sharpening, especially as it regards curved blades.|
The shape of the grind used is a call best made by the tool's use, based on their own experience. Additional notes are available on separate web pages for: Grind Profiles, and Micro / Secondary Bevels.
The cap iron must join with the blade and have no gaps.
When installed, the cap iron needs to be 1/8” to 1/4” back from the cutting edge. This provides adequate space for the shavings to curl appropriately.
Flattening the entire back is not critical for the overall sharpness.
A Relief Angle helps keep the force behind the cutting edge aligned with the movement of the plane (i.e., more in alignment with the surface of the wood than tangential to it). This is especially true for bevel down plane blades, and is also true for low angle planes.
If not, the back of the blade's sharpened edge will encounter the wood before the cutting edge.
In the picture to the left, the blade is shown in orange, and the plane body in gray. The back of the sharpened edge is denoted with the red line, and is parallel to plane's base, denoted with a blue line. As shown, the back projects down below the cutting edge.
It is a good practice to note the blade's angle(s) in one of these ways:
This is the preferred method as it also allows for noting other information about the blade such as metal type, where & when purchased (and cost), and any other sharpening notes.
Additional notes on Primary and Secondary Bevels are on the Chisel page.
Tormek is a copyrighted logo of Tormek AB. Its presentation on this site is used to help the user quickly understand when specific Tormek tools, jigs, or setting are being used. For specific information regarding Tormek AB, or its products, please refer to the www.Tormek.com.