9 reasons why I don’t sharpen my plane blades as well as I thought
I should probably start by listing the 9 reasons, right? OK. Here they are:
- 1 micron
- 2 microns
- 3 microns
- 4 microns
- 5 microns
- 6 microns
- 7 microns
- 8 microns
- 9 microns
But that list probably just adds to the confusion. So, watch the video. It’s from a hand planing competition in Japan. This video (and another one) have been popping up on woodworking forums and blogs recently. What you’ll see is a fine gentleman taking a shaving that is 9 microns thin. How thin is that? Well, I know that here in the Western woodworking world, we often brag about shavings that are 1 or 2 thousandths thick. There are 25.4 microns in one thousandth of an inch. So, a shaving that is 9 microns thin is just a bit more than one third of one thousandth of an inch. And those guys are taking full width, full length shavings that thin! (And, more importantly, the surface left behind by that blade has got to be perfect.) That’s how I know I don’t sharpen as well as I could. I can’t do that.
After you’re suitably impressed by that video, check out this other one. It’s impressive because the guy is taking a super thin shaving with a wickedly wide plane. The blade has got to be at least 9 in. wide. Notice how heavily the guys using it are breathing when they’re done. Must be a bear to pull.
Finally, let me give a loud shout out to my friend Wilbur Pan. I first came across the second video on his blog, Giant Cypress (great blog), and that led me to the first video.