How to sharpen a plane blade… with my sharpening jig

My easy plane sharpening jig is a foolproof method of getting a super sharp edge on your plane iron. In this video, I will show you exactly that.

Can I sharpen my plane by Hand?

stanley jack plane no5

When sharpening by hand sometimes it’s very easy to round the planes primary grind. A rounded angle will not produce a very sharp cutting Edge.

Sharpening by hand is an art.

Yes, it is an art which is best learnt by doing. You’ve heard the term practice makes perfect and it’s so true with sharpening tools without the aid of machines or jigs. You should not expect to get that perfect edge straight away.  if you do not succeed the first time around then try again.

So how sharp can I sharpen by hand?

In theory, you should be able to sharpen your tools just a sharp as any other method by hand. Sharpening skills are learnt over a period of time but a good technique is necessary.  In this article, I will give you simple tips that will teach the skills required.

Narration is new to our Blogs

Listen to this blog via Sound Cloud or Youtube and then you can carry on with what you were doing without the need to read! Don’t forget there is a youtube video on this sharpening guide further down in this blog.

Is there so an easy way to sharpen my tool?

All too often I see people struggling to get a super sharp edge on their plane and wonder why they do not succeed.  Just having an oil stone isn’t always enough especially for a novice woodworker. Sometimes a little Help is a blessing mixed with a little practice. sharpening system with Norton India oil stones

A sharpening guide will help

So why not use a simple sharpening guide?  how many options available. You can purchase a sharpening guide. These guides come in many forms from a simple roller guide to complete sharpening systems.

Which honing guide should I choose?

If you decide to go for a simple sharpening guide I recommend the Veritas honing guide For the lea Nielsen honing guide. These tools are expensive but very accurate. If you cannot afford these an eclipse honing guide will work just fine. Otherwise, just make one as we describe in this article.  it’s better anyway.

Could I just purchase a cheap Diamond Sharpener?

Yes you could but if you want to maintain a great crazy sharp edge then our sharpening guide is a great option. But if you want to quickly put an edge on a blade or knife then these may be perfect for you. This set is very cheap but solid and performs well. Toolzone sharpening set in fine/medium/course is demonstrated in the video below.

You can buy the Toolzone Cheap Diamond Sharpening set here on amazon:

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How to make a sharpening system?

My sharpening jig is made out of pieces of wood which will help hold the plane iron (blade) at the correct angle of 30°and 28°. The two angles are required to make the first grind and the secondary sharpen.

  1. The first step is to have a minimum of 2 sharpening stones.  I prefer the Norton India sharpening stones, these are good quality and last a very long time.
  2. I Screw down the two stones to a board If mounted in a wooden box
  3. The oil Stones do not have to be in a box, You can just screw down pieces of wood around the oilstone on the baseboard.
  4. If using 1 Double-sided oil stone;  course and fine. You can just Flip It Over for each process. Buy on 
  5. be aware that the primary and secondary sharpen has a 2 degrees difference.
  6. An old kitchen cupboard door works well for the baseboard because of the melamine finish.
  7. waxing the baseboard will lubricate the surface
  8. Make sure the two stones are aligned with each other and a gap of 50 millimetres or 2 inches between them.
  9. I used wood and plywood to make the carriage.
  10. This carriage or Sledge should be glued and screwed
  11. make a carriage that can struggle the oil stones one at a time
  12. on the carriage, there needs to be a flat area for the plane iron to sit
  13. this flat area needs to be 30 degrees to the oil stone
  14. calibrate your oil stones by adjusting the height with shims (thin packers)
  15. the stone furthest to your right should be a coarse stone of 400 Grit approximately
  16. The fine 1000 grit Stone to the left Must be risen slightly, enough to change the angle of the plane blade to 28 degrees
  17. you can make a clamp for the plane iron but you can just hold the blade if you want

Sharpening system Q&A’s

Can I sharpen my chisels with this sharpening system?

This excellent sharpening system isn’t only for your plane irons.  You can use this system to sharpen your chisels and any other flat blade that has a 30-degree primary angle or 28 degrees sharp Edge.

What tools can I sharpen with this sharpening system

  1. You can sharpen plane irons
  2. block plane blade
  3. rebate plane irons
  4. jack plane  Blade
  5. smoothing plane blade
  6. Spokeshave
  7. bevel chisels
  8. firmer chisels
  9. paring chisel
  10. mortise chisel
  11. compass plane blade
  12. bullnose plane iron
  13. foreplane
  14. Jointer plane
  15. Any blade with a 30 degree Primary grind and a 28 degree sharpened Edge

Watch my video on sharpening a plane blade with a jig

stanley plane close up

The plane in this video is a Stanley Bailey number 7.  It is fitted with a Victor hand forged plane iron and custom handles. The sharpening method will work with any plane iron.

How do I use this sharpening system?

The concept of this sharpening system or honing guide is very simple. Unlike other honing guides which require more practical skill, this system guides you automatically. Because the plane irons are fixed in a carriage or Sledge at the correct angle the likelihood of use train from that angle is zero to none. Using this system does require some skill but very little. The main thing to remember is that the Oil stone will be only 50 mm wide or 2 in imperial. Some Brides will be wider than this.  because of this, you will need to move the carriage during the shopping process from left to right right to left. Me to you to me!!!

The honing guide sharpening  step-by-step

  1. First, clean your oil stone from dirt and old oil
  2. insert your plane iron into the carriage and clamp the blade down.
  3. start with the course oilstone of 400 Grit approximately
  4. or choose the correct  oilstone grit for your requirements
  5. Adjust the plane iron so it sits on the oil stone at 30 degrees.
  6. if you have made your carriage correctly you will find that the blade will just be protruding and of the correct angle.  if you push the blade too far through you will create a weak Edge.
  7. Apply some sharpening oil to the oil stone.  this will lubricate and keep the stone clean.
  8. while applying some downward pressure move the carriage forwards and backwards.
  9. control the carriage left to right or right to left as two sharpened the full width of the blade.
  10. You should notice after a few passes that the oil changes colour.
  11. Carry on the  sharpening process and apply more oil as required
  12. the oil will soak into the Norton India stone, Buy on 
  13. Lift the carriage of the oil stone and check your  Edge.
  14. carry on sharpening  with a 1000 Grit sharpening stone until you are confident you have a Sharp Edge
  15. remove the  iron from the carriage
  16. you no need to remove the burr
  17. the burr is the folded over metal from the sharpening process
  18. Place the back of the plane iron onto the fine oil stone
  19. pull the blade away from the stone removing the burr
  20. No use a strop to finish the edge similar to  Sweeney Todd!
  21. I don’t recommend it but in the video, you see that I use my hand.
  22. if you choose this method it is at your own risk.
  23. reinsert the plane blade into your plane and jobs a good-un.

Will this sharpening system work with  DMT diamond sharpeners?

There’s no reason why you couldn’t use this concept for a system for use with diamond sharpeners.  Ideally, the diamond sharpener should be a full-size such as a Norton India oilstone but you could adapt the design to suit any size.  Remember that diamond sharpeners use water instead of oil.

DMT diamond sharpening block alternative, budget diamond sharpening

I will be writing an article on Diamond Sharpeners.

Confessions of a woodworker

This system is based on a system designed by the late Bruce Tomlinson a chair designer. I cannot accept all the credit for this design but l have adapted it to suit my needs.


Please note but using this method will result in a very sharp blade.  We are not responsible if you cut yourself as a result of using our method.

My conclusion on sharpening a plane blade

Reading through this is so it’s very clickbaity but seriously this is a really good system and works very well for me in my workshop.

Thank you for watching my video and we really appreciate it if you could Like Comment and Subscribe.   for more videos and blogs on Woodworking

Buy suitable oil stones or diamond sharpeners on

By Marcus Kett, Woodworking since 1989 

head wood malcolm kett memorial

Malcolm the Boat ‘RIP’

 Woodworking for me is in my blood as a son of a traditional boatbuilder. My Father Malcolm Kett was highly skilled and inventive individual often referred to as ‘Malcolm The Boat’. 

selfie with mortar board

Marcus Kett and my Mortar!

Although I have spent a considerable portion of my life seeking further education and gaining qualifications in woodworking, electrical installations, bricklaying and to top it a degree in photography.

Yes, it is a medley of possible career choices but the one that I felt truly at home with was Woodworking. Woodworking has been my staple career choice that has given my family stability.

Why do I write these guides?

selfie workshop bio

Well that’s Me

We started to write these guides to help our customers. The idea was to provide the information needed to install our made to measure wooden products that we sell on this website and directly to our local customers.

We soon received feedback from people abroad and interested readers not local to us. I like to help people and I am excited that fellow woodworkers or keen DIYers found guidance in my articles. I intend to carry on writing and producing youtube videos for the purpose of providing useful content. Please share our blog with your friends and anyone that could find interest in the magic of working with wood. 


I am happy to inform you that we have included some links to related products. If you decide to purchase any product we receive a modest commission from Amazon.  This is not considered as our main income but any commission earned is used to provide more tutorials. I thank you for your support.

The content in this article is provided for free but we retain all copyright. We do encourage you to borrow this content but only if you cite us as the original content with a link to our site. 

About Wallybois

wallybois mascot christmas

Wally is the middle one

We have lived and worked here in the Limousin Nouvelle Aquitaine since 2010, building window shutters and external doors. Our Volet manufacturing business is based at our home property as a ‘Cottage Industry’. We are a small business operating partly (60%) off the grid and try our best to practice our woodworking ethically.

How did we come up with the trading name ‘Wallybois’ ? Well it is simple really, my best buddy ‘Wally’ and the fact that ‘Bois’ is French for wood and we live in France.

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If you have any corrections or topics you think that we should add please leave a comment.  If you think we deserve it a Share would be nice.

Thank You for visiting

By Marcus Kett, Woodworking since 1989

Based in the Nouvelle Aquitaine of France

Tel: +33 7 81 45 32 82