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Sharpening the V Iron for the Router Plane

I have a lot of tenons to tweak and fit - 32 cheeks in all. Hopefully most will need just the smallest of tuning. One of my preferred methods is the router plane (I think it was David Charlesworth who first suggested this). I tend to use the 1/2" straight iron in the widest router plane, which is the Veritas. It occurred to me that I might use the V-iron this time around.

Mine was dull from use. I have always honed it my freehanding the bevel faces on my stones. This has not been as satisfactory as I would have liked since over time the bevels have become a little rounded. It occurred to me that I could use a technique in sharpening them that I use with the Chris Vesper marking knife, which also has a V-blade ..

What I do is hollow grind the bevels, and this makes it a 2 second process to hone the iron. Done once, the hollow grind should last years. I use a Tormek, but the principle could be transferred to any other grinder - just watch for heat. I have not come across this method elsewhere. Let me know if you have method of your own.

The V-iron is similar for both the Veritas and the Stanley (and no doubt Record) models in that the V- blade head screws to the shaft, and may be separated. Veritas supply a handle that will screw onto the head to hold it while sharpening. For the purposes of clearance when grinding, the head was screwed to the reverse side of the handle, and then locked into the blade holder of the Tormek ...

Square the diagonal of the V iron ...

... and then set the bevel angle to 30 degrees ...

Grind the one side, and then reverse the blade and set it up exactly the same way as before ...

The resulting hollow makes it very easy to hone the edge. One stroke on a worn 600 grit Eze-lap, and then a stroke or two on a Spyderco Medium and Ultra Fine, polish the back, and we are done ..

Here is the side view with the relief angle ..

I found that it is important that the V is centred to achieve an even shaving. If not centred, it just dug in on one side.

In use, the V iron works well ... but I do not see it replacing the straight iron, which is less complicated in use. One advantage of the V iron, however, is that it can get into corners more easily. Maybe with a bit more practice. This edge is so sharp that fine shavings are a must. Deeper and the point digs in.

Here is the shaving as it occurs ..

And here is the result: a smooth surface across the grain ...

Regards from Perth


September 2015