I have 2 stones, an "India" carborundrum, mine is reddish in colour and a black "Arkansas"

I now have some very rare stones.

The one in the foreground when found, must have been over 200 years old, looking at the case it was in. Which I have now renewed, it is khaki coloured and 8" long x 2" wide aand very thick in it's depth, perhaps 2".

I use 50/50 mix of paraffin and thin oil on the stones.

I use one bevel on my irons, not two, this way you have a larger area of metal resting on your stones, better control when sharpening and you don't have to regrind.

I instinctively know what angle to sharpen at, whether it be a smoother type iron, a chisel or a mitre plane iron, this comes with practice, it should be about 30 degrees.


When you acquire a new second hand iron, level the back of it using your India stone, or similar. The two stones must be kept flat.

Once you have achieved this leveling process, transfer to the finishing stone and repeat.

At this stage all the hard work is done and you will never have to repeat it.


From now on if your iron is in good condition it only takes about 1 or 2 minutes to sharpen,


Rub the bevel side up and down the India stone until you can feel a burr with your thumb the full width of what you are sharpening.



Here I am feeling the burr.

At this stage transfer to the finishing stone, laying your iron flat on it and rub up and down 3 or 4 strokes, this removes the burr.

Now on the bevel side repeat until you get another burr full width of whatever you are sharpening.

Turn over again, 3 or 4 strokes removing the burr for the second time.

Finish with one stroke up the stone on the bevel side.

Job done.


The perfect finish is done with a strop like a Barber would use, but I just use the palm of my hand. I do this without thinking but if you try it for the first time, use extreme caution.

You should now be able to shave the hairs on your arm.



A smoothing plane iron and a mitre plane iron should be straight across the cutting edge, with the corners rounded off a little, this will stop tram lining up the piece of wood you are planing. Tram lining is caused by the edges of the cutter digging into the wood. For a panel plane and jointer most people slightly curve the iron when sharpening, but I don't.


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