How accurate a Protractor for tool sharpening angle? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 12-20-2013, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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How accurate a Protractor for tool sharpening angle?

I want to buy a small Protractor for checking chisel & plane iron angles. Lowe's carries General 17 for $9 and I can’t imagine that it has to be too terribly accurate, but there might be other uses that I don't know of yet. I haven't checked Harbor freight.


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post #2 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 12:19 AM
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I have one that is very similar (if not the same) that I bought at Menards for about the same amount of money. I think it is more than accurate enough for plane irons and chisels.

As far as I'm concerned a degree or two +/- doesn't make that much difference on sharpening most hand tools. What does make a difference though is consistency from sharpening to sharpening so you don't have to remove too much steel each time.

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post #3 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks I didn't think so then I saw this photo of angles from wood workers journal and started to hesitate.



I guess I have to take the frog off to measure it because I don't know how I'm going to get the protector in there.

Oh I forgot about this one where they were talking about 3 deg:

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post #4 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 02:55 AM
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You could use a variable angle set square to make measuring easier.
I have an angle of sharpening chart somewhere in my old computer back ups, originally from nelson wood works, which was posted on here several years ago. I will look it up and repost.
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post #5 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 07:17 AM
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I found a chart on angles and here it is
http://s1035.photobucket.com/user/jo...ening%20Angles
Sorry about quality, taken from original posted by Nelson

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Last edited by johnep; 12-21-2013 at 07:25 AM. Reason: Found original
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post #6 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 01:22 PM
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When it comes to sharpening angles, I don't know what "normal" is or should be. There is a lot of conflicting information out there on angles, and it can be difficult to know what is correct for different blades.

What is even more difficult - especially for someone starting out - is trying to decide what angle(s) to use on what tools.

The woodworkers typical solution to that is to experiment, but someone new to handplanes is probably not going to invest in multiple irons/planes just to grind different angles in them and see how they work. Newcomers are figuring out enough things with renovation and initial setup and if you throw multiple grind angles in the mix it can be a daunting task.

Even though I do most of my work with hand tools, I am still very much inexperienced and I know I don't necessarily have the "correct" answers. For the planes I have, I took my cues on blade angles from what manufacturers are shipping on new planes or replacement blades.

I sharpen my bevel up planes (block and low angle smoother) to 25 degrees. Bevel down planes (bench planes) I sharpen at 30 degrees. I don't mess around with micro bevels.

My bench chisels are all ground at 25 degrees, paring chisels at 20 degrees, mortise chisels have a main bevel of 25 degrees with a secondary bevel at 30 degrees for better edge strength.

Lee Valley (Veritas) sells higher angle blades (38 and 50 degrees) for use with their low angle bench planes to help with difficult grained wood, but I have no experience with them. I'd like to, but have other tools that I need more in the near future.

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post #7 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trc65 View Post
.....I sharpen my bevel up planes (block and low angle smoother) to 25 degrees. Bevel down planes (bench planes) I sharpen at 30 degrees. ...
Thanks, I've never even heard of "bevel up" or Bevel down" before, so I guess before actually start sharpening, I probably better learn a little more about planes before I ruin them.


Oh to johnep34, that's a pretty nifty chart and I would like one to hang on the wall, but I've goggled for one to buy and can't find one. Do you happen to know where I might get one? Its not real important, its just that I like posters like that and don't usually have the wall space to hang them.

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post #8 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 02:21 PM
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Thanks, I've never even heard of "bevel up" or Bevel down" before, so I guess before actually start sharpening, I probably better learn a little more about planes before I ruin them.

It's just like the pictures you posted above. The first graphic showing either 12 or 20 degree frogs all show the blade with the bevel up. Most block planes have the frog (or bed angle) at either 20 or 12 degrees and with this low angle, the bevel of the blade is always up. Twenty degrees is a pretty standard angle, and if the angle is 12 degrees, it is referred to as a "low angle plane".

Stanley made a plane (#62) which is the size of a jack plane, but has a low angle blade and has a mechanism like their block planes. http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan9.htm#num62

Several manufacturers (Lee Valley/Veritas and Lie Nielsen for examp.) now make a series of low angle bench planes where the blade is held at 12 degrees and the iron is bevel up.

This type of configuration makes the plane(s) work well on end grain and also help with difficult grain patterns and make them good planes to use with shooting boards.

The typical Stanley/Bailey bench plane frog holds the blade at 45 degrees and these are bevel down planes like the graphic in your second picture.

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post #9 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 02:40 PM
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I have been using a General #16 for many years. It's quite a bit more complicated that the one you show.
A gift from a Master Machinist, it is intended for measuring the tip angles on drill bits.
I measure every new carving tool that I buy. What I learn determines how I keep the tools "carving sharp."
If I had to replace it, I'd buy one of the modern digital angle measuring devices.
I might still look around and get one. I can't imagine how any of them would work for saw teeth!
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post #10 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 07:14 PM
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That General in the first post is fine. I've used one like that for many years, although I cut the long leg shorter so it wouldn't interfere with the sharpening jig while the chisel or iron is in the jig. The little, magnetic, digital cube is also handy for this. Just stick it to the top of the blade.
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post #11 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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I just got back from lowe's with my new protractor and it looks alright. It was a lot smaller than I thought it was, but I don't think I need it any bigger.

I haven't actually tried to sharpen anything yet but I think my 1st try is going to be my 1 1/2" Stanley chisel. I tried to use it today and it was just pitiful. In fact too embarrassing to even show. I ended up having to open another new package, but I've always wondered if the new ones are really sharp. I've never been able to cut like I've seen in YouTube videos even with a new one right out of the package.

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post #12 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 07:54 PM
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Almost nothing is sharp enough to use brand new. A few of the most expensive planes and chisels come pretty sharp, but even they benefit from some honing.

The worst part about the new Stanley (and others I'm sure) chisels, is having to remove the thick layer of lacquer after they dip them.

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post #13 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper View Post
I want to buy a small Protractor for checking chisel & plane iron angles. Lowe's carries General 17 for $9 and I canít imagine that it has to be too terribly accurate, but there might be other uses that I don't know of yet. I haven't checked Harbor freight.

That protractor will work OK.






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post #14 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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I just discovered http://www.amazon.com/Richard-Kell-625-3000-Brass-Bevel/dp/B000CER0MK/ref=pd_sim_hi_28 and I wish I would have seen this before I bought the protector.


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post #15 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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I think I'm going to order that brass gauge anyway to go with my Sharpening Kit.


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post #16 of 26 Old 12-22-2013, 03:08 AM
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Original angle chart was posted by Darren Nelson who used to be a frequent poster here. He specialised in milling back yard trees and this was his living along with a sharpening service. Google Nelsons Woodworks and see if you can find him or do a search on the forum.
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post #17 of 26 Old 12-22-2013, 08:22 AM
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I have that little brass gauge, and never used it after the first time. The little General protractor is faster to see what you have than switching it around in the different slots to find the right one.

Use this, and get it right the first time: http://www.woodcraft.com/product/208...gauge-one.aspx

Last edited by Tom King; 12-22-2013 at 08:24 AM.
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post #18 of 26 Old 12-22-2013, 10:48 AM
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Here some pics of a bevel jig you can use with your sharpening jig.
Saves time and no need for a ruler, accurate and consistent.
You can build it with scrap wood for really nothing but your time..
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I don't have any "part planes" I keep restoring them.
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post #19 of 26 Old 12-22-2013, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom King View Post
I have that little brass gauge, and never used it after the first time. The little General protractor is faster to see what you have than switching it around in the different slots to find the right one.

Use this, and get it right the first time: http://www.woodcraft.com/product/208...gauge-one.aspx
Thanks Tom, I havenít bought the brass one yet, but I do have it in my shopping cart waiting for more stuff to add for the free shipping.
The brass looks more like what I need for chisels and the only problem that I have is the brass itself.

My sharpening kit box that I just made is based on magnets in the lid cutouts to hold everything in place and I donít know how to hold the brass in the ĺĒ Plywood Lid.
There is one question I would like to ask you since you have one is; what are the dimensions? The only thing I can find on the internet is 3Ēx1.5Ē and that just canít be correct.

Thanks for the link to Stuart Batty Tools Angle Gauge. I watched the videos, but that looks more for sharpening Gauges. I donít have a lath so it probably wouldnít work too well for me, but thanks anyway.

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post #20 of 26 Old 12-22-2013, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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Here some pics of a bevel jig you can use with your sharpening jig.
Saves time and no need for a ruler, accurate and consistent.
You can build it with scrap wood for really nothing but your time..
Thanks, I never thought of that and I can see that I will need one of those for sure.

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