Woodworking in America video: Honing the iron for the jointer plane

Christopher Schwarz shows how to easily and properly sharpen the iron for the jointer plane. Included by popular demand, and with thanks to The Schwarz.

The question that is likely to follow is: Will a similar technique apply to the iron for the smoothing plane? Answer: Yes. You just vary the count (see below, and watch the details in the video).

In its simplest form, you count to ten (or to twenty) while honing the outermost edges. Then… Oh, heck – please watch the video.

Using this technique will make you the sharpening guru you have always wished you were – guaranteed! But you will need a $10 blade holder, and some stones, or sand paper, whatever you use to sharpen. Be consistent, and admire your sharpening skills as they move into the stratosphere — OK, I exaggerate. As a bonus, you will be able to tell your friends that you put an arc to chord of only 0.008″ (8 thousands of an inch!) on that iron – they will be impressed!

I am first to admit that in the last two years I have been doing a much better job with my blades; but from now on I will follow Schwarz’s technique of sharpening. I just know I will be able to get them much sharper than I have to date. And my arc to chord is on the money.

Please let me know:

  • Are you already a sharpening guru?
  • If you are, do you use the technique described by Schwarz in the video?
  • How do you achieve consistent, terrific sharpness on your plane irons?
  • Or have you been struggling (like me), but look forward to improve your sharpening results?

Al Navas

Right-click to download in low-res (53 MB)
Right-click to download in Quicktime format
Duration: 15:51 minutes

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  1. Auguste Gusteau says

    It seems interesting, but it is to big for my dial-up internet connection.
    Do you plan to upload a lighter version of this video?

    • Al Navas says


      Une version basse résolution est maintenant le téléchargement, et devrait être disponible plus tard cet après-midi. (poor translation?)

      In English: It is uploading now, and should be available for download later this afternoon.