Fair Woodworking

February 22, 2012

The Veritas flat back test

EDITORS NOTE *** This post is experiencing 3rd party photo hosting “issues”, that will be addressed as time allows. ***


Today I made a discovery that made me a little happy.

A good while back I read about someone who did not lap the backs of their Veritas blades because they felt that just doing the “ruler trick” was enough. It seems that since I bought my Veritas Skew Rabbet Plane, I had bought into this way of thinking. When I pulled the blade from the plane I could see right away the dull grey back of the blade.

My first thought was, “I can do the test now!”, and that is a little weird. Since when did I start enjoying lapping the backs of blades!? I guess this stone flattening kick I’ve been on lately is to blame for that. If you have been reading along you won’t need another reminder of all I’ve written about it.

The big thing, is today I can show how flat my 3 stone system really is. (Yawn…)

Here we have my unlapped skewed blade, with a little crud along the cutting edge, as well as the thin back bevel from the ruler trick.

A quick test on the 1000 stone give some interesting data. Are my stones as flat as the Veritas blade?

No, they are not. You can see in the middle of the blade between the cutting edge and the hole, a small area that is not overly affected. I should point out that when lapping, I do put a little extra pressure on the cutting edge side since that is the side that matters.

While my stone was not as flat as the blade, I would say that it is not that far off from a blade that is flattened to ±0.0002”, and for that I am pretty happy.

A little more on the 1000, and it’s all a consistent finish.

I move on to the 4000 stone, and very quickly I’m left with a mirror finish.

A little more with the 8000 and we are done.

Well not really, I still had to sharpen the darned thing so I could get back to work.

All this to say that if your stones are flat, even a goof ball like myself can make quick work of lapping the backs of blades and chisels.

And now, I’ve got a panel to raise…


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