Sharpening and Setting the Bench Plane | Paul Sellers

  • Published on Jul 23, 2015
  • Paul Sellers shows how he sharpens and sets a bench plane in his every day of work. A quick and easy guide to get your bench plane working.
  • Howto & StyleHowto & Style

Comments • 430

  • Paul Sellers
    Paul Sellers  5 months ago +3

    To see a beginner friendly guide on how to sharpen a plane, visit our sister site Common Woodworking:
    For more information on Paul Sellers, see or for more project videos

  • ghass
    ghass 7 days ago

    we're so lucky to have you Paul Sellers

  • Peter Morgan
    Peter Morgan 10 days ago

    Lovely video this

  • Big Paradox
    Big Paradox 11 days ago

    Thanks Paul, this was a very valuable demonstration. One really gets a good understanding of the whole process, with lots of details.

  • Geoffrey Maddison
    Geoffrey Maddison 13 days ago

    This is a lot to take in, you make it look and sound so easy. Could you please let me know what constitutes a No. 4 plane from a No. 5 or No. 3. How can I tell what size of plane I have. It was my father's, I also have a wooden plane that is about a foot long. Great video, hope I can emulate your actions. Kindest regards Geoff Maddison SR8

  • thomas watson
    thomas watson 15 days ago


  • Bob Cairns
    Bob Cairns 16 days ago

    Wow ,thank you for showing me how to sharpen my plane,s 3 oil stones in a row and window cleaner, the angle was always a mystery to me,

  • Stephen Moore
    Stephen Moore Month ago +1

    What type of diamond stones are you using please and how much, thank you

  • Diecasts & Dioramas
    Diecasts & Dioramas Month ago +1

    Just a quick question on Stropping. When my father taught me, about 35 years ago, this method for sharpening tools and knive. When he taught me, he explained to me that you strop on the "rough" side of the leather. Although it's really not that rough but it definitely not smooth. But lately I've been seeing videos that say you should use the smooth side of the leather. Which is correct or does it even matter? Also, thank you for this video as well. I'm new in using different hand tools and I feel it's best to know both power tools and hand tools. Again, my father taught me about various hand tools and wouldn't let me use power tools until I understood what hand tools do first. Of course back then I didn't see the point of doing all that hard work when power tools made it so much easier. But now being older, and hopefully wiser, I see the point of using hand tools.

    • EatenByAGrue
      EatenByAGrue 19 days ago

      @Diecasts & Dioramas you're very welcome. Paul's sharing so much, I'm glad to have helped in a small way.

    • Diecasts & Dioramas
      Diecasts & Dioramas 19 days ago +1

      @EatenByAGrue Thank you and great explanation. I guess when My dad taught me it was pretty much pocket knives and shop tools and never anything razor like. So maybe that's why he taught me that way. ALTHOUGH, I was a teen at the time so it's very possible he taught exactly what you shared. LoL I do remember him mentioning barber shops. Thank you again, I understand better now.

    • EatenByAGrue
      EatenByAGrue 19 days ago +1

      It's mostly preference whether to use the grain (smooth) or suede (rough) sides. Some people think the suede holds honing compound better, others say the grain gives a better polish. I tend to think the grain works best for low bevel angles like razors while suede works better for normal tools and knives. Give each a shot and see which you prefer. Leather's pretty cheap.

  • Judy Thomas
    Judy Thomas Month ago

    Very informative thanks Paul. BUT what is the very least materials i can use to sharpen a blade on the cheap ?.

    • EatenByAGrue
      EatenByAGrue 19 days ago

      @Judy Thomas you're very welcome

    • Judy Thomas
      Judy Thomas 19 days ago

      @EatenByAGrue Thank you .

    • EatenByAGrue
      EatenByAGrue 19 days ago

      If you can afford one diamond plate, a 400 grit will get you to a sharpness that you'll be happy with.
      If not, get some sandpaper in the 400 grit range and tape/glue it to something hard and flat, like a pane of glass or ceramic tile.
      I recommend the diamond plate if you can though. It'll save you money in the long run if you do any regular sharpening.

  • pjeball
    pjeball Month ago

    I can only concur with the comments below; this gentleman knows what he is doing. If only I could download his head into mine! I guess I can only do it one great RU-clip lesson at a time. Thank you Paul!

  • Frikkie Nel
    Frikkie Nel Month ago

    It's funny how you just said not to put your plane on it's side, bad practice. The argument For putting it on it's side made sense but for any controlled environment where you don't just have screws and nails strewn about, keeping the damned thing true makes more sense!

  • Anti-theist
    Anti-theist 2 months ago

    You wound back the blade but didn't return the thumbscrew back to take up the slack. The blade can continue to decrease as the plane is pushed forward. No mention of 30, 35 degree grinding angles?

  • Edward Bernays
    Edward Bernays 2 months ago

    Good one buddy....
    I loved it. good man. hope you live well on prosper, after that video awesome.

  • Mark Stewart
    Mark Stewart 2 months ago

    Superb actually a work of art,I would live to get a plane set up to that standard it would make jobs so much easier.

  • paul cane
    paul cane 2 months ago

    Hi..where can i get those diamond sharpening plates from please? TYIA

  • Terry Richards
    Terry Richards 2 months ago +1

    Love your videos! You remind me of a furniture maker teacher I had in woodworking school long time ago, his advice # 1, "Spend time to sharp your tools"....

  • Don Brenneman
    Don Brenneman 2 months ago

    Are you aware of any videos that show a smoothing plane in an actual productions setting? There are numerous videos about many types of planes from how to refurbish then to how to make them for example via the Krenov approach. Most of these videos show working on planes from start to finish with the "finish" showing the planes creating wispy shavings basically on wood ideal to demonstrate ideal performance but not in actual application. I can find nothing that shows planes in actual practice. I am specifically interested in observing how a smoothing plane is used and what the shavings and finish look like. I just built a Krenov-style smoothing plane and can get paper thin shavings but have no idea of what using this plane would look like. I can't envision building a cabinet a producing long uniform shavings like typical idealized presentations. Could you please comment on this question? Thanks.

  • Nial Ball
    Nial Ball 3 months ago

    Excellent videos Paul, thanks. I know this video is quite old but I have a question. I have a cheap plane and I've been working on the sole and blade to get it into shape - to be fair on the thing it is starting to perform okay. It's a Magnuson I think - B&Q special? Anyway, sharpening... whenever I sharpen a blade (plane or chisel) it has a tendancy to sharpen out of square! Is it because my left arm is stronger than my right? I use a Veritas II jig for the chisels but I don't have the attachment for plane blades so I use a cheap single wheel guide set to 25 degrees. Is it possibly that the guide is not clamping the blade square? Any help would be great.

  • yogin tickoo
    yogin tickoo 4 months ago +1

    "I can hear the thickness" Enough said! :)

  • 77transam1
    77transam1 4 months ago +1

    "You sharpen to task." I love that!! Thank you Mr. Sellers for an excellent video! Subscribed! 😃

  • Seth Warner
    Seth Warner 4 months ago

    "swarph"? equals metal debris?

  • Brian Rowland
    Brian Rowland 5 months ago

    I love the low key no BS presentation - proves excellent results can be obtained without high expense sharpening tools or a high end plane.
    Makes fine woodworking accessible to anyone prepared to roll up the sleeves and learn!
    Thanks again for sharing.

  • Jim Staton
    Jim Staton 6 months ago

    How do you feel about new Stanley #4 planes? I can buy one for about the same price as a used one of unknown history and age off EBAY.

  • 738polarbear
    738polarbear 6 months ago

    I have found that a light TAP on the plane iron is a better method of adjusting than the lateral levers. Take that advice forwhat its worth . Most people put TOO much adjustment with the lever . A light tap to the side of the blade is WAY MORE ACCURATE.

  • Matt Conlon
    Matt Conlon 6 months ago

    I finally know how to adjust and use a hand plane! Thank you - this is the most rewarding woodworking tool I've used. Such a nice feel.

  • Thomas Glover
    Thomas Glover 6 months ago

    I don’t think about micro bevel I want to get back to wood working..... can tell you were taught by good ol English woodworkers

  • Mahesh Suthar
    Mahesh Suthar 6 months ago

    Dear Paul, Thank you very very much for good knowledge, and sharing video on RU-clip

  • P Dog
    P Dog 7 months ago

    I just bought a plane to take down the side of my door that is sticking against the frame. But what??? It says I have to hone the blade before use??? Why wouldn't it be ready for use out of the box? Now I have to buy a stone or rod???

  • James White
    James White 7 months ago

    What did you apply to the leather for stropping? Either I missed it, or you didn't mention. Wax?

  • Raghunathan Asari Raghavan

    Very good presentation with good sound and accent to understand the speech for everyone. Thanks for not having a background music.

  • cochinaable
    cochinaable 7 months ago +1

    Very well done video. Clear, concise and direct. Great job. I picked an old Craftsman plane from an old timer here for under $4... rusty and old and am restoring it. This is my first ever metal plane and your video has educated me so much on how to adjust and work it. How can I tell the model number of my plane? Thank you.

  • Nicol Bunyan
    Nicol Bunyan 7 months ago

    Excellent video what stones do you use and what do you think of Tormek sharpening systems thankyou

    • Ben Lawver
      Ben Lawver 7 months ago

      He uses diamond plates 600 800 1200 grit I think

  • Yuejin Luo
    Yuejin Luo 7 months ago

    Every time I watch, I pick up a few more tips.

  • JHZR2
    JHZR2 7 months ago

    Do you always set the camber and corners the same, regardless of how you’re using the plane? If smoothing does it change? Also, do you plane to a finish-worthy surface, or do you still follow up with sandpaper or something else? Thanks!

  • Boozoo Chavis
    Boozoo Chavis 8 months ago

    I keep coming back to these older videos just as a refresher ... they are brilliant!! No fuss, no mess, no blah - easy peasey and back to work. Thanks Mr. Sellers, this method is the polar opposite of how I learned to sharpen and works so much better than the faffy techniques I was taught originally.

  • DreidMusicalX
    DreidMusicalX 8 months ago

    If you don't mind me asking. I might have missed one of you video covering it, but What type of stones do you use?

  • Kim B
    Kim B 8 months ago

    Hi Paul, just purchased my first plane. Any suggestions on where to purchase the sharpening stones? They are called honing stones, correct? As opposed to the stones used to sharpen knives? Thank you for the time, effort and conciseness you put in your videos. Easy learning for beginners!

  • Graham Wright
    Graham Wright 8 months ago

    Another brilliant tutorial.I have been using a plane that I restored watching one of your other videos and I have just completed my first project using my restored and brilliantly sharp plane thanks ever so much Paul its made my life and work so much better.

  • Chris Rowley
    Chris Rowley 9 months ago

    I have not found anything proper positioning of the frog. Any advice?

  • Dave Lester
    Dave Lester 9 months ago +1

    Great video, but what are the stones? The intensity of abrasion? I do not know what to go to the store and buy, also I saw you rub some compound on them, what was that? Could I use wet and dry sandpaper instead as I do not have the stones yet?

    • bryant patterson
      bryant patterson 9 months ago

      Watch it again Dave. Paul discusses the grit, and the compound is just glass cleaner, for lubrication. EZlap sharpening stones. Available on Amazon. Oh and yes, wet sand, sandpaper on a true flat surface such as glass will work fine sir.

  • Tim Pidgeon
    Tim Pidgeon 9 months ago

    For a block plane, should I round over the back corners or keep it flat?

  • DiGiaCom Tech
    DiGiaCom Tech 9 months ago

    @10:50 ... "Don't set your plane on it's side, it resets the plane" ... are you kidding? How does it reset the plane? I was taught to ALWAYS set the plane on it's side so that you DON'T DULL or CHIP the blade or DON'T knock the blade out of alignment. Though you can retract the blades easily on some on planes it's also good to get in the habit of setting a plane on it's side as this will prevent the two most common things that either damage the plane (the blade) and/or put the plane (the blade) out of alignment.

  • Richard Anderson
    Richard Anderson 9 months ago

    "Until the pain is shooting up your arm.." LOL!

  • Bob Nickason
    Bob Nickason 9 months ago

    How to true up the chip breaker on a restored Stanley # six bench plane?

  • TwoWander
    TwoWander 10 months ago

    Thank you for this video. I enjoy the wisdom of a lifetime of work in any certain area. I am a beginner and have two restored bench planes from an antique store. As I was watching sharpening videos I was intimidated by the cost of the stones, guides, strops, pastes that were presented by others. This video has once again taught me frugality is still possible in woodworking. Again, thank you.

  • jason
    jason 10 months ago

    Love this one, I’ve watched it 4 times now.

  • Ryan McCue
    Ryan McCue 10 months ago +1

    Thank you for always sharing your knowledge Paul.

  • Hassan Al-Mosawi
    Hassan Al-Mosawi 10 months ago

    Thanks for showing & sharing that

  • Mike Griffin
    Mike Griffin 10 months ago +3

    A lifelong dream of mine was to do woodworking in retirement. Now that I am here, I have discovered these priceless videos from Paul. Through his incredible teaching and insights, I am able to enjoying woodworking with hand tools within the constraints of my budget. Amazing what you can do with a Stanley plane and a Stanley chisel that is properly sharpened and adjusted. Thanks Paul.

    PAULBUILT IRELAND 11 months ago

    Ive definitely watched this video 10 times plus, best instructor on RU-clip

  • yoheff988
    yoheff988 11 months ago

    Short and to the point, works beautifully Thanks


    Best man to come to for solid advice, thanks Paul 👍You are the best

  • Robert Swift
    Robert Swift Year ago

    Very simply and well explained, thank you.

  • Bill G
    Bill G Year ago

    I am very grateful for your videos. You are teaching me things I should have learned 50 years ago

  • cahenderson0812
    cahenderson0812 Year ago

    Paul you really are one of a kind. You've helped me and so many others dramatically improve our lives in the shop

  • John Mckell
    John Mckell Year ago

    Do you recommend using abrasive paper to sharpen irons?

    • Paul Sellers
      Paul Sellers  Year ago

      You can use any abrasive. The question is longevity.

  • Christopher Araya

    You really couldn’t have put it more clear or in more complete sensibility.

  • Gustavo Aragon Garcia

    Paul i am a newbee in the carpentry, i need your help i have a waterstone king 1200 and king 6000 i try yo flatten the back of the plane blade but i polish it but the back does not get polish it remains dark why Is that how can i Fix this, i am doing something wrong but i do not know what can RU-clip help me please sorry for my English!!

    • Ravaxr
      Ravaxr 11 months ago

      Sounds like your stones are way too fine to really reshape a blade. You want to start rough so you're cutting quickly and efficiently, not wasting your waterstone's thickness. Once the shape is there, then use higher grits to polish away the scratch marks.

  • Silver Fox
    Silver Fox Year ago

    Someone tell Paul about the veritas honing guide!!!???? 😂😂

    • David RustyLouis
      David RustyLouis 11 months ago

      Silver Fox - Master carpenters/woodworkers have been sharpening their tools (including plane irons) for over 1000 years without any need for a honing "guide". With practice, one develops the skill to sharpen tools by hand making a $60 Veritas guide unnecessary......for example, Paul Sellers.