Sharpening and Setting an Early Ohio Tools Hand Plane

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If you happen across an early Ohio Tools hand plane, you might want to pick it up. These, like many other vintage hand planes make great users. They do however take a slightly different set up technique than you may be used to.

You will find a lot of Ohio Tools planes with a much thicker cutter (blade or iron).

These Irons will usually be sharpened with a much deeper angle than the typical 25 or 30 degrees you’re used to seeing. There is a good reason for this.

Thick Ohio Tools Blade

The reason for this step angle is to allow the frog to set back farther. This gives the clearance needed without opening the mouth for the thicker blade.

Without this clearance, the mouth become to tight. For a smoother, many believe a tight mouth along with the chip breaker makes the best combination. Others are not so concerned about a tight mouth, leaving the chip breaker to do the work, but hey, if you can have both, why not?

Proper frog setting for an Ohio Tool plane

To set the frog I advance the blade a little further than it would be for a fine cut with the frog screws barely tight. I then slide the frog forward and set the blade in place. Now slide the frog back until the blade hits the back of the mouth. Now carefully remove the blade without moving the frog. Tighten the frog and assemble the plane. Because you now have to retract the blade slightly, the angle of the bevel lifts the blade from touching the back of the mouth.

I also find the Ohio Tool blades to be tempered harder than most other blades. This makes flattening the back a little tougher than the typical Stanley blade. Once it’s flat, the added thickness makes them a pleasure to use though.

The Ohio Blades mic out at 3/16″ (or 12/64″) where a typical Stanley blade is about 5/64″. For reference a Hock blade is 3/32″ (or 6/64″). Added to this is the Ohio Tools has a thicker sturdier cap iron (chip breaker) and you have a pretty solid set up.

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