STL271: Making Dull > Getting Sharp


Question 1:

From Luke:
Two quick questions. Every vintage plane discussion on this show typically includes a recommendation to “throw a hock iron in there and get to work.” So, what is a hock iron and why do I need one vs another manufacturer?

Hock Factory Tour

In this exclusive video, Ron Hock shows you where his legendary plane blades are made

Question 2:

From Darren:
Hello Shop Talk
I have been woodworking for many years and I have somehow got away without cutting any dovetails. I would like to fix that and gave myself a goal this year to learn how to cut them.

I notice in some videos the person uses a small rabbet to align the tail board over the pin board during the transfer. In many of the videos I see they use a rabbet block plane. I have a couple questions;

Do you suggest this method of paring to align the tail board? Is to align the only reason?

If so; I have a Record No. 778 Fillester Plane, a Record 311 shoulder plane and a chisel. Is there a preferred method for cutting this rabbet and what depth?



All-time favorite tools of all time… for this week

Ben – Starrett English/Metric 300mm ruler
Vic – The most adorable oil can ever
Megan – UV flashlight for finding cat pee errant glue on a project

Question 3:

From Damon:
I use mostly bevel up planes, and hone the irons to different bevel angles depending upon the purpose. I picked up a slow speed grinder and Veritas tool rest to help more quickly establish the primary bevels. Is there any reason not to just stick with a 25 degree primary bevel for everything, even if I’m going to hone at 40 degrees? I’m wondering if there’s any benefit to the extra meat behind the cutting edge with a steeper grind. It would seem that Veritas thinks so since they offer blades with a 38 degree primary bevel.

Grind and get back to work – fast

For Megan Fitzpatrick, there is simply no faster way to remove a chip from a blade or erase a too-large secondary bevel than a high-speed wheel grinder.

Call in question:

From Antonio:
I have a question I don’t think has been answered on the show previously. I live in Buffalo, NY and weather is a factor in my question about the need for a new shop.

My wife and I are soon to move into a new house and I’m a little torn on what I want to do for my shop space. I’m a hobby woodworker, with a fairly good setup right now in a detached single car garage that is too small to house either of our cars, thereby giving me the latitude to put my workshop out there. I have a standard handful of larger tools: tablesaw, planer, small bandsaw, sander, lathe, dust collector. With the addition of a couple of rolling tool boxes for hand tools, planes, chisels etc. Ideally I’d like to add a couple other larger tools like a jointer and upgraded bandsaw/saw stop in the future.

The new house has an attached garage, with no out building large enough to hold my tools and for the intended furniture making. My dilemma is: do I setup my small attached garage, with easy access to wiring (adding 220v), as well as the abilty/ease of adding some sort of heating when the budget will allow, and keep everything on wheels? Since we would like to use the garage for car storage in the winter, by pushing all the tools against the walls when needed. And also making it easier, as well as increasing my willingness to go out to the garage on the 5 or so months of below optimal shop temperatures. Additionally I could likely get into this setup quickly, and without much effort from my current setup. The main downside is that it is directly below what will be our sons bedroom. Keep in mind my woodworking will be mostly nights and weekends, escaping on what feels like borrowed time!

OR, do I put my short term efforts into building a substantially sized shed/outbuilding to be my primary shop location. Luckily I have the yard space, and the budget could likely be agreed upon by the better half. But this would be a full ground-up build, electrical, foundation, literally everything. But this would be completely dedicated space, exactly to my specs. The downside would be that heating, or getting it to a comfortable temp, during the aforementioned winter months. And for short periods of shop time may be difficult to heat, thereby decreasing my likelihood of actually going out there when it’s cold.


Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking staffers answers questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking‘s biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to [email protected] for consideration in the regular broadcast! Our continued existence relies upon listener support. So if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a five-star rating and maybe even a nice comment on our iTunes page.

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