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I sometimes shudder to think about all of the chisels and plane irons I’ve set up in the last 10 years. Every review has involved hours and hours of setup time, most of that flattening the back, unbeveled side of the tools. I’ve worn out a half-dozen diamond stones, several coarse waterstones and even a fine polishing stone (it was a very thin King stone, by the way).

But this weekend marked a new milestone. I brought home three Veritas bevel-up planes to set up for a forthcoming review , the jack and the new smoother and jointer. Normally, this would be five hours of work to flatten the backs, polish the backs and hone the cutting edge. But I was planning on using David Charlesworth’s “ruler trick” to slash that time considerably. The trick, in a nutshell, is to position a steel ruler on your polishing stone that elevates the iron. This polishes a small back bevel right at the cutting edge, saving time.



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