I'm a total newbie, but what are they used for and what is their usual price range?
I'll start at the end and work my way back ok...
Check out the video here
The following answer is a quote from the plane maker on the web when asked how the plane was honed:
"Actually I do know the specifics of the sharpening procedure. Jameel and I are always trying new sharpening methods and recently we've come upon a method that certainly helps in creating these kind of results.
The initial grind angle is 25 degrees either hollow or straight doesn't really matter. The iron is then jigged to create a slightly higher angle when creating the primary bevel on 15u psa backed 3m micro abrasive film, the burr is wiped off on a piece of 5u film and then the honing jig is tweaked to increase the honing angle by one degree thus creating a micro bevel on the bevel side with the 5u film and any burr created at this stage is once again wiped off the back on a piece of the 5u film. Then the jig is tweaked to create an additional 1 degree steeper micro bevel that is created on either 1u or .3u film. The iron is worked bevel and back with the finer film and then is not just SCARY sharp it is FRIGHTFULLY sharp.
The idea when using this micro abrasive film is that the finer films don't have the ability to remove a lot of metal across a bigger primary or secondary bevel, but they do an excellent job of polishing a small micro bevel to an extremely fine edge.
You wouldn't want to look at the edge created with this method too long with the naked eye, your eye might start bleeding"
This is where I have purchased my 3M film in the past:
3M Micro Abrasive Film for Scary Sharpening - PSA 3M Micro Abrasive Film for Scary Sharpening - PSA at Tools for Working Wood
A couple articles on "Scary Sharp" found on the web... google will show you more though: How to Hone a Chisel - Fine Woodworking Video
Getting an Edge with Waterstones, Oilstones, and Sandpaper
Different woodworkers use different sharpening methods Getting an Edge with Waterstones, Oilstones, and Sandpaper
So, rewinding to the beginning... you use a surface plate to maintain a flat surface onto which sandpaper is mounted to grind/hone your chisels and plane irons and such. hth...
@Swallow, jd99, AxlMyk - ya, I wasn't expecting an AA slab at that price...
If it's out a couple thou from the corners, it'll be fine for my purposes, it'll be out far less @ around 3" at any point when a honing jig is holding a plane iron or chisel. Ought to be flat enough...
@harrysin - good advice sir, but I already have a 1/2" thick x 4" x 30" glass plate. A fellow at the the local glass shop gave it to me for I think ~$2. Problem was... I managed to loose it till this last weekend...
, now I'll have a good backup.