but found I could never get the blade mounted the same way twice.
I was all set to order a Veritas guide from Lee Valley:
when it occured to me that one feature of the new one that my existing guide lacked was the ability to set the same distance (and thus angle) each time. So I went to work and built a jig to let me do this.
As near as I can tell, the "preferred" angle for planes is from 25 to 30 degrees. The 25 makes a finer cut but the edge doesn't last as long. And or the 30 can be used to "micro bevel" a 25 degree blade. So now it's just a simple matter of pulling off the blade, slipping it in the jig and about 10 or so passes on 3 grades of wet sand paper, and I'm back to very, very sharp. Since the same angle is repeated, it takes almost no time to sharpen the blades.
BTW, I'm now sporting an arsenal consisting of Stanley #4 and #5 bench planes, and 9 1/2 and 60 1/2 block planes. Absolutely amazing what really sharp blades in these tools can do.