Sharpening Station #3: Sharpening: How I do it.

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Blog entry by DoctorDan posted 06-16-2010 12:43 PM 1632 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Initial Thoughts Part 3 of Sharpening Station series no next part

It cannot be overstated how paramount the sharpness of your tools is to the quality, speed and enjoyment of your woodworking. Like most however I can’t say sharpening the most enjoyable aspect of the hobby. My tips to make your sharpening easier and less painful are: find a system you like and get good at it, have a dedicated space or have equipment close at hand, and remember small amounts often is easier.

There is lots of great information about the many sharpening systems out there, I won’t try to repeat it all. However, I will tell you how I go about sharpening and hope that helps.

Here’s what and how I sharpen – Sharpening: How I do it.

-- Daniel -

5 comments so far

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3034 days

#1 posted 06-16-2010 12:55 PM

Geez, where were you like a year ago? I piddled around with “scary sharp” before I settled on and have become comfortable with basically the method you’ve outlined.

Have you ever tried going beyond 8000 with compound or strop? Do you think it makes any difference?

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View DoctorDan's profile


281 posts in 3039 days

#2 posted 06-16-2010 01:06 PM

Yeah I used oil stones then scary sharp. They work. But I prefer my water stones.

I haven’t gone beyond 8000. Seems to be what lie nielsen and shatpon recommend. However, I was reading this article 'Is the Tormek a Grinder or a Sharpener, and are 30K grits for Wankers?' and Derek, whose opinion I respect, seems to think there is benefit.

-- Daniel -

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#3 posted 06-16-2010 07:12 PM

I know there are lots of sharpening systems out there and many work very well but my experience is sharp is sharp enough. What does that mean ? If your chisel of gouge or whatever cuts the materials your working on then that’s good enough the systems that go up to 30,000 grit are gimmicks , the edge looks pretty and shiny but does it cut that much better I don’t think so .Tage Frig a world renown woodworker and teacher use to turn his belt sander over sharpen his chisel for about 20 seconds and go back to work. Is that good enough for me ? No I have a work sharp an go up to about 320 grit that works for me. If others feel like they need to go to 200,000 grit that’s up to them but I seriously doubt they will cut better than my 320 grit sharpening.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2964 days

#4 posted 06-16-2010 09:41 PM

Agree with you a1Jim. This whole sharpening story can become quite out of proportion. You should see some of the work that come out of “darkest Africa”. These guys make little adzes from flattened 6” nails or whatever they can find and sharpen on a rock!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View antmjr's profile


262 posts in 3208 days

#5 posted 06-17-2010 09:10 AM

I totally concur with you about some maniacal attitudes (I’m not referring to anyone here). I for one think it’s extremely important to hold the chisel firmly while sharpening, I use a honing guide. For this reason I’d prefer large and long stones, if I had to buy one. Actually I use a couple of long wet bands of sandpaper on a sheet of glass, and an old oil stone just to “refresh” the sharpening from time to time while working

-- Antonio

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