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My Sharpening Station Copyright 2-11-2007 Karson Morrison

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Blog entry by Karson posted 02-11-2007 08:21 PM 12225 reads 67 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve noticed some Blogs and questions about sharpening chisels and I thought I give you my experiences and what I’ve designed.

I’m getting ready to teach a sharpening workshop for the Mason-Dixon Woodworkers club and I was working on my setup and techniques.

I own the Tormek Sharpening System , the Makita Sharpening System . I’ve used The Scary Sharp System and I build a modified Scary Sharp setup using cast iron plates and silicon carbide granules on the coarser grits and diamond paste on the finer grits. I’ve used 3M diamond discs and 3M polishing disks that are used in the Optical Fiber industry to polish the glass fibers prior to joining together.

I own the Veritas Grinding Jig and the Veritas Sharpening system and the Veritas MK II Honing Guide

They all work. Some are faster than others, but nothing that I’ve tried gets it as sharp as the one that I’ve devised.

I won’t say that I invented it, or that I improved upon it. Because, I’ve never seen anything like it.

Here is a picture of my sharpening station

It’s made up of a 3/4hp 3400 RPM electric motor from an old washing machine and it has an Aluminum shaft extension from Beall Tool It has a 5/8” mounting hole and a 3/8”X16 threads in the other end. If you purchase this tool throw away his reducer to ½” and get a brass reducer. (I had to use emory paper to get it to fit, placed it on the motor and sanded away until it fit.) The electric box has a switch that turns on the motor and one of the plugs so that if I want to use a light it will come on when the motor comes on. The other plug is hot all of the time.

The disks are 6” ¾” MDF that I cut with a hole saw, I then drilled out the center hole using a forsner bit to allow the bolt head and washer to be below the surface. I then drilled a 3/8” hole through and used an appropriate bolt and washers and tightened it all up. These disks then screw on to the end of the Beall Tool Extension and align straight against the shoulder of the extension. I then used sandpaper to true up the edge of the wheel because it will vibrate at first. It is possible to use two or three disks to make it thicker if you wanted to sharpen turning chisels on the edge of the wheel. You could also form the wheel with sandpaper to conform to the shape you want.

I use mainly the side of the wheel. I’ve made up wheels with different grits

And

I use polishing compound that I bought from Grizzly I purchased an assortment of grits Course (Black) Medium (Tripoli) and the two green ones (Polishing).

I first tried to use the spinning disk to apply the polish and it went all over the workbench. So I now keep the disk stopped and rub it with the polishing compound like using an eraser on paper.

I will true up the irons on a sharpening stone with the Pinnacle honing guide to get the correct bevel on the iron and then I’ll use my setup to get the finished edge.

I Polish the back

Maybe only an 1/8” of an inch. It really only needs to be a few thousands back from the actual edge. I’ll use a sharpie to color the metal to insure that I’m holding it correctly on the wheel. (Note: use your sandpaper to smooth the edge of the wheel so you don’t have a sharp edge to polish a gouge in the back of the chisel. If you touch the chisel on the corner of the spinning disk first you get a bright mark very fast.

When I hold for the cutting edge. I always (at least always try) to put the shoulder of the cutting edge to the wheel first and then change the angle where I’m sharpening the cutting edge

.

NOTE: Safety note make sure that the MDF disk is spinning away from you. You don’t want the chisel to cut into the wheel and go flying at you or around the shop. I have mine spinning away on the top of the wheel. This is different from a grinding wheel that cuts toward you.

It’s a matter of front to back a few times and then to a different grit. I have the machine off and I hold the mandrel with my hand and final polish the chisel against the wheel. You could also setup a final touch up pad on your workbench with the extra fine polishing compound to re-hone the chisel or plane while you are using it.

I’ve been able to get consistently 1.5 Thousands shavings full width and full length on walnut and pine.

(I’ve not tried other species yet) I’ve also not tried Graham Blackburn’s method of sitting the plane on the board and letting it cut full width and full length by sliding down the inclined board.

I do use the Tormek and the Veritas jigs to get the correct bevel on the chisels and plane irons prior to final sharpening. I have nicks and cuts all over my hand from trying sharp chisels. BE CAREFUL. I have since sold the Tormek to another LJ so all of the original bevels are done with a Verata Honing Guide and a Diamond Plate.

You could also mount the wheels on a grinder but it would not be as fast to change the wheels as it is with the Beal Tool Extension. Lee Jesberger uses something similiar on his Shopsmith lathe.

Copyright 2-11-2007 Karson Morrison

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †



35 comments so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2967 days


#1 posted 02-11-2007 08:33 PM

Buffing with MDF…Thanks Karson

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 2791 days


#2 posted 02-11-2007 08:41 PM

Karson – Thank you for this very interesting and detailed blog. This will be a great reference.

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 2979 days


#3 posted 02-11-2007 08:41 PM

What a fantastic (and timely) post. Thanks for the info.

I’ve been struggling with a felt and cotton wheel I mounted to an old craftsman motor (powered my grandfathers old – and frightening – table saw).

I can get a descent edge, but the wheels always wobble if I put too much pressure. I do need more lessons, or practice at the very least. I like how you can use the side for flattening the back. Perhaps I can give this a shot, and give up on the jig I’m making for using with sandpaper, and never need the $100 jig Woodcraft just added to their catalog.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Karson's profile

Karson

34875 posts in 3053 days


#4 posted 02-11-2007 10:16 PM

For those of you who have lathes. If you could turn a holding mount that you could put on and take off and runs true, you could mount the MDF to that mount and use your lathe as the power source.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 2979 days


#5 posted 02-11-2007 10:26 PM

Brilliant!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Dollarbill's profile

Dollarbill

91 posts in 2790 days


#6 posted 02-11-2007 10:58 PM

Wow Karson, If your machine gets things sharper than a Tormex, that is amazing. I would be afraid to use anything that sharp.

Bill

-- Make Dust

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 2979 days


#7 posted 02-11-2007 11:06 PM

Nah, sharper tools are “safer”

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2952 days


#8 posted 02-11-2007 11:29 PM

Thanks for the info Karson. I’ve never sharpened any of my carving chisel with power. It may be time to try some power. I’ve looked at systems such as you have, & they’re a heck of a lot cheaper than manufactured stuff.
I would also like to apologize to everybody for the Fine woodworking links I’ve been posting. I didn’t realize that you had to be a member of their on-line magazine to see them.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View Karson's profile

Karson

34875 posts in 3053 days


#9 posted 02-11-2007 11:34 PM

It is shure a lot cheaper to build and to maintain. $0.25 for MDF and whatever polishing compound you use. Grizzly has a polishing compound for Polyester finishes. The are used for Guitar finishing. It’s cost $28.00 And another at $27.00 for Stainless steel, brass and Copper. But the ones that I use were $3.00 and $5.00 each for 1lb bars. I’ve also got one from Sears that’s 20 years old for a cost of 3.95 for 4 bars.

An additional way of getting the MDF disks is to use a bandsaw or skill saw to cut to a rough circle and then true it up with sandpaper.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Karson's profile

Karson

34875 posts in 3053 days


#10 posted 02-11-2007 11:41 PM

Dick:

One of the links that I looked at, the JoolTool. referenced in your carving Chisel blog talked about leaving a bur on the inside of the lathe chisels. Is that standard practice and on hand carving are all of the burs removed. I think it would be quite easy to form an MDF wheel to fit both the inside and outside on the same wheel. It might require a double wheel (2 layers of MDF) but being able to sharpen both inside and outside without having to change wheels could be an advantage. Once they are sharp you would probably only need the fine green buffing compound.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2952 days


#11 posted 02-12-2007 12:21 AM

Karson:
You do get a burr on the inside. On my shallower gouges I strop them on the rounded backside of my strop. I usually fold or roll a piece of fine emory for the smaller, & pull the chisel through. I’ve seen a system where you make inverted grooves on a board to match each gouge, then use stropping compound, but I think an MDF wheel would work better. You could make multiple inverted grooves on one wheel. I guess I’ll make me a wheel. I already have an arbor I can use on my lathe.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2889 days


#12 posted 02-12-2007 12:34 AM

So, Karson. I’m curious as to why you’d continue to buy sharpening systems after you buy the first one. I do my sharpening by hand and I know that one day I’ll move on to power, but then I’m sure I wouldnt buy three or four. In fact I like the Karson Sharpening System. I’m not one that prefers bells and whistles. I like functionality. ANd once I saw Don’s sliding table saw sled, I made one, and when it started to take a little effort to get it thorugh, I just waxed it and now it slides beautifully. Oh, and instead of car wax, I used Johnson Paste Wax.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2952 days


#13 posted 02-12-2007 12:41 AM

Hey Obi,
Karson has an excuse, don’t you know? Karson’s a toolman. LOL

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2813 days


#14 posted 02-12-2007 01:18 AM

at the woodshow the Tormek representative asked Rick how he sharpens his tools and he said “I don’t” .... we aren’t at that point yet.. still looking into the lathes. We then stood through a 20 minute demonstration. The gentleman wasn’t the best of presenters and I lost interest in the whole thing and was wondering if this Tormek thing was worth the investment. Never thought about coming here and asking the “experts”.. Silly me…
Karson, you use the Tormek and then the Karson system??

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Karson's profile

Karson

34875 posts in 3053 days


#15 posted 02-12-2007 01:42 AM

I use the Tormek to get the initial angle on the chisel. Like 25 degrees. But I’ve never gotten a sufficiently sharp tool. It looks easy but it does take a long time. I’ve spent 20-30 minutes on one chisel.

Obi: nothing ever seemed fast enough nor sharp enough. The Scarey Sharp system and the cast Iron Scary sharp sustem that I made worked but again slow. Then stropping it on the 3M Diamond and 3M polishing films did give a great edge. But you can’t push the edge into the sharpening film because you cut right through the plastic backing. You have the draw in into the sharpening edge. Slow but sharp.

I was still looking for speed, and easy. This is the easiest that I’ve found and the power doesn’t make the tool hot except for heavy cutting on the coarse grit. I’ve seen some sparks on the black cutting action. Nowhere have I seen the grit combination for the polishing rouges.

I was thinking about trying a 400 or 600 grit PSA sanding disk for first cutting on some really dull and misaligned chisles. But, I’ve not tried it yet. A few more disks to cut.

I might also fill in the bolt hole with Bondo to make it smooth to get a better contact with the PSA paper. You (or me) could also make an alignment jig to allow you to hold the chisel in the correct place for initial sharpening. Then you could use the polishing for the micro-bevel. and final polishing.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

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