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Occasional Table Class (Hand Tool Build) #12: Freehand Sharpening Video

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Blog entry by RGtools posted 09-21-2011 03:27 PM 3397 reads 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: Sharpening with Jigs Video Part 12 of Occasional Table Class (Hand Tool Build) series Part 13: Using the tools: Lesson 1 the Winding sticks and Straightedge. »

Hope you enjoy this. By the way for those of you with slower internet connections I will be editing the video entries with written descriptions and pics so you can join the fun as well.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan



16 comments so far

View lysdexic's profile (online now)

lysdexic

4823 posts in 1277 days


#1 posted 09-22-2011 04:50 AM

RG, thanks for the video. I currently use a jig with a water stone. I find the jig kind of a pain and I’m certain that free hand is where I will end up. Your video helps.

I know this may not be the right place But… I have just a cheap combo waterstone and piece of granite now. I need to commit to a sharpening “system. Thus, right now I am struggling between waterstones and oilstones. The Shaptons look nice but water and steel is just counter-intuitive.

Look forward to following along with the class. Keep it up.

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View lysdexic's profile (online now)

lysdexic

4823 posts in 1277 days


#2 posted 09-22-2011 04:53 AM

Also, I have been grinding my primary bevel on granite and sandpaper. I find the bevel hard to sense working freehand. Does the hollow grind really make that big of a difference?

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1309 days


#3 posted 09-22-2011 03:09 PM

Both of those are very good questions. As far as your first question on water vs oil, it’s really up to you.

The waterstones cut faster and leave a brighter polish than the oilstones, but they dish out quickly and as you put it, introduce water to steel. The oilstones= dish out at a MUCH slower rate, but cut more slowly as well…to me that’s not a big deal since I try to keep my tools sharp which reduces sharpening time anyway. Also the oil is a nice perk to the steel, but I have to be vigilant about not burning my shop down.

In other words pick a system that you can live with the drawbacks and you will fall in love with it.

As far as the second question is concerned…yes it really does make a big difference. The hollow grind lets the bevel rest on two points (the tip and the back) creating a consistent angled edge is easy this way. With a straight edge it’s easier to round off the back and tip (because the center acts as a pivot) and lose your consistent angle. If I need to keep a straight bevel on a tool, such as a mortising chisel I grind the primary with a jig and either hone with the jig or occasionally touch up the micro bevel freehand.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View woodzy's profile

woodzy

416 posts in 1333 days


#4 posted 09-23-2011 04:17 PM

Thanks again.
I think i have settled down with the scary sharp method (for now) Waterstones are intruiging but the dishing and flattening aspect along with the cost have held me off until i feel my skills warrent a superior system.
Your videos are excellent. The information is invaluable.

-- Anthony

View andy6601's profile

andy6601

79 posts in 1122 days


#5 posted 09-23-2011 06:55 PM

Cool video. I really apperciate what you are doing for all of us rookies.

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1309 days


#6 posted 09-23-2011 08:15 PM

Woodzy. Scary sharp is a good way to start out, since it will free up cash in the begining for tools and wood.

Thanks Andy, I hope to do combined picture and video entries as we go along so I can help hit the different styles of learners out their. It’s quite a blast for me so I hope that LJ’s might invite me to do another class some other time….for now this one is enought to keep me more than occupied.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1309 days


#7 posted 10-02-2011 03:27 AM

This is all very good advice for those who use water stones. I still think my oil stones are the right match for me, oil stones dish too but it takes a LOT longer for it to happen.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6819 posts in 1806 days


#8 posted 10-05-2011 08:40 PM

RG, I’m leaning towards buying an Oil stone but what is stopping me is that I just read Leanard Lee’s “The Complete Guide to Sharpening”. He says that modern Arkansas stones are often contaminated with larger particle sizes. He recommends getting arkansas stones from an antique tool dealer.

Have you found this to be an issue with your Translucent Arkansas stone?

I have my eye on Pinnacle double sided Hard White/Hard Black arkansas stone at Woodcraft. It only $30 bucks for an 8”x2”x3/4” stone.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1309 days


#9 posted 10-05-2011 09:13 PM

Not a one. The two companies I can see as being good investments are the Norton wide stones (tools for working wood…see the link in post 4), and the Best company. Both seem to get the stones right. I have no personal experience with the Pinnacles but they just did not look as “polished” as the other two. Having a wider stone is a real pluss when you use jigs, but if you stick to freehand you can use just about any stone effectivly.

Hope that helps.

PS I am working on the active lesson plan right now. So glad harvest is done…ish.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View lysdexic's profile (online now)

lysdexic

4823 posts in 1277 days


#10 posted 10-07-2011 04:41 AM

RG – I’ve got a couple more questions.

Although the Arkansas stones dish out slower, what technique do you use to flatten them? Diamond plate?

I gather that stripping is an interval part of sharpening with oil stones. Why is it not mentioned with wet stones?

Is there a basic guideline in translating different Arkansas stones to waterstones grit level?

Thanks

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1309 days


#11 posted 10-07-2011 03:20 PM

I have really appreciated your comments thus far on the class Gary. All roads do lead to Rome (or sharp). I would not say any one route is better than another, I would say that one is going to fit your personality better in the long haul. I was just saying why I prefer my oilstones and know more about them than the water…which is why I tend to steer the conversation that direction. Keep chiming in! It’s appreciated….So with that said please tell me if I miss anything with Lysdexic…

Lysdexic, The good news is on an oil stone this flattening process is something you may have to do once every few years (some people never do, but I just don’t believe that’s a good idea). Diamond plate would be a GREAT way to do it, but I have a hard time spending over $100 on something I only use every couple years…if I owned water stones and was using it daily on the other hand, it would be a good investment. To flatten my stones I use Silicon carbide (wet dry) sandpaper attached to either plate glass or granite, depending one how fine my stone is I would use a grit in the range of 100-320, and I would use a little bit of kerosene to lubricate the process.

Stropping is key because oilstones don’t give as refined of a polish as water stones do straight from the stone. This is one of the “drawbacks” of oilstones that I have learned to live with. You could still strop and edge that came off of waterstones, or scary sharp, but I think the benefit would be negligible.

I have not done a comparison on grit from oil to water since the quality of oilstones tends to vary quite a bit. I would just say that the system for oil stones you need a medium stone (medium India), semi fine stone (Soft Arkansas) and fine stone (Hard Translucent)..but systems vary based on the worker. You may want a coarser stone because you often work woods that chip your steal. You might want a finer system because you are dovetailing in white pine and you want your end grain to look perfect without sanding. Choose a method that fits you and stick to it…modify it until it suits you perfectly.

Hope this helps a bit.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6819 posts in 1806 days


#12 posted 10-07-2011 05:48 PM

I’ve been doing some reading on the subject and the reason I am going to get an oils stone is that I dont like the constant faltening and disosablity of water stones. I know they cut faster and can be a lot finer than Arkansas stones. Some charts show a hard black AR stone to be equivalent to a 6000 grit Japanese stone but its a natural product so there is variablility. If you strop afterwards with Chromium Oxide compound or .5 micron lapping film that gets you to around 10,000 grit on the Japanese grading system.

Cheap harbor freight diamond plates are another way to flatten stones.

Here is a great conversion chart I found that show the US, Japanes, grit conversion and Micron size. It also relates them back to sharpening stones. http://www.evenfallstudios.com/metrology/grit_size_comparisons.html

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1309 days


#13 posted 10-07-2011 08:09 PM

I was trying to find that same chart this morning, Thanks Mauricio.

This weeking I will start posting the active lessons….really looking forward to it.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View DylanC's profile

DylanC

122 posts in 1329 days


#14 posted 11-18-2011 04:48 AM

I’ve only just started following this class tonight and am very interested. I’ve been leaning towards getting good with a few hand tools rather than fill my shop (and empty my checkbook) with power tools that are usually only really good at one task. So this series has really got me interested. The video above, though, make me a true believer in RG’s “expertise.” But it wasn’t the sharpening technique, it was the coffee mug sitting on his bench. I took one just like this to Afghanistan and lost it after leaving it on the roof of a Humvee. I bought two more so I would have a spare.

Getting back on track, I’ve been looking at getting a set of chisels to get started. Now I’m thinking that a whole set might be overkill. On the flip side I just bought my first block plane, and am dreading buying anything larger. Mostly because the good ones cost so much.

Thanks for the time you’ve put in on this class. It’s efforts like yours (and others) that help fill in the blanks for guys like me. Blanks that can really only be filled by folks who’ve built up years of experience.

-- Dylan C ...Seems like all ever I make is sawdust...

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1309 days


#15 posted 11-18-2011 04:24 PM

Dylan. Hands down the most bulletproof design for a coffee mug ever. I broke several before I found this one… I beat the heck out of the thing.

Hand tools are a much cheaper route to woodworking (compare a top of the line shop to another and you will see what I mean), so I think you have the right idea. If you can afford the whole set of chisels go for it, you will need the all eventually…however to get started, a good 3/8” and 1” bevel edge chisel, and a good 1/4 inch mortice chisel are really worth the money. You can buy other chisels one size at a time as you need them.

Planes are pricey, just no getting around that. Either you spend a chunk of change or a chunk of time tuning them up (or a chunk of time to build). The being said, you can totally get away with a vintage plane for your jack, look for the cleanest heaviest Stanley 5 you can find. I paid $25 for mine and all I did was sharpen the thing and put it to work. Jointers and Smoothers are a bit more refind and require a good adjustment, flat beds and good irons. Get a premium jointer if you can afford it (flattening an old jointer bed is no fun), or find one that is a good wooden one that you can true up the sole easily. A smoother is pretty easy to clean up (still takes time though), grab the oldest best looking Stanley you can find and clean it up, buy a new blade for it and put it to work.

That’s a full set of planes (including the block)...you don’t need a lot of tools so if you can, grab good ones.

Glad you are enjoying the class.

Happy shavings,

Ryan

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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