Tips #1: Sharpening

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by drknoxy posted 11-24-2008 10:28 PM 1413 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Tips series Part 2: Sharp Enough »

Great link on how to sharpen and get a “scary” edge, tried it up to 150 grit and it was pretty scary. I don’t want to imagine a few thousand.

spoiler: sticky sided sandpaper on glass (for a flat surface)

Article by Taunton Press via FineWoodworking

-- Knoxy for short

2 comments so far

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 3933 days

#1 posted 11-25-2008 04:07 AM

Some feedback from someone who has used the scary sharp method for a few years:

1. I do not use glue, spray adhesive or adhesive backed paper: The glue will pick up trash which translates through the surface of the paper. I just spray the glass (I first used glass but now use a granite block) with a spritz of water from a windex bottle, lay the paper on it and then spritz the top. Easy to rinse off any grit, etc. and simple to change the grades of paper up to final honing. I rinse and reuse the paper until it gets shredded. The more you use it,, the finer it gets.

2. A honing guide makes it much easier to repeat bevels, especially for just honing the edge, and to get a square end. I have used several types, but have found the Lee Valley Veritas Mark II best for plane irons and wide chisels, and the Veritas 05M0201 for narrower chisels. The 05M0201 does not have the square alignment guide for a square edge, but is better for narrow chisels and especially for those that have top and bottom surfaces that are not parallel. That said, I used a home-made guide of wood for a few years, and still use a carriage bolt with a couple wing nuts for my scrub plane as it is easier to radius the iron.

3. Scratches in the edge lead to premature failure by chipping, etc. I would recommend going to at least 600 grit (I go to 2000). Up to 2000 wet-dry paper is found at most automotive repair stores in the US (i.e carquest, autozone, discount auto) in the finishing or paint repair section. To be honest, 600 will most likely work fine except for the finishing planes or paring chisels. On those, going to a finer grit will result in longer edge life. However, going the next higher grits only costs me a couple minutes time.

Disclaimer: I use my hand tools primarily on white and red oak, black walnut, maple, pine, and gum. I do not have any experience with exotic woods like padauk, cocobola, etc, or the highly figures woods like tiger maple, birdseye, etc, so others that work with these will have better insight. Also, my chisels are not top quality. Better quality steel will probably benefit more from the finer honing than the cheaper quality I now use.


-- Go

View dsb1829's profile


367 posts in 3773 days

#2 posted 11-25-2008 07:31 PM

Nice article. I am still wading through sharpening myself.

Sand paper is good and cheap, but can easily dub an edge if not used with care. I find that gluing it down minimizes this tendency to lift and dub. I use granite surface plate for my backer and 3M super77 adhesive. I usually work tools up to 220g wet/dry and then switch over to stones. On occasion I will go up to 600g and use from there for things like chisels.

Waterstones are nice, but I find that the stones I have keep me chasing flatness as much as sharpening tools. This is a love-hate relationship. I keep that granite plate with the 220g close by and flatten the stones as I go. Lighter pressure and use of the whole stone minimize erosion and give more time between flattening stones. I have yet to find a way to eliminate the problem.

Oilstones are new to me. I have been toying with the low end stones for a few months. I just purchased a nice set of Novaculite (Arkansas) stones. My initial impression is very high. Much less erosion. In fact after sharpening a couple of blades I notice no change in the stones. In contrast my waterstones would have needed a couple of flattening sessions in the same time period. Oil is much less likely to develop stiction, so I am finding it easier to free-hand hone my tools. It also makes much more sense to me to work steel with oil with respect to rust and blade care. Only downer is that oil is a bit harder to clean up and you do risk contamination to workpiece if you don’t wash your hands.

Power sharpening. I dabble here, but overall the potential for error and inaccuracy outweigh any time savings. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be grinders in my shop. I just find that it is better to use them for rough work and then transition to stones for the honing. My low speed wetstone grinder is nice from time to time, but like waterstones the media erodes. Without close attention to media and setup results will be poor.

Diamonds? Not much in my shop. No bench stones at least. I am intrigued at the coarse grits, but have yet to try them out,

Loose lapidary grits? Another method that has my attention for coarse removal. Haven’t tried it yet.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics