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My quest for "Scary Sharp" #1: first time trying Scary Sharp

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Blog entry by ic3ss posted 10-27-2010 01:20 AM 2028 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I picked up this Miller’s Falls jackplane a few months ago for $35 at a garage sale. When I had a chance to take it apart and learn what I could find on hand planes, I kind of became enamored with them. Next thing I know, I inherited my Father-in-law’s Stanley Bedrock 604 smoother, and a week later I was bidding on an old Stanley No. 8. My wife is wondering where this all ends at this point.

So I picked up a honing guide from Rockler, and a couple of free granite counter top cutoff pieces from a local contractor a few weeks ago. Up until now, my time has been spent reconditioning a big Stanley No. 8, fixing a kitchen faucet, replacing a broken car door handle, replacing a broken latch on the front door of my house, and oh, yea, there’s the job too. Anyway, today I jumped into Scary Sharp.


I’ve got 100, 240, 400, 800, 1200, 1500, and 200 grits laid out on my granite.


Nice and shinny!


My “Shop” aka: the garage. Note the long piece of granite with sanding belts glued on top, used for lapping the sole of all three planes.

Well, that’s it for now, I gotta get back to work on the other two irons.

Wayne

-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."



18 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112496 posts in 2296 days


#1 posted 10-27-2010 01:26 AM

I’m sure it will work out great I used that method for years with great results.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

1836 posts in 1716 days


#2 posted 10-27-2010 03:07 AM

My wife is wondering where this all ends at this point
When you have one of every kind !
When you have that “edge” you will love working with hand planes.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Marc5's profile

Marc5

304 posts in 2061 days


#3 posted 10-27-2010 03:52 AM

Hey Wayne,

Get some honing film. You can take scary sharp to ridiculous sharp. I believe it goes down to .5 micron which I think is the equivalent to 15,000 grit or higher. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

-- Marc

View ic3ss's profile

ic3ss

261 posts in 1496 days


#4 posted 10-27-2010 04:07 AM

Marc,

Never heard of that before, I’ll have to read about it.

So to quote Dark Helmut, it would be “ludicrous” sharp. :`)

I just finished all three irons. The first two came out as expected for the most part, damn sharp. The iron from my No. 8 just never seemed to get that same edge. I checked it between all grits and after the 800 it seemed to actually get duller than it was after the 400. I went ahead and did the 1200 and then 1500, and it just wasn’t that sharp. I backed up to 400 and did all the rest again, and same thing. I don’t think I rolled the edge forward or anything like that, I don’t know what happened. Maybe tomorrow I’ll put it on the 240 again and see what that does. Oh wait, I gotta work tomorrow. So much for fun.

Wayne

-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View ic3ss's profile

ic3ss

261 posts in 1496 days


#5 posted 10-27-2010 04:30 AM

I put the jackplane together and set the blade pretty shallow, just barely visible from the bottom. I tested it on a 2×4 in my vise and it chattered really bad at first, then about halfway down the 3’ long board, it smoothed out and returned a very thin full width shaving. I kept trying, and every time it chattered on the first half, leaving blade marks skipping down the board. I tried the other direction, and same thing. It smoothed out my earlier chatter marks, but it made more on the other end. Damn. My vise is set fairly high, so I put more downward pressure on the tote when starting the cut, and voilla, a full width full length thin shaving.

WooHooo!

I also noted that when adjusting the blade, it adjust it with it pulled up on the frog in the direction it will be forced when cutting. The first time I just let it loose, then threw the cap lever on and went for it. When it stopped cutting, the blade was no longer there, it had been forced up the frog. Note to self.

Wayne

-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View docholladay's profile

docholladay

1286 posts in 1778 days


#6 posted 10-27-2010 04:33 AM

I’ve used the scary sharp method at times. I prefer the edge the I get with water stones, but I really get tired of having to re-flatten them.

With regards to the No. 8. It does take some work to get those wider irons sharp. The first thing that I would check is to be sure that you have the back very very flat and polished for at least about 1/2” or so. Then set up your jig and start again at about 400 grit. I’ll bet you will find that the back is not quite good and flat. If the back ain’t flat, you won’t have much success in sharpening, especially with a sharpening jig.

Personally, I have been practicing sharpening by hand without a guide. I only use the guide if I have to correct an iron that is out of square. My main reason is, I figure I will be more likely to do the minor honings before a major correction is needed if I don’t have to take the time to set up a jig. Still, I think one of my next major investments will be a Tormek or one of the knock offs that are available.

Good luck with your new addiction. Remember planes are like clamps, you can never have too many. Who cares if you already have 5 no. 4’s. They can be set up for different types of cuts. Besides, that next one at the flea market or the yard sale, just looks so cool. At this point, I am using the excuse of collecting tools to give to my sons so that they will have basic tools when they move out on their own in a few years.

Doc

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View ic3ss's profile

ic3ss

261 posts in 1496 days


#7 posted 10-27-2010 04:51 AM

Doc,

I looked at the back of the iron, it has a couple of shinny (high) spots from the sandpaper. So now my question is this: why the back being as flat as you say so important to achieving a sharp edge?

Wayne

-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View learnin2do's profile

learnin2do

866 posts in 1571 days


#8 posted 10-27-2010 05:04 AM

Where did you find the best information. I just started playing with the one i inherited and i can tell it is a nice tool, but i am not sure how to place the blade properly etc.

-- christine

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2367 days


#9 posted 10-27-2010 05:15 AM

Nice.

As for the back Wayne- a sharp edge is the intersection of 2 planes (flats) the Bevel (obviously) and the Back. if one of them is not perfectly flat , you won’t get a consistent sharp edge.

That said – you don’t have to flatten the ENTIRE back of the blade – just the front of it.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View ic3ss's profile

ic3ss

261 posts in 1496 days


#10 posted 10-27-2010 05:21 AM

Right, I was sanding just the backside that extended from the honing jig. I think I get it, if there are high spots, they could prevent the backside at the edge from contacting the sandpaper, right?

-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2367 days


#11 posted 10-27-2010 05:25 AM

exactly- so the low spots on the back are not actually getting sanded and sharpened. so in fact (if left as is) your edge would have sharp spots, and dull spots all across it which would make for a frustrating performance even though the bevel may seem ‘shiny’

As a matter of fact sanding ‘just to the honing jig (not sure how far back your honing guide is) could also be too much. the more you try to sand the more material you need to take off -the more work you need to put in, and in essense, you really don’t need to flatten the back more than 1/8” off of the front. I personally flatten about 3/4” off of the front just because it gives me enough leverage to keep the back flat against the sand paper with my fingers.

a nice trick that I saw was using a metal ruler on the far side of the sand paper that will lift the blade just enough so that you will only be flattening the front edge of it. you might want to google that.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View ic3ss's profile

ic3ss

261 posts in 1496 days


#12 posted 10-27-2010 05:35 AM

If you look at my picture, the sandpaper comes right to the edge. My jig is about 1.5” or so from the edge, and I lay the backside on the sandpaper with the jig off of the granite and pull it back. The larger surface ensures the backside is laying flat and that I’m not accidentally leaning the iron.

-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2367 days


#13 posted 10-27-2010 05:48 AM

Hmm I think I see what you are doing.

To make full use of the sand paper sheet, I actually had the sandpaper aligned with it’s long side against the edge of the granite. I would then place the blade on top of the sand paper (with the jig still attached and ‘hanging off’ to the side of the granite) and rub it sideways so that you end up using the entire length of the sand paper and not just overuse a small part of it – this also helps in terms of time as it shortens the time you have to put to flatten the back as the motion is longer.

Currently to speed things up, I use diamond stones to remove material and flatten, and finish off with sand paper just to hone (after the blade is already flat and even) – 1500 grit, 2500 grit, 12,000 grit (or honing compound).

not saying you should too – just giving you ideas to work with.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View ic3ss's profile

ic3ss

261 posts in 1496 days


#14 posted 10-27-2010 05:59 AM

Ok, that’s a good idea. I used my grinder to delicately re-create the bevel and then went at it with 50 grit belt to get the first edge. The diamond stone would wear better than the paper for the hard material removal, but the paper is good for the light job of honing.

I need to go back and re-do this iron next week. Thanks very much for the insight, that’s why I come here, to learn.

Wayne

-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View botanist's profile

botanist

151 posts in 2257 days


#15 posted 10-27-2010 03:20 PM

I really like the Scary Sharp method-I’ve gotten some really good results. The only problem I have is with the wet/dry sandpaper. I can never get it to lie very flat on my surface plate because the edge keep curling up.

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