|Project by Don Johnson||posted 11-14-2013 05:51 PM||2299 views||14 times favorited||9 comments|
I enjoy watching Stumpy Nubs videos, both for information and appreciation of his humour, but when he introduced sharpening using the Worksharp 3000, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VU9WecxUFfw&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLEE33FEA51B28825F I was particularly interested. From when I was about thirteen I have consistently failed to achieve the success with a hand plane that my dad demonstrated to me with such ease. Since I retired I’ve made quite a few reasonable pieces using power tools, but have always shied away from hand planes – partly because I suspected that my miserable attempts at sharpening failed because I was too impatient, or did not have the right equipment. After seeing Stumpy’s video, I felt that the Worksharp might get me going in the right direction.
The machine is now available in the UK – from Rutlands – so I made my purchase, and also bought the modification plans from Stumpy since I guessed that I would need the facility to deal with wider blades. Making the unit was quite straightforward – luckily my table saw blade was just the correct width to cut slots for hardboard dividers for accommodating the MDF disks (but it did require a certain amount of persuasion to assemble all 11 dividers into their slots at the same time!) I made the drawer using BritBoxBuilder’s E-Z Mitre technique http://lumberjocks.com/BritBoxmaker/blog/23229 – the version using a table mounted router and ‘v’ groove bit – which must be the easiest way to make a drawer (if you have the correct cutter!)
I found that the blade on my neglected No 44 (?) handplane would fit into the angled chisel port, but I had to spend quite some time using the coarsest paper to restore the mangled bevel area. The beauty of the system is that you can see the progress being made by withdrawing the blade for examination – secure in the knowledge that it is going to go back again in exactly the right position for the following grinds. Moving on though the grits, it was exciting to see a ‘mirror-like’ finish appearing, both on the bevel and on the back of the blade. I added and polished a micro bevel – by a simple click of the chisel port – and reassembled my plane.
After getting the adjustments ‘just so’, I produced a long ribbon of semi-transparent shaving – not quite up to the standard of the competitors in the Japanese competition video on YouTube, but extremely satisfying to me. It took about 60 years to achieve, but I guess my departed dad would be proud of my eventual success. I inherited wooden ‘coffin’ and ‘jack’ (jointer) planes from him, so I sharpened their blades as well (I did use an inexpensive sharpening jig on the top of the unit for the wider jack plane blade). They also now cut beautifully.
I also brought back to life a number of chisels that I had acquired over the years, most of which had suffered the same sharpening mis-treatment as the plane blade, and now have a motley set of tools, which although they show the effects of being used to open paint tins and being thumped with mallets to try to cut hinge rebates when blunt, all now have super sharp edges. I’ve now managed to get some polishing compounds, so will start experimenting with them.
I may not now become a convert to the ‘hand tools’ philosophy, but at least I know that if needs be, I can call upon a hand plane or chisel whenever needed, confident that they will work as intended, so thanks Stumpy.
-- Don, Somerset UK, http://www.donjohnson24.co.uk