Reply by live4ever

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Posted on chisel sharpening

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983 posts in 3038 days

#1 posted 01-13-2011 10:22 PM

A good honing guide is really the only easy way to ensure the angle you’re looking for and the way I’ve seen most “pros” do it. Can you freehand? Sure, but that’s not very easy to do. And the fancy sharpening grinders and polishers all have some sort of jig to help you keep that angle. So I wouldn’t worry about anyone scoffing at this – this is how it’s done.

Whether you use the sandpaper method (“Scary Sharp”) or waterstones or oilstones, a rolling honing guide is going to be handy for the bevel.

Personally, I’ve settled on the following method for sharpening. After figuring out I wasn’t a sandpaper/scary sharp method kind of guy, I like the results I’m getting with the following system.

1000/6000 combo waterstone – $30
green compound from Lee Valley – $8

Flatten the backs of the chisels on the 1000 grit stone, then 6000. Use the roller guide to sharpen the bevel at 1000 and 6000. Rub some green compound on MDF. Flatten the back over the green/mdf, then bevel.

If you go the waterstone route, eventually you need a way of keeping the waterstone flat because it will wear unevenly. Different ways to do this – I’ve landed on a diamond stone.

I’ve found sharpening is a really personal thing. While woodworkers quarrel over the ways to get the sharpest edge, I think preferences really have more to do with which technique a given woodworker feels comfortable with and is able to execute efficiently and reliably. The easier it is for you to whip out your sharpening method and do it without dreading it, the more likely you are to actually do it in the first place.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

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