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Posted on Lessons Learned & Outstanding Questions on Sharpening

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839 posts in 2394 days

#1 posted 04-18-2012 09:26 PM

I’m a waterstone user also. I have the same grit Norton stones as you (slightly different configuration) and use a cheap side clamping guide. I flatten with sandpaper on a granite reference plate. I haven’t had too much complaint about the life of the sandpaper. Don’t have the DMT so I can’t provide any input there. Has anyone tried the new DMT dia-flat lapping plate; sounds great, but pretty pricey?

There seems to be a million ways to sharpen, and million opinions, some of them very adamant. I think as long as it works, and you get consistent results, each to their own. I bought and pretty much follow the method from the David Charlesworth sharpening DVD (available from Lie-Nielsen).

For back flattening plane blades I use the 1000 grit stone until I get all the coarse machine marks out, then go straight to the ruler trick. If your not familiar, you take a thin metal ruler and place it on one long side of the 8000 grit stone and work the very edge of the blade on the other side of the stone. This creates a small band of high polish at the cutting edge rather than going through the labor of taking the entire back through 4000 and 8000 grit. This does impose a small back bevel on the blade, but the effect is negligible. For chisels, this is not recommended. There you have to work through the grits as you do now.

For sharpening, I’ll set the primary bevel at, say 25, then go to 30 on the 1000 grit stone. Just as soon as I have a wire edge (can be as little as a stroke or two if I just re-established to primary), I tip up a few more degrees and polish on the 8000 grit stone. Then repeat the ruler trick on the back. The more you sharpen the longer it takes on a 1000 stone to get the wire edge, and you have to think about resetting the primary bevel again. In between resetting the primary it’s really fast to resharpen.

I do not strop. Haven’t tried it. I’ve read in a couple of places that you can’t tell the different between honing to 8000 on the stone and doing a final stropping (or going to a crazy fine Shapton stone). I’d be interested to hear experiences from those that have tried it both ways.

I have also found that most plane irons need work from the manufacturers. I’ve got a number of LN items an they are usually very goo out of the box, but I even one of those required a god bit of work (almost sent it back.) Veritas is pretty good too, but generally have had to work those a bit as well. It would not shock me if your iron was out of square. Have you checked the iron itself with a square? That’s the best way to tell. If the cutting edge is square to the side of the blade I’d look for some set-up error with the jig, if not, keep working it, or send it back.

Good thread!

-- John

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