Reply by rockindavan

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Posted on Waterstone Questions

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299 posts in 2635 days

#1 posted 04-20-2012 09:19 AM

Heres a breakdown of what works for me. I use the veritas guide to do my sharpening. Once i get my primary bevel ground with a 220 grit stone, usually the next notch lower in angle on the veritas gauge that I want my angle at, and the microbevel set in the middle or lowest setting, I then remove the chisel or plane blade. You can rinse off the guide, but usually the grit left over flushes out before it makes a difference. Assuming the back is flat, or close to, I make a few passes on the back on a 8000 grit stone to knock of the burr. Then I set the chisel to the desired angle and lock it in place. Set the microbevel to the lowest angle and go to town on the 1000 grit stone. After you get the chisel ground to the edge, wipe it down with a paper towel. Then place it on the 8000 grit stone and make sure it is flat on the back. It can be tricky make passes on the back with the guide on, but if you’re careful you can do it without dishing the back. Make a couple of swipes then wipe it clean with a towel. Then move to 8000 grit bevel side then the back, wiping with paper towel each time.

I have never had a problem not rinsing the guide between grits. To me it seems overkill and a waste of time. I don’t really clean the stones between use either. I only use a finger to rub down the stones if they get a black covering from the metal and rinse them off, usually only with the 8000 grit. I always sharpen my main set of 6 chisels at once. Usually a plane blade or two while I’m at it. I don’t see any downside in sharpening a bunch of tools at once.

Now to flattening. I flatten my stones every 2-4 sharpenings. The longer you wait, the longer it takes to flatten them. Waiting too long to flatten can ruin the backs of your tools, and its not worth the frustration. I find a good way to tell its time for a flattening (although still a hypothesis of mine) is how the microbevel looks. If the microbevel is crisp and consistent along the length of the blade, your stone should be flat enough. If the microbevel is much larger at one end then the other, or is inconsistent along the edge, its time for flattening.

Another thing I do is roundover the edges of the stones after flattening them. Its surprising how much those sharp edges can become irritating when flipping the stones over a bunch of times.

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