Reply by bobasaurus

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Posted on Tool Sharpening

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3405 posts in 3147 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 05:58 PM

I’m going to recommend the opposite route: waterstones and sharpening by hand without a guide/jig. All you really need is one coarse stone (1k grit) and one very fine stone (at least 8k grit). Lay the tool bevel down on the coarse stone, raise it up a hair, and hone for about 10 seconds till you feel a burr on the back. Then move to the finest stone and repeat the process, but raise the tool a hair more than before and hone until you can’t feel the original burr anymore (another 10 seconds, usually). Then flip the tool over and briefly hone the back flat against the stone to remove any tiny burrs. You have to constantly flatten the waterstones to get the best edge when sharpening, but this is quickly done with a coarse diamond plate (300 grit or so).

If your primary bevel becomes too worn or rounded from hand sharpening like this, you can use the grinder to hollow it back again before honing. This gives a nice reference surface for starting the freehand honing process.

I can sharpen plane irons and chisels in less than a minute this way. It works great once you get accustomed to the motions, and saves greatly on the jig setup chores that turn people away from frequent sharpening. I like shapton stones since you don’t need to soak them, but they are pricey.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

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