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View dmmflys's profile

honing using sand paper

by dmmflys
posted 11-19-2011 08:08 AM


34 replies so far

View Mickey Cassiba's profile

Mickey Cassiba

312 posts in 1683 days


#1 posted 11-19-2011 08:19 AM

I’ve honed my turning tools (and still do from time to time) with paper and glass. Use the same process on the kitchen knives. No complaints from the cook :P

-- One of these hammers oughta fix that...

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

482 posts in 1182 days


#2 posted 11-19-2011 08:26 AM

I’ve tried using sandpaper for sharpening, although not with a dedicated jig like in that article, just a honing guide and a flat surface. Have to say that it works quite well. Tons of info on the net – google “scary sharp”.

But… while it is less messy than water (or oil) stones, it doesn’t produce any better results, provided that you keep your stones flat. And in the long run, stones are way cheaper.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View Don's profile

Don

10 posts in 1272 days


#3 posted 11-19-2011 08:30 AM

I have used this technique for the same reasons you mentioned, and was satisfied with the end result. However, the sandpaper doesn’t last very long, and you need a wide selection of grits to do the job right. My setup is similar to the Woodsmith information in your link.

The problem is I don’t have an endless supply of all the the sandpaper grits when a blade needs sharpened! It would be nice to have a sharpening system ready to use when you need it, but economically, the sandpaper system is still my only option.

-- Don

View Arminius's profile

Arminius

304 posts in 2455 days


#4 posted 11-19-2011 08:48 AM

I would not start using sandpaper to save money. It is probably the most expensive method of sharpening there is, it just has the lowest entry cost. If you have one chisel you want to sharpen, it is the cheapest. But you don’t need to sharpen that much before stones make way more sense.

View Sawdust4Blood's profile

Sawdust4Blood

348 posts in 1673 days


#5 posted 11-19-2011 09:39 AM

I’ve used sandpaper to sharpen plane irons and chisels and it works great (assuming you use up to the automotive paint grade wet/dry sand papers). But as Arminius points out, it is only cheaper initially. A pack of 3000 grit wet/dry sand paper will set you back around $6 and it will last you a month or two if you have a lot of tools and sharpen regularly. On the other hand, I have a Japanese water stone (5000 grit) that I paid about $40 for and have had for four years now and it still has a lot more life in it.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1649 days


#6 posted 11-19-2011 09:47 AM

Don’t over think it.

Abrasives are the same no matter the binding medium. Any abrasive will work. Anything that removes metal and doesn’t mess up the temper will do. Waterstones, diamond stones, oil stones, sandpaper, grit on glass, all have their advantages and drawbacks. About the only place that sandpaper shines (pun intended) is on the finest grits—1000 grit and finer and if you need a really big area for something especially large like a jointer blade. That or on a belt sander for really rough shaping. It really doesn’t make sense otherwise. You can pick up a cheap diamond stone for $15 that will handle most sharpening and outlast the equivalent in paper many times over. If I am doing one chisel, I just use the diamond stone and finish up with a strop or sandpaper. If I have a handful of stuff to do, I go get some water and fill up my electric wet grinder and spend some quality time with it.

The biggest problem most people have with sharpening is that they try to do everything with one grit that is too fine. The trick to sharpening effectively is to work through the grits. You can go through from coarse to fine in just a few minutes or you can beat your head against the wall and spend hours at it with a fine grit.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View shopdog's profile

shopdog

560 posts in 2137 days


#7 posted 11-19-2011 02:07 PM

I’ve been using sandpaper for sharpening for many years, with outstanding results.
Get yourself a good honing guide…I use the older Lee Valley guide.
6 grits of sandpaper on a piece of flat 1/4” glass.
80/120/220 psa backed on one side
600/1000/1500 wet/dry on the other

Here’s a link to an old discussion on LJ
http://lumberjocks.com/topics/5666

-- Steve-- http://www.urbanexteriors.biz

View paratrooper34's profile

paratrooper34

760 posts in 1603 days


#8 posted 11-19-2011 03:44 PM

When I first started getting into hand tools and learning how to sharpen them, I used sandpaper. It wasn’t very long thereafter that I realized staying with that system was going to be very costly.

A set of japanese waterstones (800, 1000, 4000, and 8000) and a coarse/extra coarse diamond stone (to keep your stones flat and for some coarse work on edges) comes to $285.50 on particular website. You can do A LOT of sharpening with that set right there. You could leave out the 4000 stone and save $56.00. You could also get by with just a combination stone from Norton which has 1000 on one side and 8000 on the other which is very cost effective. But lets stick with the $285.50 above for arguments sake.

The cost of that package over a 20 year life span is $14.28 per year. An average home woodworker can reasonably expect a 20 year life out their waterstones. So the initial cost looks steep. But in the long run, the cost is very affordable. I did not use sandpaper for a long time, but I do know a package (one that includes a variety of grits) wears out quick. I see packages of sandpaper average about $6.99 to $9.99 for a package containing 8 – 10 sheets. I am sure there must be sources out there to purchase sandpaper in bulk to save some money, not sure what it would be. If three or four packs of sandpaper per year are necessary to meet sharpening needs, this adds up quickly. Assuming four packages, the cost per year would be $27.96 – $39.96. Over the course of twenty years, those numbers are $559.20 – $799.20. That is a lot of money.

I would like to know from the serious sandpaper sharpeners how much you spend annually on sandpaper. I think it would be interesting to compare your actual usage as I am doing a little spitballing here. To see some real numbers would be interesting for the people who are having a hard time determining which method is right for them. Cost is certainly a big factor for some people (it sure is for me).

I want to make one other point. I have read some comments from some remarking how they felt waterstone sharpening is messy. I am here to let you know that is just not so. When I first started with them, I guess I could say it was a little messy. However, after nailing a system with them and figuring out how to use them, they are not messy. I have a dedicated sharpening station that is mounted to the wall. Below that, I have a covered plastic container that I keep the stones in (always in water). Beside that container, I have a five gallon bucket that I use to rinse off the stones after I use them and clean my flattening plate (I flatten the stones after every use). The sharpening station has a rubber mat which catches any water that drips off and it is all very neat. And if anything spills or whatnot, it is water. Water is soooo easy to clean up. It also has no smell. So for all of you who think it is a messy system, I say with proper management, it is not messy.

-- Mike

View shopdog's profile

shopdog

560 posts in 2137 days


#9 posted 11-19-2011 04:18 PM

paratrooper,

I never crunched the numbers, as you have…but I can guesstimate that I’ve never, and will never (I’m 61) spend $559 on sandpaper to sharpen chisels and plane blades.

I’ve rehabbed a lot of old beater chisels that I got on ebay, and at yard sales…and turned them into useful, ultrasharp antique beauties. Once they are back to their original states, they just require a quick tuneup from time to time. I doubt that I change my 6 pieces of sandpaper more than twice a year. The cost is negligible.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Mileage may vary for other scary sharp practitioners.

-- Steve-- http://www.urbanexteriors.biz

View MedicKen's profile

MedicKen

1599 posts in 2114 days


#10 posted 11-19-2011 04:27 PM

Started with the scary sharp method and soon realized it was more of a PITA than it was worth. I now use Norton waterstones and wont go back

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their therapist....medic20447@gmail.com

View paratrooper34's profile

paratrooper34

760 posts in 1603 days


#11 posted 11-19-2011 04:36 PM

Shopdog, the $559 is over the course of twenty years. Try to determine how much you have spent over the last twenty years on sandpaper. That was the whole point of my comment; cost over the long run. If you use 12 sheets of sandpaper per year, what is your cost? I ask because I have no idea what you pay for your sandpaper. Maybe someone gave it you and it had no cost.

Lastly, this isn’t about accusations and “I Think My System Is Better Than Yours”. I am trying to get some input from people who sharpen with sandpaper to show what their cost is. Cost is almost always why people choose the system they choose. And when you are looking at a system someone will use over a sustained period of time, the cost over that time should be a factor. Heck, maybe I have been misled and sandpaper sharpening really is more cost effective.

P.S. – I like your shopdog! Good looking Lab.

-- Mike

View shopdog's profile

shopdog

560 posts in 2137 days


#12 posted 11-19-2011 06:19 PM

Paratrooper,

I know this isn’t a pissing contest. I didn’t take it that way at all.
I get my PSA backed paper from Lee Valley. It comes in long rolls, 2.5” wide, and that width is all I need for sharpening purposes. So, if I change paper even 3 times a year, it works out to pennies per year, or maybe even as much as a couple of dollars. Even if I were to use more than that, I wouldn’t spend $100 in 20 years.
Add to that the cost of the Veritas jig, and the plate glass (that I got for free), I’m still spending very little to get great results.
Add to that, it’s fairly clean…I blow off the dust with my compressor when I’m done, and I never have to flatten a stone. I’m not trying to convert anyone…Just relating my personal experience.

Your pup is a cutie too, and very fashionable with the hat. I had a chocolate before the black. He’s getting old now (10+), and I see a yellow lab in my future.

-- Steve-- http://www.urbanexteriors.biz

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112079 posts in 2229 days


#13 posted 11-19-2011 06:40 PM

dmmflys

Welcome to Ljs

This method called the Scary sharp method has been around for a long time. It was first introduced by Mike Dunbar
a famous Chair maker through an article in Finewoodworking. He developed the technique because of he traveled in a good number of woodworking shows and didn’t always have access to water for wet stones. Like many subjects on LJs everyone thinks their way is the best way. I used the scary sharp method for years and now I use a tool that still uses sand paper it’s made by Worksharp.
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?rlz=1C1CHMD_enUS400US400&q=work+sharp+3000&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=18003123794046016764&sa=X&ei=c9vHTq7KDezZiQLFn-HxDw&ved=0CHoQ8wIwAA

Sharping by hand ,with sand paper or with stones or some sort of machine will all give you good results.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View dmmflys's profile

dmmflys

43 posts in 1049 days


#14 posted 11-19-2011 09:21 PM

Wow didn’t know I would get sooo many posts so fast I guess this subject is a little like ‘should you use PVC or metal pipe for dust collection system’ lol Thank you all for the wealth of info though I’m going to look though the different links you all have posted and figure out what will work best for me. One more question though what is a good honing guide I saw this one at Rockler but someone also told me about one that you can change the pitch with a flip of a lever to create another small edge on at the top. Any suggestions?

View Byron's profile

Byron

92 posts in 1032 days


#15 posted 11-19-2011 09:22 PM

The First project I had was to sharpen and hone all of my chisel and plane irons so they could all shave hairs off your hand. It took an extremely long time to get this process down but once I took the time to get comfortable with it I can take a dull torn up chisel or plane iron with gnarly burs to sharp in a very reasonable amount of time. The initial investment of time and money is 100% worth it.

The nature of how sandpaper works leads to rounding things over. The abrasive is not true and flat as a stone is and the build up of lose particles and inconsistencies cause this. Also you need a hard very flat surface to reference off of. This would basically mean a surface plate or true and flat machine bed. Using a stone that can be re-flattened based on your need is a much better idea. Also with sand paper it is much harder to hold a reference angle so you don’t round over the tip. The points being made about cost is also a valid one. Sand paper, over time does not end up being any cheaper.

The process I currently use is using a grinding wheel to put a hollow grind on the bevel, never letting the wheel hit the edge, or burning the edge. Next I go to an 800 grit water stone. I stay on this until I get a consistent edge, which you can check by looking for any burs or any inconsistency in the edge by holding it up to a light. This can take a few tries to get used to seeing the edge. Next I remove all the scratches from the 800 with a 1200, never hitting the back of the chisel or iron on these, ONLY the bevel edge. The back should be honed in initially using these three stones progressively until it is uniformly flat. I would never recommend using sandpaper or lapping compound. It is extremely hard to flatten a domed or crowned surface, having a slightly concave surface ensures all points are being hit evenly, this is why a hollow grind is easier to sharpen then just a flat surface. Next I go to the back of the chisel on a 8000 water stone, a 6000 works too. After I get the burr off the back I re-hone the bevel and slowly go back and forth between these surfaces progressively lessening my time on each edge. This knocks the burr back and forth between each side of the edge until it is sharp for my liking.

Make sure to never round the edge. Every instant you are not on your reference edges you round the edge and inhibit the process of getting sharp surface. Also try not to touch the burr on the edge of the blade, breaking this burr off with something other then the surface of a stone will damage the edge, although this is not that imperative I seem to notice a small difference. Starting off though it might be good to feel the burr every once in a while to know.

If the edge gets really bad place the bevel side towards you and hold almost at 90 degrees with the more acute angle facing towards you and gently pull the blade over the surface towards yourself making sure the edge stays at 90 degrees to the edge of the blade or whatever angle desired. Then grind this on a wheel until the edge has a very small visible flat and hone the edge from there. Never let the grinding wheel hit the edge that will be your final edge, this will tear up the metal and getting past that damaged steel will take a long time.

Using a plastic surface of some kind makes sharpening much cleaner and keeping a paper towel or relatively clean rag near by helps, but try not to wipe off the side of the blade you are working the burr on. But again if your taking short cuts just to keep clean there may be other steps to do rather then make sacrifices.

Sorry about the long winded post, thanks for reading

-- Byron Conn, Woodworking/Furniture Design at Rochester Institute of Technology, http://byronconn.com

View Byron's profile

Byron

92 posts in 1032 days


#16 posted 11-19-2011 09:25 PM

I would recommend practicing without a honing guide, the time it takes to practice and get it right could end up saving time vs. setting up a honing guide, and this way your aren’t limiting yourself to using a guide, there will be times that wont be a viable option and then you have another problem.

-- Byron Conn, Woodworking/Furniture Design at Rochester Institute of Technology, http://byronconn.com

View shopdog's profile

shopdog

560 posts in 2137 days


#17 posted 11-19-2011 10:40 PM

I wish I could get by without a honing guide. I have steady hands, but I just can’t keep that bevel as perfect as I can with my trusty Veritas guide. I do freehand on a jobsite…if need be. I can improve a dulled edge that way, but when those tools get back to the shop, they get a proper edge.

Byron,
You’ve obviously given sharpening a lot of thought, and I respect you for that. I’m sure your blades are scary, and make the hairs jump. I hear what you’re saying about the downside to using sandpaper. Still, when I dial up a 1° bevel on my jig, and run a few strokes on a 1500 grit paper, I get that blade so scary, that the hairs jump when they see that blade coming. I could strop the blade when I’m done, but I don’t feel the need. My low angle block plane can fine tune Ipe end grain. I can’t ask for more than that.
That’s all I got to say.

-- Steve-- http://www.urbanexteriors.biz

View Byron's profile

Byron

92 posts in 1032 days


#18 posted 11-19-2011 10:51 PM

There’s thousands of way to get to the same end in woodworking, good to hear it works!

-- Byron Conn, Woodworking/Furniture Design at Rochester Institute of Technology, http://byronconn.com

View Don W's profile

Don W

15019 posts in 1219 days


#19 posted 11-19-2011 11:39 PM

I use a $69 grinder, with a $50 aluminum oxide 120 grit wheel, home made rest, a cheap $13 guide and a couple of oil stones picked up at a flea market. Hit a few antiques stores and you’ll find the stones. The only thing I’d change, and I hope to soon, is I will eventually buy a slow speed grinder to replace the Home Depot Ryobi special. Another option is a hand grinder you can also find in the vintage shops.

Here is my sharpening blog If you look at some of my plane restores, you can see some of the results.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View fussy's profile

fussy

980 posts in 1702 days


#20 posted 11-21-2011 09:59 AM

I’ll just put my $1,000 worth here. I’m with Shopdog. I’ve been using sandpaper on melmac for years, like him I have rehabbed a lot of beaters and have gotten superior re3sults. Scary sharp is right. How sharp you ask? Just 4 hours ago, I was finishing up a Stanley (USA) 1/2” chisel, honed it with 2000 wet-or-dry, then dropped it. It landed on the butt of the handle on my concrete floor, bounced up and slashed my left leg. 4 stitches and a big Er bill later, I have decided I need Narex chisels from LV. The 2 I have fit my hands better and the beech wood handles are easier for me to grasp.

Shopdog os right; other than trips to the hospital, sandpaper is much cheaper and just as effective.

Steve

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View SeaWitch's profile

SeaWitch

149 posts in 1046 days


#21 posted 11-21-2011 01:42 PM

Really interesting discussion. I learned lots.

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

View chocked's profile

chocked

37 posts in 689 days


#22 posted 12-14-2012 03:59 PM

I use the scary sharp and it works great. I can shave with my tools also. The problem I have is when wetting the sandpaper it wants to come loose after awhile. I use glass and wet/dry paper and 3m 777. whats up with this problem?

-- chocked Tn.

View chocked's profile

chocked

37 posts in 689 days


#23 posted 12-14-2012 04:04 PM

I use the scary sharp and it works great. I can shave with my tools also. The problem I have is when wetting the sandpaper it wants to come loose after awhile. I use glass and wet/dry paper and 3m 777. whats up with this problem?

-- chocked Tn.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2300 days


#24 posted 12-14-2012 04:24 PM

I started with sand paper figuring it’s a cheap way to start and will eventually get some stones when I run out of sand paper…

4 years later, I still have plenty of the 1000-2000 sand paper, and don’t see a need to drop another few hundered $$ to get a set of stones.

I don’t do sharpening for living, and don’t do woodworking on a daily basis, so your miles may vary.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4323 posts in 1700 days


#25 posted 12-14-2012 04:37 PM

I have been using scary sharpening for years with excellent results but I am now switching to diamond and ceramic stones, as the sand paper get expensive after a while,.
I recommend that you use Kiingspor sand paper, by far the best and one of the least expensive.
Use the adhesive backed kind on a piece of floated glass or granite or even on your table saw or jointer bed.

http://www.woodworkingshop.com/?inMed=GSANDING&gclid=CMK_34yqmrQCFWaoPAodeyQAug

-- Bert

View Sergio's profile

Sergio

403 posts in 1344 days


#26 posted 12-14-2012 07:51 PM

For me sand paper works quite well, since I am not professionally into this business and don´t have to sharpen often. You must consider costs over time but technically speaking it works very, very well. The problem is that I can´t get here sand paper over 2500 grit so I got one stone of 4000, since the stone 8000 here has a prohibitive price for non-professionals, I stop in the 4000 and go to the polishing. For me it is enough.

-- - Greetings from Brazil - --

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4323 posts in 1700 days


#27 posted 12-14-2012 08:54 PM

I use a strop with a polishing compound after honing and I get a “perfect” polish.

-- Bert

View chocked's profile

chocked

37 posts in 689 days


#28 posted 12-15-2012 03:57 PM

I use the scary sharp method and it works great. Paper on glass with many grits up to 2500. My only thing against it is the paper comes loose either the paper is stretching or the 3M 77 spray is coming off from the water. Anybody have this problem?

chocked

-- chocked Tn.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4323 posts in 1700 days


#29 posted 12-15-2012 04:37 PM

I use Klingspor self-adhesive paper, it is excellent and much cheaper than 3M

-- Bert

View HarveyDunn's profile

HarveyDunn

286 posts in 383 days


#30 posted 10-26-2013 11:08 PM

I realize this is an old thread, but if anyone is still out there:
1) Do you wet the paper surface, or do you use it dry?
2) Which direction do you move the chisel/plane iron? Side-to-side (i.e. the edge is moving horizontally across the paper) or up-and-down?
3) How do you recognize that your paper is worn out and needs to be discarded?
4) How do you reocgnize that you are done with this grit and ready to go to the next?

View fussy's profile

fussy

980 posts in 1702 days


#31 posted 10-27-2013 02:48 AM

Harvey,

1) Dry
2) up and down, unless you want a curve on the edge.
3) When it stops cutting. You will know.
4) When all the scratches look the same.

Don’t start with too coarse paper. Use the highest grit that will do the job. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find you spend very little time on each grit. I never go past 2000. A honing guide (single wheel) is cheap, works well and gives repeatable results. Hope this helps.

Steve

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View shopdog's profile

shopdog

560 posts in 2137 days


#32 posted 10-27-2013 11:25 AM

1) If I need to do a major over haul of a chisel or plane blade, I start with 80 grit…dry, and work my way through a dry 120, then 220 grit…also dry.
After that I go to a 600, wet…them on to finer grits, if need be…also wet.

If I’m just tuning up a blade, I can start at 600, wet

2) up and down
3)I keep blowing the dust off my paper with a compressor, and it lasts a long time.
4)it’s hard to explain, and there is no hard, fast rule.

Before I start an over haul, I mark the blade with a black sharpie. I stay on the 60 grit until I have a clean bevel, where the entire bevel is in contact with the paper…and all of the black ink is gone…then I move on.

-- Steve-- http://www.urbanexteriors.biz

View dmmflys's profile

dmmflys

43 posts in 1049 days


#33 posted 11-12-2013 03:02 AM

Stumpy Nubs just posted a really good video on YouTube about this. Lots of good info and he is entertaining.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2830 posts in 1895 days


#34 posted 11-13-2013 04:54 PM

There is a special “sand paper” that is used to hone hair clipper blades and beautician’s shears. It gives a mirror finish. You have to go to a business that sells tool sharpening supplies to find it. I think it’s around 8000 grit.

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