All Replies on Tool Sharpening

  • Advertise with us
View Kevin_WestCO's profile

Tool Sharpening

by Kevin_WestCO
posted 01-28-2013 04:02 PM

24 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2967 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 04:36 PM

I like the scary sharp method.
My dad taught it to me 50 years ago.

If I had the money I’d like a Work-sharp 3000, just because it’s faster.

For rough shaping I use a disk sander or an 8” grinder.

View Kevin_WestCO's profile


62 posts in 2543 days

#2 posted 01-28-2013 04:42 PM

Thanks for the reply.

Main complant I’ve heard is that it takes too long and uses alot of paper. Do you use a honing jig? How long does a chisel take to shapen?

View akmiller907's profile


42 posts in 2072 days

#3 posted 01-28-2013 04:44 PM

I bought the Worksharp 3000 and absolutely love it. Quick and easy and puts a very nice edge on plane irons and chisels. Also have a Veritas sharpening jig and water stones but they have not been used since I got the Worksharp. If I was going to spend more money I would look at a Tormek or the Robert Sorby Pro Edge system. But that being said the Worksharp is a much better bang for your buck. I paid $200 at Sears. In

-- Kenny

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2671 days

#4 posted 01-28-2013 04:54 PM

I suggest the WorkSharp 3000. Quick & easy!!! You can save some dough, by getting the Stumpy Nubs Sharpening Station plans & using his setup!!! He also did a Blue Collar Wood Working episode about it.

Yeah, the WS3000 is the way to go!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Kevin_WestCO's profile


62 posts in 2543 days

#5 posted 01-28-2013 05:07 PM

Kenny & Randy, thanks for replies! I’ve look at the WS system, even watched Stumpy’s video. When you shapen your tools, do you use the WS start to finish? Does it put a clean accurate edge on your blades?

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2671 days

#6 posted 01-28-2013 05:34 PM

Simple answer, YES!

However, if you are reshaping an abused mishapened tool, it may make sense to use a grinding wheel initially, to take the bulk of the metal off, then go over to the WS3000. That will save you some money on abrasive paper discs.

There are many ways to skin the cat….
But they ALL require a sharp blade!!! How you get that sharp blade boils down to proper technique and personal preference.

Have fun deciding which way will be BEST for you!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View bobasaurus's profile


3444 posts in 3180 days

#7 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)

View Kevin_WestCO's profile


62 posts in 2543 days

#8 posted 01-28-2013 06:51 PM

I’ve actually been leaning more towards something like what you descibed. I’ve done a lot of woodworking and carpentry through out my career. I understand why some people lean towards a very methodical precise method such as a lot of videos I’ve seen on here and youtube. But honestly the main goal is to have a sharp edge, hinse the micro bevel, quick and easy to resharpen. Doing this quick and easily by hand and fixing periododically with the jig to correct a couple degrees just makes more sense and will make it so I’m more inclined to run to the stone if I need a better edge. Sharper tools are my intent and I’m sure that if it takes a long process, duller tools will be the result.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2089 days

#9 posted 01-28-2013 07:19 PM

I’ll chime in with a yes vote for the Work Sharp 3000. It’s fast and if you use the sharpening port it’s basically impossible to screw up (though I’ve managed to do so utilizing my special talents). But it won’t work for jointer and planer knives. Vertias/Lee valley has a honing jig for planer knives.

If you want to get just get started on Scary Sharp it’s easiest to get Rockler’s “Glass plate sharpening” kit. It has the jig and the flat glass plate included.

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2184 days

#10 posted 01-28-2013 08:08 PM

I had Lee Valley’s first power sharpener, which made all the copy cats look like a poor impersonation there of. I sold it because the abrasives are too damn expensive and don’t last long. And you can’t get as good an edge as you need for hand tooling. That requires a grit well in excess of 1000x. I now use a grinder, belt sander and diamond or water stones approach.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2244 days

#11 posted 01-28-2013 08:35 PM

I use scary sharp for the heavy removal, taking out nicks, and primary bevel establishment (up to 220 grit). After that I move to waterstones. 4k then 8k. For touch-up I go right to waterstones. I currently use a honing guide, but practice a lot without one.

I agree with the methodology that the exact angle is not quite as important as your ability to repeat the angle that is on your tool That all comes with practice and muscle memory.


View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2089 days

#12 posted 01-28-2013 08:37 PM

I get sharp, shiny edges using 3M wet or dry sandpaper up to 2,5000 grit with both scary sharp by hand and with the WS3000. You are correct that 1,000 grit is much to coarse for honing.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3154 days

#13 posted 01-28-2013 09:17 PM

BTW, I’ve been using PSA sandpaper disks from HF on my WS3000. It doesn’t last forever, but they are cheap as heck for when you need to get the edge started. Beats buying 80 or 120 disks made by the company.

-- jay,

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2967 days

#14 posted 01-28-2013 09:34 PM

Kevin asked, ”Do you use a honing jig? How long does a chisel take to sharpen?”
I do use an Empire type jig for paring chisels and plane irons. I build a homemade version of the Wolverine system to sharpen my lathe tools.

The key to speed is to not start with too fine of a grit.
I talked to one guy who had spent 8 hours trying to flatten the back of a chisel on 800 grit paper.
He could have started on 80 grit and worked his way through the grits in about 5 minutes.

Note, the grits on stones and paper and diamond plates are all different.

I normally touch up my edge on a hard felt wheel with green rouge (chrome oxide) in a couple of seconds for chisels. Plane irons take longer to get out of the plane and remount than to hone.

But beware, sharpening and honing are two different things. sharpening is what I do to a tool when I’m starting from scratch. Honing is the final polishing of the edge and is done frequently during use to keep it working smoothly. Or, at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2282 days

#15 posted 01-28-2013 09:34 PM

I went straight diamond stones, 220, 600, 1200, 4000, and 8000. I just didn’t want mess/maintenance to deal with on other systems. Not saying that diamond stones (plates, actually) are better, but they fit my needs. I use DMTs but there are other brands out there as well.

Edit: I also use and highly recommend the Veritas Mk.II honing guide—pretty much guarantees consistent results.

-- John, BC, Canada

View Chris P's profile

Chris P

93 posts in 2281 days

#16 posted 01-28-2013 09:53 PM

I’ve been using the scary sharp system for a while now and it does work, and it works well. As most people will say the down side is you have to replace the sand paper often, it just becomes a nuisance after a while. On the other hand you can pretty much have a decent sharpening system quickly with minimal initial investment at first. I’ve been looking to move to water stones as soon as I have the money to invest in a decent set. If your willing to spend the cash I’d say got out and get yourself some good water stones if you’re looking to get into hand sharpening.

Also the ””Veritas Honing Jig””:,43072,43078&ap=1 is a good honing guide for less than the MK II. I just got one and it works great. Good Luck!

-- Chris, Long Island

View Kevin_WestCO's profile


62 posts in 2543 days

#17 posted 01-28-2013 10:23 PM

Thank you everyone!! I just ordered a Veritas MKII guide, been leaning that direction for a while. With a lot of good suggestions, I pulled the trigger. It’s hard sometimes to know the direction to go, since everyone has a very specific method that they use. Too many products for sharpening seem like gimmicks but I really don’t mind spending a good amount of cash on something if it works good. I use tools for a living so I understand and appreciate a good tool. I watch videos on a product and get hyped and then I read that many people are achieving the same result using a piece of sandpaper! I’ll pull out one of my granite remnants and give that a try but I agree with many of you that a set of stones or diamond plates might need to be the next purchase. I’ll keep my eye out for some deals.

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 2687 days

#18 posted 01-28-2013 11:43 PM

You won’t regret the MkII. I got one a few months ago and it helped me get on track to some wickedly sharp tools.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View bandit571's profile


19972 posts in 2679 days

#19 posted 01-28-2013 11:56 PM

Let’s see, I have a 6” grinder, one rest is set @ 25*. I have the MKI honing guide. I have a beltsander I can clamp upside down in my vise, and lock in the “ON” mode. Install an item in the guide, run it on the sander, with the belt running away from me, and the edge pointed away from me. After a new edge is “sanded”, I leave the guide on, and head for the oil stones. Three stones, five different grits. A little bit of VERY FINE sandpaper is next, then a few swipes on an old leather belt.

Yep, that about does it.

Millers Falls #8, type 4 had an iron with a “reverse camber”, the corners stuck out beyond the center. Trip across the grinder to get a new, square edge, then through all the steps above. On the grinder, there is a large space between the rest and the wheel. About a finger and a half wide. I keep a finger tip on the iron in there, checking on the heat of the iron. Starts to get heat, pull the iron away for awhile. Anyway, got the old iron back on the M-F#8

Might need a little more on the strop???

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View monkeymeetsrobot's profile


3 posts in 2613 days

#20 posted 01-29-2013 12:11 AM

I have the worksharp, wasn’t super satisfied with the results. I bought the ezelap diamond stones on Amazon, 250, 600, and 1200, and I bought a pound of green honing compound which I applied to a strop from DLT. Not super fast by any means, but with the green honing compound to finish things off I am easily shaving the hair off my arm.

Video with Paul Sellers demonstrating the technique

View JSZ's profile


37 posts in 3058 days

#21 posted 01-29-2013 01:02 AM


As you’ve found by reading these responses, if you get 10 woodworkers in a room, you’ll get 15 opinions about the best sharpening techniques and equipment. I’ve been a woodworker for a long time, and I’ve been teaching others to sharpen for about ten years. Like a lot of other people, I have dumped a ton of money into different jigs, tools and machines, all of which promise you the very best results, very fast. Most of these investments now stay on the shelf, until it’s time to go teach another class. Then they come along, so I can show folks what not to buy.

Here’s what I use now:
  • a 12” x 18” x 3” granite test plate.
  • a 6” white wheel on a slow-speed (1720 rpm) grinder, to creat a hollow when I need it.
  • synthetic Japanese water stones in 800, 1200, 4000 ad 8000 grits;
  • no honing guide or jig (most of the time).

With this minimal list of equipment you can get an extremely sharp edge on any plane iron or chisel in your shop.

You need to learn how to use this stuff, and you need to practice. No one is born knowing how to sharpen; however, it is a skill that anyone can learn.

I have a series of posts on my blog that will step you through the process, at least the way I teach it in my classes. Here's a link that gets you started. Once you get through the first post, others follow.

Whatever method you settle on, practice, and stick with it. As your skills develop, you might branch out and try new things. But it isn’t necessary to spend a ton of cash to get absolutely sharp tools – you just need to practice.

Good luck!!

-- -- Do Good Work. Jeff Zens, Custom Built Furniture, Salem, OR.

View Kevin_WestCO's profile


62 posts in 2543 days

#22 posted 01-29-2013 02:21 AM

MonkeyMeat- I wondered about those EzeLap plates. They are a lot more affordable then most I’ve looked at and wondered how good they were. Just watched that video. Thanks!

Jeff- I know what you mean about the sharpening opinions! I talked to a couple friends locally and they all swear that the other guy system is crap and he’s the only person and truly gets a good edge! lol. Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out, I appreciate it!

View lightningejs's profile


1 post in 1920 days

#23 posted 02-17-2013 10:29 PM

I use the same sharpener to resharpen my thickness planer and jointer blades, there is a fellow called askwoodman .com who shows a good way to get the results you’re looking for : I use this method to sharpen my power tools, i dont hone them and can shave with them. i also adopted this same gentleman’s method for honing hand tools, i find it fast and efficient

View Roswell's profile


77 posts in 2314 days

#24 posted 02-19-2013 06:44 PM

Scary sharp works and is okay if you only have a few edges to sharpen. I’ve got a Trend diamond whetstone. Guaranteed flat to half a thousandth of an inch. 300 grit on one side, 1000 on the other. I’ve also got a honing guide they make like the Mk II. Mine is not square, and it’s a real pain to get it set up correctly so I don’t have skew. However…it’s fast. Fast fast. You can lap blades/irons pretty quickly, sharpen, flip it over, sharpen, debur, and then I slap down 2000 grit on my table saw table and polish. It takes more time to set it up in the honing guide than it does to hone it.

I also had some old craftsman chisels I gave my 9yo son that needed a little love. They wouldn’t fit in the guide, so I did them by hand. It’s not as difficult as I thought, and worked out well (and quick).

Downside: The stone and hone will run you just as much as a ws3k

Upside: it doesn’t wear out, and it fits in a small amount of space.

If you’re interested in it, there’s a Rob Cosman video about it somewhere in youtube land.

-- _Never argue with an idiot. They'll just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience_

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics