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Sharper please!

by DannyBoy
posted 11-08-2007 04:39 PM


41 replies so far

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2620 days


#1 posted 11-08-2007 04:48 PM

Get a honing guide like the Veritas MK 2.

http://www.veritastools.com/Products/Page.aspx?p=144

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12302 posts in 2843 days


#2 posted 11-08-2007 04:55 PM

Make sure the back of the blade has been flattened and polished. Ditto on the honing guide.

Also there are a number of good videos available if that is a good way for you to learn.

I’m short on time now, but let me know and I will post a couple of recommendations after I get home tonight.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 2651 days


#3 posted 11-08-2007 04:59 PM

Just make one of these out of scrap wood, don’t buy a jig (waste of $ IMO)

jig

jig2

-- http://nelsonwoodworks.biz/

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2767 days


#4 posted 11-08-2007 05:05 PM

Hi DB:
No matter how experienced you are , if your are having trouble getting an edge follow this instruction to the letter. Don’t substitute anything and dont skip any steps.
After you master this method you will see the value of several other ways albiet more costly.

Cheers

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2620 days


#5 posted 11-08-2007 05:31 PM

I know what you mean, I have a heck of a time getting a sharp edge on anything. My dad can put a razor edge on an axe using a dry waterstone. The only time I have a razor edge on anything is when I put a new blade in my razor!

I use the scary sharp system on a piece of granite with a cheap honing guide, and I actually get pretty good results (compared to my other sharpening failures). I’m always tempted to move on to finer grit before dings and nicks are quite taken care of with the first grit. “It’s close, I’ll finish it with the next grit or two.” Wrong! If you don’t get past a ding with the coarse paper, you’re never going to “finish it up” with the finer grit paper. Also, sharpening one side creates a burr on the other side that needs to be lapped.

I think sharpening is another area of woodworking that is more art than science. Practice, practice, practice!

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2767 days


#6 posted 11-08-2007 06:04 PM

Hi Pete:
Not meaning to be contrary but sharpening is all science.

1. Good(appropriate) steel ,properly tempered.
2. Clean, unused abrasives, mounted on a sturdy deadflat backing.
p.s. it pays to buy top quality abrasives as the less expensive types generally loose grit faster than you would expect.)
3. A consistant angle of approach generally religated to a holding device or jig.
4. Practice

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2620 days


#7 posted 11-08-2007 07:28 PM

Hey, Bob! I agree with all four of your points, but point #4 is why I think it’s an art. Do you practice science? Science (in my mind) means I put “A” and “B” and “C” together and I always come out with “D”. Art (in my mind) means I put “A” and “B” and “C” together several times, and each time I gradually improve until I get very close to “D”. Then I try some more to get even better. And there are some different interpretations of what is close enough to “D” to be good enough.

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View DannyBoy's profile

DannyBoy

521 posts in 2611 days


#8 posted 11-08-2007 07:41 PM

Not to be off topic, but medicine is a science, but doctors tend to “practice” it.

-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2767 days


#9 posted 11-08-2007 08:06 PM

In the United Kingdom and in Canada, “practice” is the noun, “practise” the verb; but in the U.S. the spelling “practice” is commonly used for both, though the distinction is sometimes observed. “Practise” as a noun is, however, always wrong in both places: a doctor always has a “practice,” never a “practise.”

I used the noun “practice” so as not to confuse our American spellers. <g>

cheers
Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2767 days


#10 posted 11-08-2007 08:14 PM

Peter, in practice for most uses of sharp tools the task is preformed by machinery.

I think that it must be mostly science or we could not do this?

The problem with woodworking is that most folks don’t know what they are looking for and tend to ove or under machine the tools.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View DannyBoy's profile

DannyBoy

521 posts in 2611 days


#11 posted 11-08-2007 08:55 PM

That may be where I’m at… I realized when I fired up the grinder yesterday that I really don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Yet, with the typical young bravado, I urged forward and scraped the original bevel off and now realize that it wasn’t the smartest thing to do.

-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2767 days


#12 posted 11-08-2007 09:35 PM

Just because I did that way before you did doesn’t make me any smarter. <vbg>

The smart stuff starts when you are intelligent enough to realize that there must be a better way!

Cheers

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2620 days


#13 posted 11-08-2007 10:35 PM

Bob – Well, I suppose it depends on your perspective. There is a huge amount of science involved in playing a piano … you can define it pounds of force on the keys and the mechanical motion of the hammers and the quality of the strings and sound board and the exacting process of manufacture. You can define all the tones in hertz and decibles. But my skill (or lack thereof) has a huge affect on what comes out of that piano. To me, that’s art. I think it’s similar with sharpening – lots of science involved, but my skill (or lack thereof) really determines the outcome. I suppose I would consider a “Drill Doctor” is sharpening science.

Danny – Sorry to hijack your post with a philosophical discussion of art vs. science! While Bob and I don’t agree on what to call it, we do agree that you need a good system with high quality abrasives, and if you follow the system, you will get better with practice (or practise?).

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2767 days


#14 posted 11-08-2007 10:54 PM

http://img.directindustry.com/images_di/photo-g/316081.jpg

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View DannyBoy's profile

DannyBoy

521 posts in 2611 days


#15 posted 11-08-2007 11:16 PM

No problem, Pete. If my question spurs up a few more that enlightens those who are willing to notice, then I’m cool with that. I think your right, though. Science and art are just different adjectives to describe the same thing.

-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/

View Dadoo's profile

Dadoo

1776 posts in 2736 days


#16 posted 11-08-2007 11:39 PM

Not really, but there are always exceptions in the art vs. science topic. Ever seen fractal images? It’s mathematical science created with a computer to produce rather beautiful pictures. And then there are LJ’s here who have used chemistry to etch a copper panel, producing very beautiful artwork! But we were discussing sharpening blades right? It’s all science until you go that one step further and make it an art.

Right?

Good! Time for a brewski!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2620 days


#17 posted 11-09-2007 05:29 AM

Dadoo: “It’s all science until you go that one step further and make it an art.”

That’s exactly it! Have a brewski on me!

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View Karson's profile

Karson

34912 posts in 3146 days


#18 posted 11-09-2007 06:09 AM

Get a good honing Guide. I have the veritas MK !! and it’s great but I think the Pinnacle is better. It’s only sold at Woodcraft. It’s made for them by Woodpeckers or Incra Router fame. It’s about $20.00 more than the MK II but worth it in my estimation.. And you an use it with the Scary Sharp series of papers. You don’t neet to buy their sharpening papers because they are overpriced. It’s like printers they will give you the printer so you buy their ink.

I think the Pinnacle is underpriced for what it does, compared to other honing guides but use regular Silicon Carbide papers instead of the 6.00 for three sheets of paper at Woodcraft.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4438 posts in 2708 days


#19 posted 11-09-2007 07:10 AM

Well, Danny, everyone’s said it. Get your self a guide. Use it on glass or a granite surface plate. Learn what the angles are and put on your glasses or a magnifier to make sure you get it down to a smooth surface on each grit. Make sure that the back of the iron or chisel is perfectly flat. Go through all the grits right up to jewler’s rouge. I has to be polished as well as sharp. Good luck. I don’t have a notion whether it’s science or art. LOL

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2906 days


#20 posted 11-09-2007 09:04 AM

at a wood show I watched Rob Cossman (is that right??) give a little mini lesson on sharpening… he spent a lot of time talking to the gentleman about how to hold the metal blade… he walked through the process of holding the blade several times—put your thumb here and your two fingers here…. and hold it just like that.. every time…
The rest of the process went rather quickly but again he restated the importance of how to hold the blade. I thought that was interesting.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2767 days


#21 posted 11-09-2007 03:11 PM

Ms Debbie, I wonder what his instructions would be like if he took on the Worksharp line.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2906 days


#22 posted 11-09-2007 04:05 PM

not sure, but his instructions did support the comment above of keeping the blade at the same angle – consistently. I guess that whether you are doing it “by hand” or “by machine” that keeping the same angle is vital. (not that I’ve done any sharpening… but I’m keeping my eyes and ears open)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2620 days


#23 posted 11-09-2007 04:13 PM

There was an article recently in one of the big magazines (don’t remember which off-hand) that advocated holding the blade in your hands – no honing guide. The author said he’d done it for years and taught lots of people to do it that way. But he was very clear that maintaining a consistant angle was important. Good article – I picked up some ideas – but I still use a honing guide!

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View DannyBoy's profile

DannyBoy

521 posts in 2611 days


#24 posted 11-09-2007 04:16 PM

So what about the Veritas Mk II makes it so much better than anything else? There seems to be an option (several if you look on ebay) for a honing guide that is about $40 less than the Veritas. If I am just using the guide to hold the piece at a certain angel it shouldn’t mater what product I use as long as it is firmly holding the piece at that angel, right?

Also, I got a bit creative and put together a guide made out of a squared up piece of 2×6 just to hold the blade correctly. It did make a huge difference in the edge I was getting. My problem right now is I got over zealous with the grinder and I’m having to correct a bad edge. I’m guessing that it will now be a long process of going through the grits, honing, repeat.

-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2620 days


#25 posted 11-09-2007 04:36 PM

I went to Woodcraft and bought their cheapest honing guide. They looked down their nose and tried to talk me out of it, but I bought it anyway. My theory was the same as yours: it holds the blade at the desired angle. I’ve been perfectly happy with it. Now maybe some people will point out that I’m only happy with my Yugo because I’ve never driven a Cadilac, but I’m getting edges that do what I want them to do. You and Darren have both discovered that a chunk of wood can be used to create the angle.

I think that if you re-build the correct angle with a very coarse grit (or even a file), working through the grits from there won’t take too long.

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2767 days


#26 posted 11-09-2007 05:08 PM

We seem to have gravitated to discussing the best method of maintaining the proper angle when sharpening.

I thought the fellow (DB) wanted to know “how” to approach the whole system of sharpening?

So do you want to spend 20 minutes per blade or 15 or 10 or 5?

My question now would be this:
If you had all the money necessary to purchase the best system for tool sharpening in a wood shop what would you choose? ( Bear iin mind that the most expensive system may not be the most cost effective too)

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Dadoo's profile

Dadoo

1776 posts in 2736 days


#27 posted 11-09-2007 05:17 PM

I’d want that big laser they used in Goldfinger! You know where he said, “No! I expect you to die Mr. Bond!”

http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-images/Film/Pix/gallery/2006/11/03/goldfinger1.jpg

Sorry. Had to throw that in there. Actually, what I’m interested in is that worksharp system you bought Bob. Any chance of posting a review? Will it sharpen kitchen knives too?

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12302 posts in 2843 days


#28 posted 11-09-2007 05:23 PM

Good advise Peter.

We have reviews of the worksharp and Veritas on the site. Veritas can handle larger width blades than the worksharp in it’s guides Tom (Mot) has one. A number of us have the Worksharp.

The Worksharp works well on blades upto 2”. It is not the best if you have to regrind the main bevel angle due to speed and abrasive wear. I think it is a real time saver for flattening the back of blades. Size is not a limitation for this use.

WorkSharp
http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/WayneC/blog/1113

Veritas
http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/mot/blog/1149

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View DannyBoy's profile

DannyBoy

521 posts in 2611 days


#29 posted 11-09-2007 05:32 PM

Basically, I want to be able to sharpen/hone a plane iron down to a good enough edge that I can move on to other parts of tuning a plane in order to get it to work right. I figure if I can get a good grip on this (there’s a pun there somewhere), then I should be able to apply that knowledge to other edges such as chisels.

For now, the time spent doesn’t matter too much to me as long as it isn’t an entire day to get one edge (which that seems the case considering I suck at it right now). If it takes an hour to get one good edge I’m willing to go for it. But seeing as I am a broke novice, I have to ask: “Can I get satisfactory results for less money?”

~DB

P.S.: I originally had a long winded post about me being broke. I reread it and realized that I was whining. Thank God for proof reading.

-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/

View DannyBoy's profile

DannyBoy

521 posts in 2611 days


#30 posted 11-09-2007 05:33 PM

Wow. I wish I could afford the Worksharp. Anyone know of a sugar momma willing to give me a loan?

Or, has anyone tried approaching a 6in bench grinder from the side of the wheel? There has to be a problem with that somewhere. Seems too simple to be a solution even in a small matter. But then again, if someone thinks its worth a shot…

-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2620 days


#31 posted 11-09-2007 05:48 PM

Danny – There are special wheels that can be approached from the side. If you approach a standard wheel from the side, you risk causing the wheel to explode. I’d look for other options.

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2767 days


#32 posted 11-09-2007 06:04 PM

Just for you DB.
We have a budget so we can dispense with giving advice you can’t use.
Get yourself a tool guide and go back to “scary sharp”. – that’s the cheapest and quite effective-
If you have a grinder make a piece of wood you can mount on the grinders rest to maintain the bevel you need and use that as a guide.
Grinders have a tendency to hollow grind the tool edge. that’s why many operators use a large wheel ( 8” is common)
Be careful not to push too hard or you will burn the steel. ( Sweep the blade )
Using a machinists square( that’s a little one that fits in you pocket) draw a line across the blade as close to the edge and you can with a felt pen.
Use the line to keep your iron straight across the cutting edge of the grinder stione.
p.s. I used to attach the chip breaker at 90° to the Iron and use that edge to guide the iron across the rest .
If you can, try to get a white or pink grinding stone as they run cooler and leave a better finish.

Once you get the iron straight and to the bevel you want, lay out your scary sharp material and using the coarse grit hone the back of the blade until it is level right across.
Don’t take too much off, just enough to see about 1/8” of shine at the cutting edge.
Now mount your sharpening guide with your iron and proceed through the grits until you have the edge you need.
It will start showing up at about the 1200 grit mark.
I continue to at least 4000.
When you can see your face in the edge it time to put the edge bevel on.
Tip the blade up about another 5° and take the last few passes at this angle.

Good luck

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View DannyBoy's profile

DannyBoy

521 posts in 2611 days


#33 posted 11-09-2007 06:20 PM

You win! I wonder if I can make it to Lenexa at lunch to go by the Woodcraft store and pick up a guide…

-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3971 posts in 2809 days


#34 posted 11-09-2007 06:31 PM

Going on down to Bluejacket Road, eh? Miss having a Woodcraft close by (about sixty miles from my bachelor home in Topeka). Omaha has a Mom and Pop store that’s great, but that Woodcraft is the ultimate toy bin.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View DannyBoy's profile

DannyBoy

521 posts in 2611 days


#35 posted 11-09-2007 06:42 PM

Well, if I don’t do it at lunch today, I may as well order it online. I live up in Gladstone and usually don’t venture south of the river on weekends. My office, however, is in downtown. Not too much closer, but close enough to make a run in an hour or so.

-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/

View DannyBoy's profile

DannyBoy

521 posts in 2611 days


#36 posted 11-09-2007 09:44 PM

Quick update:

I did get to the store at lunch. Went over about 8 min, but who cares. Right?

I am never allowed back in that store without a plan again!!! I had a little joy-gasm just walking in the front. This is what I wish Westlake was like. Woodcraft freakin’ rocks, man! I got the guide and I’ll be attempting it tonight. With a little luck and the right amount of caffeine, I’m expecting some good results.

Seriously, thanks for everyone’s input. I know I get on a rant about cost, but every little bit of info helped. Now, once I hit the right lottery numbers I’ll make sure to buy you all a sharpening station to say thanks!

-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 2651 days


#37 posted 11-09-2007 10:05 PM

“Now, once I hit the right lottery numbers I’ll make sure to buy you all a sharpening station to say thanks!”

Very nice offer, but I already have one, it’s called “Nelson Sharpening Service” ;)

tool trailer

-- http://nelsonwoodworks.biz/

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3971 posts in 2809 days


#38 posted 11-09-2007 11:53 PM

Must be the MK XXVII…

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4438 posts in 2708 days


#39 posted 11-10-2007 03:37 PM

I think I paid 8 or 9 dollars for the first guide I bought at Woodcraft. I still use it on my large irons.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Operaman's profile

Operaman

134 posts in 2592 days


#40 posted 11-15-2007 03:23 PM

Having maximally sharp tools is imperative when you use handtools, as I am sure you have found out. Anything less than that is always going to be an exercise in frustration. I was an total novice when I started, and went through a number of systems (scary sharp, etc.). After studying with Garrett Hack, he helped me decide on a simple method: Norton waterstones in grits 220, 2000, 4000, 8000 and 1 micron and 1/2 micron diamond paste on air-dried cherry. To keep my waterstones in good order, I flatten often with a DMT lapping plate. You can spend money on a jig (I did, on several), but there is a certain freedom in learning how to do it by hand, and it really isn’t that difficult (trust me, I am not that coordinated) which has relegated my jigs to the “unused stuff drawer”. You simply have to use the blade bevel as a guide and lock your writst. Polishing the back to a mirror shine I have found is of utter importance. Proper practice is the other key. As I said, when I started I couldn’t sharpen jack and now I easily maintain a mirror polish on all of my plane irons, chisels, etc. Should I do a video of this method? Might be easier to see than to explain in words.

-- Cheers!

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2906 days


#41 posted 11-15-2007 04:08 PM

CSS Video would be great Scott!!
(Cyber Skill Share)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

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