Sharpening Question

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Forum topic by depictureboy posted 10-08-2009 03:07 PM 1581 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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420 posts in 3667 days

10-08-2009 03:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sharpening

I have a couple procedural question about sharpening.

1. When Lapping the back, do you go through all the grits first and then do the bevel?

2. When creating the primary bevel do you go through all the grits or do you stop at like 400 before you create the micro bevel?

-- If you can't build it, code it. If you can't code it, build it. But always ALWAYS take a picture.

16 replies so far

View naomi weiss's profile

naomi weiss

207 posts in 3418 days

#1 posted 10-08-2009 03:14 PM

Regarding 1, i have seen it done both ways. I think When ppl lap after it’s called backing off…but i am sure someone more knowledgeable will comment…
As for 2, i checked Schwarz, and i think you just grind the primary bevel, and the micro is done with honing (in other words, i think you do it the way you wrote). Again, someone will know better than i. Check out Kari Hultman’s blog.

-- 'Humility is a duty in great ones, as well as in idiots'--Jeremy Taylor

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4114 days

#2 posted 10-08-2009 04:00 PM

In my class you can do it either way. If you do the lapping first you might have to go back to your highest stone to chase the wire burr.

You just do the micro bevel on your last grit. The disadvantage of using a micro bevel is repeatability of the angle. If you stick with a primary bevel it is easier to hold the chisel at the same angle (free hand) for touching up. Just a thought.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3673 days

#3 posted 10-08-2009 04:06 PM

1. I go through the grits only 1 time… so I’ll lap the back on lets say 100 grit, then do the bevel on 100… and move on to 150…. lap the back… do the bevel…. move on to 400…. and so on and so forth.

2. I only grind the primary = course grit. there is no need to go through the grits, and hone it since it will not be the cutting edge anyways, and not even be the the “chip breaker” as the wood will be riding the micro bevel angle.

so to put it together : lowest grit (100) lap the back, do the primary bevel, then 150 grit – lap back, do microbevel, 400 grit – lap back, do micro bevel, 600 grit – back, bevel, 1000 – back, bevel, 2000 – back – bevel. and you should have a razor sharp blade

mind you – when you do the microbevel since there is so little material that needs to be taken off – you shouldn’t put too much time into it, it should be fairly quick since you don’t want to take off too much material and turn it into a “primary bevel”

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

View depictureboy's profile


420 posts in 3667 days

#4 posted 10-08-2009 04:19 PM

Cool thanks guys…purplev…that is just the way I was thinking about doing it, but I just wanted to make sure…

Thanks all.

-- If you can't build it, code it. If you can't code it, build it. But always ALWAYS take a picture.

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3602 days

#5 posted 10-08-2009 05:26 PM

I always flatten the back before I start and as I go through the grits. I use a worksharp 3000. I have never used a micro bevel and my chisels cut like a hot knife on butter.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View depictureboy's profile


420 posts in 3667 days

#6 posted 10-08-2009 06:50 PM

Jim, how long do you find your grits last? and how do you squeegee the underneath platter? I am going through all my blades, so I am starting from scratch basically. I bought a pack of 80 grit PSA from lowes and used that for the initial flattening of the back and primary bevel on all the items(chisels and plane blades). Now I have moved up to the 120 that came with the 3k…I already wrecked on disk on trying to flatten and set the primary bevel…that is why I got the coarser grit…So Now I am moving up through the grits and was looking for some pointers…. :)

-- If you can't build it, code it. If you can't code it, build it. But always ALWAYS take a picture.

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

380 posts in 3993 days

#7 posted 10-09-2009 06:13 PM

I don’t start on the bevel until the back of the blade is flat and honed to the final level that you will eventually use on the bevel. You only have to do this once, so do it right.

When you hone the bevel you will raise a wire edge. This is your indicator that you have honed across the bevel to the back of the blade. Soo…

Hone the bevel with your coarse grit until you feel the wire edge … then remove the wire edge on your finishing stone ..

Hone the bevel on the next grit until you remove the scratches and until you get a wire edge ... then remove the wire edge on your finishing stone ..

And … Hone the bevel on the next grit until you remove the scratches and until you get a wire edge ... then remove the wire edge on your finishing stone ..

And so on …

Regards from Perth


-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3359 days

#8 posted 10-10-2009 10:04 AM

I’m sure you could do it either way. I like the micro bevel because I hone by hand and it is easy to touch up when needed with the finest grit. As they say “all roads lead to Rome”

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View treeman's profile


208 posts in 3474 days

#9 posted 10-10-2009 11:11 AM

depictureboy, I have and use the WS3000 in my sharpening process but not exactly as they recommend. I purchased the wide blade attachment and sharpen on top of the wheel. I don’t use the WS to flatten the back because I couldn’t do it without putting some gouges in the back.

My process goes like this now. First I flatten the backs on sandpaper attached to plate glass and finish to a mirror polish on an 8000 grit waterstone. You only have to flatten the back once so do it right. For the bevel, I put my blade in a Veritas Mark II honing guide and then grind the bevel on TOP of the Work Sharp only to the 400 grit level. I use the waterstone to remove the wire edge. Once the bevel is ground to 400, I set the Veritas honing guide for a micro bevel and make a few passes on my 8000 water stone. Turn the blade over and remove the wire edge and you are done.

Using my method, I don’t have to stop the machine to clean the wheel as the grinding surface is on top. It also saves on the expensive WS abrasive disks since I only use it to 400 grit. This method is also very fast since you only have to hone a micro bevel to your final finish.

View allan0101's profile


2 posts in 3168 days

#10 posted 10-21-2009 03:30 AM

Does anyone use a leather strop to either remove the wire burr, or touch up the micro bevel?



View DonDA's profile


169 posts in 3256 days

#11 posted 10-21-2009 04:03 AM

Allan, I have found that using a leather strop works really well for finishing an edge. When I’m totally finished, I PULL BACKWARDS over the leather 4-5 times on both the bevel and the back, usually alternating every couple of strokes. Athough I was always happy with my edges before I had the strop, I found a marked improvement in my edges with just that little bit of stropping.

-- Don, Saginaw Mi

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3359 days

#12 posted 10-21-2009 11:32 AM

I too use a leather strop. You must use it carefully though because it is fairly easy to ruin a nice edge by having your chisel on a too high angle while stropping. Keep it at a low angle and do as Don says above.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View WeeWilly's profile


20 posts in 4092 days

#13 posted 11-03-2009 06:11 PM

I use a Worksharp 3000 for all my sharpening…..boy it really works.

-- WeeWilly

View Kolmar's profile


20 posts in 3154 days

#14 posted 11-05-2009 08:05 PM

I only use sandpaper from 320 to 600 to 1000 to 1500 to a final at 2000 to flatten the back, then go through the same to do the primary bevel, I just recently have been experimenting with a micro bevel but either i am doing it wrong, too many swipes or something cause i get way better just doing a primary 25 degree bevel and no micro. Any pointers on how to do a proper micro bevel, how many swipes and such?

-- Kolmar

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3295 days

#15 posted 11-05-2009 08:15 PM

I won’t go through the stuff above as they got it handled…..only to say I use a diamond hone to finish most of my tools as the Al Oxide used in most sandpapers is not harder then the hardness index on most HSS or Carbon steels used in Lathe Tools (I use the sandpaper on chisels and planing irons). I also use a strop with diamond compound to get a smooth edge…it saves alot of finish sanding on my projects later on…

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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