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Sharper please!

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Forum topic by DannyBoy posted 11-08-2007 04:39 PM 2781 views 0 times favorited 41 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DannyBoy

521 posts in 2616 days


11-08-2007 04:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sharpening

I will be the first to admit that I am horrible at sharpening anything. My only success with sharpening has been a few kitchen knives that lost their edge on the first tomato. Now I am attempting to revitalize the cutting iron on an old wood plane (the iron is stamped Stanley 1992) and I am simply lost at this point.

So far this is what I have done:

I tried the Scary Sharp system using sand paper on a hard surface. The result was the blade seemed a little sharper. However, attempting to cut hair off my arm resulted in razor burn without any hair loss. I think the problem may be that I just haven’t given it either enough time or pressure to work.

Last night I spent an hour trying to use a grind wheel but that turned out to be less than full proof. Not only is the iron not sharp, but now it is no longer square and there may possibly be 15 different bevels on the blade surface. Funny thing is, I took an iron out of my Ace Westlake (please don’t laugh) jack plane and ran it accross the grind stone fairly quickly, put it back in the plane and it worked slightly better than before. What the hell’s with that?

I give up. I need to get some serious advice on what to do in order to get a good sharp and square iron out of all this. Any ideas/tutorials/mockery?

~DB

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


41 replies so far

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2625 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

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WayneC

12302 posts in 2848 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 2656 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 2772 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 2625 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 2772 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

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Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2625 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 --

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DannyBoy

521 posts in 2616 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 2772 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

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Bob #2

3808 posts in 2772 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

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DannyBoy

521 posts in 2616 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/

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Bob #2

3808 posts in 2772 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 2625 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 --

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Bob #2

3808 posts in 2772 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

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DannyBoy

521 posts in 2616 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/

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