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how far to sharpen various tools?

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Forum topic by bbasiaga posted 04-29-2016 01:50 PM 856 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bbasiaga

757 posts in 1461 days


04-29-2016 01:50 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sharpening

I just got a plane with a wider blade, which of course meant I needed a new sharpening stone. I got to reading around, and thought it would be interesting to see what other LJs are doing with their sharpening practice.

Regardless of what you use – diamond stones, water stones, sandpaper – how far do you take it? 4000 grit? 8000grit?

Do you sharpen all your tools to the same level? Or do you stop at lower grit for rough applications? For example, do you take your jack plane to 4k grit, but your smoother to 8k? Your rough chisels to 1k or 2k, but a paring chisel to 6 or 8k?

Here to fore, I had a only a 1k/6k water stone. So that’s how I sharpened everything. Now I’ll have 4 and 8 k as additional options.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.


19 replies so far

View mds2's profile

mds2

310 posts in 1410 days


#1 posted 04-29-2016 02:03 PM

I go to the highest stone I have, then strope with polishing compound. I have a full set of norton waterstones 220 through 8000 grit. I used to go through them all. Now I use DMT plates. XFine is the highest grit I have which is like 1200 grit.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

7176 posts in 2042 days


#2 posted 04-29-2016 02:11 PM

DMTs

8000 Japanese water stone with Nagura stone ( to make a slurry )

Then strop with green compound from Lee Valley

Sometimes .something micron PSA paper is used.

https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/store/dept/THS/item/ST-MAF.XX

The sample packet is a good starting kit :)

View Bob5103's profile

Bob5103

25 posts in 299 days


#3 posted 04-29-2016 02:26 PM

Depends…I prefer oil stones, but if I am repairing/reshaping a blade or iron I start with DMT diamond stones, extra coarse through extra fine. Normal touch up or sharpening I work through a soft Arkansas to a surgical black. Or somewhere in between. I always finish on either a 6k or 8k water stone and then strop. I know it’s kinda weird, but I like to make hunting knives in my “spare” time and this is what works for me. Here is my sharpening station.

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Richard H

489 posts in 1146 days


#4 posted 04-29-2016 02:29 PM

You don’t absolutely need new stones for a larger iron. Work the edge on the stone in small circles over the entire surface of the stone and let it hang off the edge. I assume you will be cambering the iron anyways so you really never work on more than a portion of the iron at a time regardless. A bigger stone is a luxury for sure but it’s also a larger surface area to have to keep flat.

I have 1k, 4k and 8k stones and while I don’t consider a 1k edge honed either 4k or 8k seems to work fine especially if you strop the edge afterwards.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1062 posts in 1455 days


#5 posted 04-29-2016 02:32 PM

For smoothing, jointing, shoulder, block, shave blades up to ~12,000 (0.3 um). 4,000 is probably high enough for scrub/jack planes. If interested here’s how I hone.

View Don W's profile

Don W

17971 posts in 2033 days


#6 posted 05-04-2016 12:17 AM

I sharpen everything on a 2” stone. Turn it semi sideways and use a Z pattern.

I sharpen everything to sharp. All on a hard Arkansas stone.

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

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jmartel

6575 posts in 1616 days


#7 posted 05-04-2016 12:46 AM

As was said, you don’t necessarily need wider stones. Just skew the blade. And I go up to 13000 grit.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

757 posts in 1461 days


#8 posted 05-04-2016 02:02 AM

Hi. My name is Brian. I cannot sharpen anything by hand. I’m really good at making things dull, unless I have a honing guide. With that, I can overhang the stone, but the skew method doesn’t work so well.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2198 posts in 946 days


#9 posted 05-04-2016 12:05 PM

<quote>Hi. My name is Brian. I cannot sharpen anything by hand. I’m really good at making things dull, unless I have a honing guide. With that, I can overhang the stone, but the skew method doesn’t work so well.

BrianBrian, that sounds like a “sharpeners anonymous” intro (LOL).

What specifically is your difficulty? Perhaps I can help you.

I go to 8000 + strop with just about everything. Your 6K would work fine, too.

One poster mentioned sharpening to 3000. IMO that is not enough, particularly if dealing with planing obstreporous grain. I’ve seen Paul Seller’s “sharpening to 600” video and quite honestly that would never work for me I don’t even consider that sharp! Its a matter of personal choice, what kind of tools you have and what type of wood you are using.

The grits on diamond stones, water stones and sandpaper are all different. My impression is water and diamond of the same grit the water will be a bit finer.

I think you could get by with 2” stones. I have only 3 and 4” wide stones but actually I skew the blade anyway because ergonomically that’s the way my sharpening technique has evolved.

I think skewing the blade just a bit increases accuracy, but your experience may be different.

Couple hints on technique: lock your elbows and rock your body & flatten the water stones before EACH use.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

757 posts in 1461 days


#10 posted 05-04-2016 01:33 PM

I could definitely start Sharpeners anonymous. I guess I just don’t have a steady enough hand to keep a consistent angle and get a good edge. So I use the Veritas honing guide. Works good for me, but has some limits.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1146 days


#11 posted 05-04-2016 01:55 PM

I had a hard time with freehand sharpening as well until someone showed me that you don’t sharpen with your arms you sharpening with your body moving and your arms locked to your side. Once I started to work this way I found holding a consistent angle was a lot easier.

The one thing I don’t do is put a micro bevel on my tools anymore. Since I started to hollow grind my tools there doesn’t seem to be any advantage to do that since the iron is only touching the stone at the tip and heel anyways and because it touches in two points it’s a lot easier to find the same bevel angle when I go back to touch up a edge.

Shanon over at the The Renaissance Woodworker has some great videos on this technique of body movement such as this one here. http://www.renaissancewoodworker.com/rww-171-free-hand-sharpening/

He didn’t invent it but the way he explained it seems to work well for me.

I have a huge issue with putting cambers on irons with guides and I have tried several different kinds. It’s not impossible but I have never been able to get good consistent results when using guides so for any thing except chisels guides seems like more trouble than they are worth for honing. And even than honing most chisels by hand is just faster once you get the hang of it. Now for taking a nick out of edge I think guides make the whole process a lot easier and faster since you are removing steel very evenly.

Hope this helps and good luck,

Richard

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HokieKen

1787 posts in 604 days


#12 posted 05-04-2016 06:38 PM



I could definitely start Sharpeners anonymous. I guess I just don t have a steady enough hand to keep a consistent angle and get a good edge. So I use the Veritas honing guide. Works good for me, but has some limits.

Brian

- bbasiaga

I can hone my chisels freehand all day long. But, for some reason I just can’t get it down with plane irons. I guess it’s the thin blades and my fat “sausage” fingers :P If you recess a pocket into a sheet of MDF so you can put your stones in the pocket with the top of the plate flush with the surface, you can turn your stone 90 degrees and hone in that direction and still use the guide.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2198 posts in 946 days


#13 posted 05-05-2016 12:02 PM

Brian lots of great ww’ers use honing jigs. It will definitely keep your blades at a consistent angle.

One problem I have is the angle will gradually creep up because I tend to increase the angle just a tad with each sharpening (probably just impatience wanting to get the burr more quickly to get back to work). I’ve had chisels get almost to 40 degrees. When this happens I just redo the hollow grind, usually about once a year.

I do use a jig every now and then to re-establish the bevel angle. I also use it on a couple chisels with 20 degree bevels for soft wood that I find a little difficult to hand hone.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View brtech's profile

brtech

905 posts in 2388 days


#14 posted 05-05-2016 03:30 PM

Don’t forget that “grit” and “microns” and the other ways to measure sharpening surfaces vary a lot, mostly by the technology and sometimes by the vendor. “8000” isn’t always “8000”

View KayBee's profile

KayBee

1083 posts in 2712 days


#15 posted 05-06-2016 02:44 AM

Here’s a chart that might help. It’s the link(in the link) to a pdf that lists and compares most all types off sharpening stones, papers, powders, microns, grit and magic fairy dust.

blog.lostartpress.com/2014/09/08/true-grit-ii-a-chart-for-deciphering-sharpening-gear/

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

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