Getting Away from Waterstones

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Forum topic by Gerald Thompson posted 07-30-2016 01:41 PM 920 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Gerald Thompson

804 posts in 1653 days

07-30-2016 01:41 PM

I am sick and tired of using WS. I am at best a bumbler when it come to sharping. I have a 120 and 1200 diamond plate. What further grits would I need to bring it up to my Shapton 8k? I know it is a WS but I do not have to flatten it every few min.
I have tried to teach myself hollow grinding and do OK on practice irons but the real stuff puts in an anxiety state and I ruin them.
I just want to be able to use my shooting board for end grain and maybe my 4 1/2. It is odd that up to last year I had no trouble with hand sharpening anything and I have given up trying to do that again.
Please don’t consider this a whine it is the way things are.

-- Jerry

24 replies so far

View Andre's profile


992 posts in 1224 days

#1 posted 07-30-2016 02:18 PM

Can you use PM-11 irons from Veritas? I have replaced all my Stanley irons, big disadvantage is not sharpening all the time!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View rwe2156's profile


2111 posts in 899 days

#2 posted 07-30-2016 02:24 PM

Flatten ever few minutes? I use a 4/8k and I flatten about once every session, more if I’m flattening backs or doing 5 or more tools.

I would say something like 4000 just keep in mind the grit doesn’t equal between types of stones.

Perhaps a hands on sharpening class so someone could clique your technique?

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

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

804 posts in 1653 days

#3 posted 07-30-2016 02:37 PM

I had a fellow show me about sharpening. I just don’t have the feel anymore. I even screw up with a jig. The realization hit me, I just don’t care about woodworking much anymore. It is too much for me. As an example, I have never been able to read plans. They all lock up into one item and I cannot separated them. My wife has to figure them out. I tried to put together table saw sled and started to build it backwards and ruined the whole thing. I have been trying this for 30 years and it dawned on me I have never felt any satisfaction after I made something. It seems to be all work for me.
I will keep a lot of my power tools and if my wife wants to make something I can mill the lumber and let her go from there.
Thanks for the replies.

-- Jerry

View WhoMe's profile


1441 posts in 2662 days

#4 posted 07-30-2016 02:54 PM

Jerry, Sorry to hear that about the woodworking.
As for getting away from water stones, I’m mixed on the diamond plates myself. Yes they stay flat but I just don’t see the same results I get with stones.

For me, I find that if I’m in any bit of a hurry sharpening, it ends up taking me longer than slowing down and concentrating on my technique. Even then, I’m not Ness as consistent as I want to be.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View tshiker's profile


16 posts in 728 days

#5 posted 07-30-2016 05:39 PM

Jerry, Sorry you have so much trouble! I know it’s expensive, but if you are good with power tools maybe a machine like a Tormek would be better for you. With all the jigs it has it’s easy to get a sharp edge with it.

Just my opinion, others might disagree.


View JBrow's profile


743 posts in 338 days

#6 posted 07-30-2016 06:38 PM

Gerald Thompson,

Woodworking is kind of an odd avocation. I find it bit like golf, which I play infrequently. It is not clear to me why anyone does either; both are loaded with a lot of inward directed aggravation. As for woodworking and me, I suppose it is both creative and problem-solving drives inherent in my soul.

I am a little like you. Since I can rarely tell my left from my right, I often get things confused. I cannot begin to estimate the vast number of things both in the shop and out that I have had to do twice, messing up on the first try. There was a time when my mistakes made me upset. Since getting to know myself better, I just approach things realizing that I may have to re-do something and it is no big deal; I have the time and generally learn from my just made mistakes by the second or even third try.

Also, I find a completed project to be anti-climactic. After puzzling over the project plans, countless setups, dry fits, harrowing glue-ups, endless sanding and the headache of applying finish, I suppose the project ends up simply being a check mark on my list of things to do. However, I do get some joy from the reaction of my client (the wife) and the kind words of others; and the wife knows her challenge is to find my ever present mistake(s), which I have gotten pretty good at hiding.

Since it sounds like the hobby (I assume) has worn you down, cleaning up the shop and turning out the lights for a while may eventually give way the wood working itch that at one time you had to have had.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4405 posts in 3379 days

#7 posted 07-30-2016 07:29 PM

You’re gonna have to pick a method, and stay with it for success
There are SOOOOO many posts about the “best” way, and I go dumb and blind. Wanna sharpen to a zillion microns? There are some that do, but I just sharpen until the dumb old chisel or plane works. I have ceramics, oils, and diamonds. Add to that, there is a Makita water sharpener used for knives, etc. Pick one, and I can make somethin’ cut your danged finger nearly off. Whatcha wanna do?


View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

804 posts in 1653 days

#8 posted 07-30-2016 08:59 PM

I am an RN. Many years ago I worked in ICU/CCU. One day I went to work and after report I looked at all of the cardiac monitors. I could not recognize one rhythm on the screens. Shortly I had to do a wedge pressure and cardiac out put on a patient. I could not remember how to even hook up the devices. I was a dramatic case of burn out. I worked one more day in the units before anyone would believe me. To this day I cannot read an EKG.
It seems that I have burnt out in woodworking. I know it is hard for me to go into the shop and do anything and I don’t get fired up about a project.
So I think I’ll take a long time off and if I still feel the same way I will sell off.

-- Jerry

View jwmalone's profile


769 posts in 121 days

#9 posted 07-31-2016 01:24 AM

My grandfather had the same problem, but he had to have something to do, so he wound up spending lots of time down at the V.A. volunteering. He finally decided god just needed him to do something else. But I wouldn’t sell my stuff, just in case. I hope how ever it works out your happy with it.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View Kirk650's profile


272 posts in 167 days

#10 posted 07-31-2016 02:32 PM

Regarding sharpening, I use diamond plates. Sharpened all my planes yesterday. Whew!

As for woodworking, I’m not fully covered in wood chips every day. The desire to build something varies from time to time. After a big tough project I’m often a bit burnt out, but give it a short time and the desire to create is back. And even if I don’t feel the need to build big or fancy things, I’m always happy making wooden stools for kids or turning bowls or wooden tops.

Tuesday I begin on a wooden blanket chest, which will more likely be used as a toy chest. That and a small rocking chair will go to a favorite niece for her newest child.

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

804 posts in 1653 days

#11 posted 07-31-2016 08:06 PM

I gave sharpening a LV AL Jack blade another shot. I had sharpened it a few days ago and I could not get it to take shavings from end grain pine as I once had it do. It would on cherry though.
So I marched off to the grinder. I have the LV jig. I set the jig to 25d using their little angle devices. It seemed to me that if I moved the iron up to the wheel until it engaged it would be 25d. I made a lot of errors but got the thing sort of done. This was free hand mind you. I then used a jig and measured out 40cm which is supposed to be 25d. Things did not match up. The scratch marks were well behind the edge. Back to the grinder. Back to the jib and same story. I then thought I would us the little sliding clamp to stay square and see what happened.
The iron was tapered where it would reach the registration pin. I moved things around and used a small square to plum it up. All went to hell. Yes I got a hollow grind but something must have slipped as the blade is not square.
So, remembering I had another blade, I started in with the honing jig @ 25d and had at it. I started at 125 to 325 to 600 sandpaper to 800 water stone to 1000 sandpaper to 8000 Shapton. I never removed the iron from the jig. Everything was flat and checked to be so by a straight edge. I pulled the iron over my strop backwards a few times while still in the jig. It looked polished but did not seem a sharp as I recalled from the past.
I installed the iron in the plane and adjusted it so it was even all across and set to a whisper thickness. I placed a 6’’ wide 3/4’’ thick pine in my shooting board and got dust. As said earlier I once could get shavings. It was the same with cherry, dust.
So there I am. Once I could do it and now I have no idea.
I do know I am going to take all of my irons to a sharpening service and have then ground to 25d and to hell with hollow grinding and micro bevels. I can also learn to live with saw dust as this is just not worth it to me to get all wrapped around the axel wanting paper thin shavings.

-- Jerry

View rwe2156's profile


2111 posts in 899 days

#12 posted 07-31-2016 10:52 PM

I don’t think its the stones, its most likely technique.

When you go to the 8000 stone, pull your iron back in the jig just a bit to increase the angle 1 or 2º and hone a microbevel.

This should solve your problem (assuming the back is dead flat).

You can also use a strop after final stone.

Good luck!

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

View BurlyBob's profile


3456 posts in 1684 days

#13 posted 07-31-2016 11:15 PM

Jerry, I totally understand your case of Burn out. Had that in Law Enforcement, 23 years top Sgt and hated everything about it. Eventually got a truck and car hauling trailer. I spent 2 years in primal scream therapy driving the freeways of the US delivering cars. It was the best thing for me, I actually found out that folks will wave at you with all five fingers. Hang in there buddy you’ll do just fine.

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

804 posts in 1653 days

#14 posted 08-01-2016 01:09 AM

rew, I did use a strop and kept it in the jig. I might give the MB a shot. The question is if the iron won’t cut as it is what good will a MB do? As I see it is still a repeat of the original bevel.
I have thought this over and over. I used to free hand it all. Not to be the big guy on the block but to not have to mess with a jig.
I may give it a shot tomorrow after I see my patients and get the shop A/C humming. I am in a pissed mood in a positive way. There has to be something I am not seeing. I know the damn grinder is not in my skill set and plan on trying free hand once more.
I got away from free hand as I had and old chisel that is a good and collectable one given to me. I made it look like a skew and that cooked the free hand for a while.
Thanks to all.

-- Jerry

View Clarkie's profile


380 posts in 1259 days

#15 posted 08-01-2016 02:48 AM

Have your tools sharpened by an expert and end the aggravation. As for not being interested in woodworking, maybe after having finely sharpened tools to work with you might feel better about that too.

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