|Forum topic by SlaterNation||posted 04-18-2012 08:24 PM||1639 views||0 times favorited||12 replies|
04-18-2012 08:24 PM
Sharpening Equipment I Have:
- Norton 220/1000 waterstone
It has been quite a learning process to get sufficiently sharp tools but I feel like I am finally getting to the point where I am reaching competency. I started out with the misconception that blades would be sharp and ready to use directly from the manufacturer but I have found that even the plane irons I received with my veritas planes were far from being ready to use. Since keeping your tools sharp is a part of ongoing required maintenance, this makes sense in retrospect.
When I first started using waterstones I had a similar misconception that they would be flat when they left the factory. Just like with chisels and plane irons, you cannot expect waterstones to be ready to use either. I also greatly underestimated the frequency with which the waterstones need to be flattened in order to achieve the desired level of sharpness.
My Current Sharpening Process
This is the process I now use starting from when I receive the chisel or plane iron from the manufacturer:
1) Flatten the back of the blade incrementally from 1000 to 4000 and finally to 8000. I examine the surface at each step to ensure that the surface is uniform and there are no coarser scratches than the stone I am currently flattening with. After the 8000 grit stone the blade will have a surface which is perfectly clear and mirrored.
2) Set the blade in the MK II honing jig at the desired angle (25 deg for most of my chisels and plane irons) ensuring that the blade is square to the fence (very important)
3) Hone the bevel with my 1000 grit stone until the entire bevel is ground to a uniform angle. Then proceed through the 4000 and 8000 grit stones. Just like with the back of the blade, there should be a perfectly clear mirrored surface on the bevel of the blade after this step.
4) Use the MK II micro-bevel knob along with the 8000 grit stone to give the blade a ~1/16” micro bevel.
5) Using green compound on a leather strop to perform final honing on the back and then the bevel (15-30 strokes on each).
Throughout each of these steps I stop to flatten the stone as soon as I see a fair amount of debris (black stuff) on the waterstone. Perhaps I have swung too far the other way from when I never flattened my waterstones (didn’t know I needed to!) but I find myself flattening the stone very frequently now. I would say ever 30-40 strokes across the waterstone. I can tell a much improved sharpening action after flattening the waterstone, which also has the effect of clearing all debris. I began to get much better sharpening results after obsessing over keeping the surface of my stones flat.
I keep my waterstones submerged in water at all times.
The problem which was driving me crazy is that I was initially using 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper on the granite slab to flatten the stones. This works just fine but I found the surface of the sandpaper would lose it’s ability to flatten efficiently very very quickly (especially when flattening the 1000 grit stone) and so it was not only expensive and messy, but also very laborious.
To that end I have purchased a DMT DuoSharp Coarse/Extra Coarse diamond stone after doing much research. I have not had much of a chance to put it though it’s paces (received it yesterday) but it did seem to flatten the one stone I tested with (8000 grit) much easier than the sandpaper method. I just held them together under a running faucet and rubbed the stone against the 220 grit side of the diamond stone.
Outstanding Questions and Concerns
- Can I use the DMT diamond stone to set the initial bevel on my blades? I expect it to remove material much quicker than the 1000 grit waterstone and my initial test seems to confirm this. Even though the DMT manual shows irons being sharpened directly on the diamond stone I am paranoid about it losing it’s cutting power and/or not staying perfectly flat. I do not want my $120 diamond stone to stop working for it’s primary purpose: keeping my waterstones flat.
- Why am I still seeing a non-uniform bevel being set across my new plane iron? I have recently purchased the Veritas low-angle jack plane and the 25 degree plane iron it comes with however when I set it in my honing jig (at 25 degrees naturally), the area where material is being removed can be clearly seen and it is removing more from the left side of the tip of the blade than the right. I am sure that the iron is squarely placed in the honing jig, and I know my stones are now flat so the only thing I can figure is that the blade from the manufacturer was not very accurately ground to 25 degrees. Not that I mind the additional work of honing the initial bevel on the blade, I just expected it to be much closer to “ready-to-use” than a Groz plane iron might be for instance. Should I continue to remove material all the way up to the beginning of the bevel so that it is uniformly set to 25 degrees according to my MK II honing jig? Do I only need to go half way up the bevel? Or is this a very bad sign that the material is not being removed consistently across the face of the bevel? Any suggestions?