Flatting Backs of Iron

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Forum topic by BubbaIBA posted 06-23-2012 06:29 AM 1140 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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387 posts in 2403 days

06-23-2012 06:29 AM

I received a new to me Pexto 3/4” chisel a couple of weeks ago. Tonight was the first time I had the time to clean it up and put in into working condition. It wasn’t in too bad a shape, just the usual rounded over back from incorrect sharpening and the wood needed some cleaning and BLO.

I use sandpaper on granite for the course first pass then move on to extra/extra course diamond stones and up to the 3 micron diamond and then strop with Herb’s YellowStone to polish. The process gives plenty of time to think and make you “one” with the stones and the chisel :-), especially when starting off with a back that has been well rounded. Today’s thought was how can you flatten backs on water stones? They, waterstones, dish so quickly and even on the diamond stones, which are really flat and stay that way, just small defects as you work your way through the grits take a lot of work to even out. I can’t believe you can keep waterstones flat enough to truly get a flat, polished back, I know folks do it, and I’ve tried to but there is a reason I use either oil stones or diamonds.

BTW, once the back is flat I use a Tormek to set the bevel at 30 degrees, then free hand hone and polish on the same diamond stones starting with the fine and strop with Herb’s YellowStone. The Pexto is now really sharp, it makes beautiful clean cuts through ash end grain, just like it was cutting through cold butter. It should make a fine user.

1 reply so far

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3630 posts in 2907 days

#1 posted 06-23-2012 07:10 AM

I have a couple Shapton glass stones and they will dish very quickly if your not careful. I do not like using them to flatten the backs. I will sometimes spend a min or two using them to polish the back a little but anything more then that I use something else…

I don’t think there is any better way to lap a back flat then the Scary Sharp method… I use the 3M Micro film sheets to do my final polishing. The .5 and .3 micron sheets basically bring the backs to the same level of polish that a strop would.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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