How to improve my sharpening

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Forum topic by DW833 posted 12-29-2013 08:50 PM 1127 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DW833's profile


215 posts in 1910 days

12-29-2013 08:50 PM

I’ve noticed an issue while sharpening my hand plane irons and chisels. It is not until I make a micro bevel on the edge do I notice a burr. I thought a burr would develop as I sharpened. Is this expected or am I doing something wrong?

The general process of my sharpening is here.

I sharpen stanley plane irons, narex chisel’s and one veritas #4 with PMV-11 steel.
A veritas lapping plate is used to flatten flat side.
Abrasive is EZE-Lap diamond stones with a window cleaner lubricant. The course, medium and fine grits.
Polishing is done on 1500 and 2000 grit wet-dry sandpaper. Lubricant is window cleaner.
A Veritas Mk. II honing guide is used. On this guide I use the standard scale and 30% bevel angle.

After sharpening using this setup, I don’t feel a burr. But the edge does feel sharp.
I then flip knob on guide so I can create a micro bevel. After just a few strokes, a burr develops on the blade.

6 replies so far

View Jim Wolfe's profile

Jim Wolfe

5 posts in 2258 days

#1 posted 12-29-2013 09:59 PM

Sounds like the primary bevel is greater than your guide setting and you’re not getting to the edge until you add that little extra for the micro bevel. I’d take a Sharpie and “paint” the bevel before I started sharpening so you can see exactly where you’re sharpening. How does it cut?


-- Woodbutcher and Producer of Fine, Hardwood Kindling. . .

View DW833's profile


215 posts in 1910 days

#2 posted 12-30-2013 02:07 AM

Thanks Jim. I did try that in the past and the mark was removed during sharpening.
They cut ok. Don’t have a lot of experience with hand planes/chisels and don’t have much to compare them to.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3676 days

#3 posted 12-30-2013 02:33 AM

Jim has a good theory.

If you’re not getting a wire edge, hold the iron up to the light…
if there’s a flat on the edge the light will reflect off it and
you’ll know you need to grind (or hone) away a little more
steel to get that edge acute.

View wunderaa's profile


248 posts in 2230 days

#4 posted 12-30-2013 03:32 AM

Ditto to Jim. At the end of the day though it is the micro bevel that’s doing all of the work. How are they cutting??

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2595 days

#5 posted 12-31-2013 08:53 PM

What do you mean by “I don’t feel the burr”? Look at it under a magnifying glass. The burr may be loose enough that you can’t feel it. It should definitely be there.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Planeman40's profile


1179 posts in 2789 days

#6 posted 01-01-2014 04:50 AM

This is why stropping on a lather strop works so well. It breaks off the wire edge and polishes and continues sharpening the edge. the old straight razor users knew about sharpening. That’s why barbers today still put that final touch on a straight razor using a leather strop before trimming the back of your neck. I have made leather strops of all sizes and shapes for everything from plane blades (a large wide flat strop) to curved strops of various radii to sharpen carving tools and lathe gouges. Just get some leather and glue it to some wood of the appropriate size and shape and then rub some honing compound into the leather surface. Honing compound comes in various types, bar, powder, and even diamond. Just find one you like. Draw the blade BACKWARDS against the strop using some pressure. I say this because I just know someone will try the opposite.


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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