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Forum topic by Bigtones posted 04-07-2014 01:39 PM 1329 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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19 posts in 1565 days

04-07-2014 01:39 PM

Hello fellow Lumberjocks, this is my first post, so Hello :)

I have been following this site for some time now and would like to thank many users on this site for creating a new lover of this great medium.

I have fallen in love with the idea of becoming a hand tool woodworker, and was wondering what kind of sharpening system should I start with and would you audio recommend a good strope or how to make one and what to look for in the leather. Also what kind of chromium oxide or strope compound to use. I don’t have much money was hoping to spend around $100.

Is thinking of purchasing 1 stone and a strope and charging agent.

Thanks for any help this great community can provide.

-- Boilermaker By Trade, Woodworker By Love.

10 replies so far

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3321 days

#1 posted 04-07-2014 05:33 PM

You can get a strop and some compound to charge it for a LOT less than $100. I have a piece of horsehide that was purchased at Tools for Working Wood glued to a piece of maple. The piece of leather from TFWW will cost you about $25 and the green chromium oxide will run less than $10 if you shop around a little bit. You can also get horsehide from any place that sells tack equipment (saddles, etc). They almost always have scraps around. If you really want to save some money, just use a piece of MDF or hard maple that has been charged with the compound. It will work fine. As to what kind of sharpening system you should use, that’s kind of like asking what flavor ice cream you should buy. There are a lot of options and we all have our favorites. If the $100 has ton include your sharpening system, you’ll probably end up with sand paper on glass/granite. That will work fine.

Welcome to the site and have some fun!!

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Bogeyguy's profile


548 posts in 2031 days

#2 posted 04-07-2014 05:52 PM

Oh nooooo! LOL!

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1269 posts in 1597 days

#3 posted 04-07-2014 06:07 PM

Before you spend on stones, you have to know what kind of metal you will have.
If you get tools with A2, the basic stones don’t cut as fast. I have the basic stones (king stones) and I have to work for a2. For O1 normal tool steel it will be fine.

A combo stone might work well for you. you can’t live with one stone. I have 3, 800, 4000, 8000.
I made my own strop out of leather from a thrift store. I picked up green at Home Depot (porter cable brand I think). The strop is the ticket to a sharp edge for me. It just raises the edge so much more than just sharpening which is sharp.

I also have a couple of Arkansas stones… some medium, fine, and super hard.. I prefer the water as I don’t like the oil, but find that I need to occasionally use the oil stones as they stay flat where the water require flattening. (I just flatenned the water stones last week)... $100 is not a lot to get started. Take a look at a norton combo, or a king combo.

The diamonds are nice, but really need oil to avoid rust, but you will spend nearly the 100 on one stone and they are not fine compared to the 8000 that you can get from the king or arkansas stones…

Sandpaper is a good starting place to start too. Get a granite plate.

I free hand and also use a guide. My guide is an inexpensive eclipse type honing guide. I modified mine to accept 1/8 mortise chisels. Free hand makes your sharpening easier to touch up an edge. But honing guide will be necessary for fixing a nicked edge as it takes a while to remove the nick.

Strop making is easy… mdf for a plate, and both sides of the leather are useful for different purposes.

-- Jeff NJ

View Bigtones's profile


19 posts in 1565 days

#4 posted 04-07-2014 07:10 PM

Thank you for the very fast replies.

This community is just great.

I was just re-watching some Paul Sellers videos and have decided to go ahead and purchase the Dia Sharp stones he always seems to use (250, 600, 1200) with a strop and chromium oxide…I found a combo on Amazon for 140 plus shipping.

Does anyone have any experience with these stones good or bad, and should I maybe look into a different kind of stone?

Thanks so much for the help.

-- Boilermaker By Trade, Woodworker By Love.

View jdh122's profile


995 posts in 2780 days

#5 posted 04-07-2014 08:42 PM

I’m sure that the Dia Sharp stones are good. You can get a 1000/4000 combo stone from Lee Valley for less than $40. They’re the King stones, so not as fast as some, but will still put a sharp edge no problem. That, plus a strop (piece of MDF or maple) and you can be sharpening for about $50. (If you’re already doing an order to Lee Valley, throw in their green honing compound, otherwise buy something where you get your stones). For me, the lower grits (250, 600) are really only needed if you need to re-shape an edge, and since it’s not frequent you can use sandpaper. If you want to use Paul Sellers freehand method you’re pretty much set with that, although you can also throw in a cheap honing guide for $10 ( and still be well under your $100 for the whole set.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Bigtones's profile


19 posts in 1565 days

#6 posted 04-07-2014 09:30 PM

Thank you so much for the advise.

-- Boilermaker By Trade, Woodworker By Love.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2056 days

#7 posted 04-08-2014 05:16 AM

If you’re looking for a sharpening machine the ones I know of are the Work Sharp, the Tormek, and the Robert Sorby machines (there are probably others). I have the Work Sharp and like it but wide plane wides won’t fit into the sharpening guide. Works great for mortise chisels.

View 7Footer's profile


2569 posts in 1911 days

#8 posted 04-08-2014 06:09 AM

Bigtones check out this website as well if you haven’t seen it yet, good prices and a lot of resources on there. I have a set of DMT stones and I am still a newb to sharpening, but the one piece of advice that i have is to buy a stone that is wide enough for all your blades, I really struggled getting the hang of sharpening my plane blades because I had to hold the blade at an angle to fit the whole thing on the stone so the honing guide wasn’t working, but i made another jig for it and eventually figured it out, Idk maybe it isn’t a big deal for some but it took me quite a while.

I don’t really think you can go wrong with whatever setup you choose, you’ll just learn what you like and don’t like after a while. I’ve got a 6000 hard arkansas and a homemade strop that I use after the DMT’s and that puts a nice final edge on my tools.

Re the strop, if you can find any tack shops around you just call and see if they have any leather scraps, a lady here gave me a whole grocery bag full and I just used spray adhesive to glue it to a piece of granite I had lying around, only cost me $6 for the chromium oxide. Here is the strop I made, and a mini behind it:

Good luck!


View Bigtones's profile


19 posts in 1565 days

#9 posted 04-09-2014 05:07 AM

So I’ve decided on the King Stones to start my journey. I just placed an order for the 1000/4000 combo from Lee Valley with the Honing Guide and the Green Veritas Compound so thank you JDH for showing me that. Friends of the family own a granite company and he just dropped off a 1’ x 1’ stone for me. Went to a belt maker down the road and he gave me three completed strops for free so that was amazing.

I want to thank everyone for taking the time to help a noob like me get going. It has been very much appreciated.

One more question if you guys don’t mind. If I’m trying to find out if the backs of my chisels are flat would you just go with some wet sand paper to do that or would you use the 1000/4000 combo for that?

Thanks again.

-- Boilermaker By Trade, Woodworker By Love.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2056 days

#10 posted 04-10-2014 03:03 PM

If the stone you’re flattening the backs on is flat the chisel backs will be flat too. Wet sandpaper works too. Flattening chisel backs is tedious but you only have to do it once.

Also, you don’t have to flatten the entire back. Just the first inch or so near the tip will do. The exception might be mortise chisels where you pound the things in pretty deep.

I do my sharpening with a glass plate, not granite. My understanding is that granite is superior to glass for sharpening. When I need to stick sandpaper on the glass I try to get it to stick with just water. If I can’t I use 3M’s Super 77 spray glue. BUT I don’t know if that’s a good idea on granite. Glass is pretty non-porous and you can get the Super 77 off with turpentine. Hopefully others will chime in about whether it’s safe to use spray adhesive on granite.

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