Bevel grinding frustration.

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Forum topic by comboprof posted 09-09-2014 07:43 PM 1065 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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277 posts in 1734 days

09-09-2014 07:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question humor grinder sharpening

This is basically a continuation of Help! Shaping the bevel with a grinder question

Just thought I’d update my experiences and vent a little. Maybe you can offer more advice.

So I finally got around to setting up my never been used with new stones 3400 rpm 1/6 hp made in china grinder I picked up at a garage sale. I put on it a norton white 150 grit wheel and kept the grey 80 grit wheel. I also put two of the Veritas after tool rests and got the two jigs they sell for it. Yes I know I could of built my own, but they were having free shipping and I wanted some Grobet saw files and a Narex mortise chisel, so I placed the order.

I mounted the grinder, tool rests, and also a buffer onto a 2-foot square 3/4 piece of ply wood. placed it at the end of a 2 by 8 foot work table. Plug it in turned it on and watched in horror as everything vibrated off the table. Turned it off and hid under the covers. After searching the web I find that excessive vibration is a common problem with cheap grinders. This is reassuring. Silly me to think it just work easily. I spent the morning getting the vibration down and now it is tolerable, but I should isolate it onto its own table. It’s O.K. for now. (I can write about what I did if you like.)

Time to grind a new bevel. I’ve been tuning up a type 17 Bailey number 4, and with out the grinder I had its 2 inch blade sharpened using a 2 by 12 inch Hard Arkansas stone, by following the bevel it already had. It cut well, but there was a chip in the blade and it was out of camber, i.e. more camber on the right then on the left. So I thought with the grinder I’d fix that. First I’d fatten out to the chip and then grind a new bevel. Setting the tool rest at 90 degrees to the white stone. I made a couple of passes with trips to the water quench that I kept at the opposite end of the table, where there is less vibration. Then I adjusted the blade to take off a little more. I slipped and and cut a 1/16 by 1/2 step into the blade. Great now I have to grind off a 1/16 inch. O.K. got that done. Using the plastic Jig included with the Veritas tool rest I set the table to 25 degrees. At least I think I did, but I’m not to sure how to do this correctly. The wheel is curved but the plastic jig is flat. Its not clear when it is set correctly. Anyway I grind out the new bevel in a few passes. No issues as I now know to be more careful. Off to honing. I set up the hard Arkansas stone and hone away with the Mk II Veritas honing guide. I don’t think the 25 degrees of the tool rest and the 25 degrees of the honing guide are the same. I spend a long time doing this honing. I get trigger lock in my left hand which is very painful, but I persist. Giving up I touch up the bevel with the belt sander go back to the stone and freehand hone. I finally get it sharp and finish with green compound on leather. So after 3 hours I have sharpened a blade for my smoother. (I also rounded off the corners by the way.) Then I proceeded to sharpen my Miller Falls 14c blade. That went faster and better. But still not as smooth an operation as I would like. I’m tempted to give up on the grinder and just set the bevel with a corse stone. But I’ve invested (with the tool rests) a lot into this grinder. I also like freehand with the stone over using the Veritas honing guide.

You guys make it look so easy. I guess with more experience and practice I’ll get there …. I hope.

-- -- Cheers, Don K. (Michgan's Kewenaw peninsula)

6 replies so far

View Tim Anderson's profile

Tim Anderson

152 posts in 1731 days

#1 posted 09-09-2014 08:20 PM

I’ve found the exact angle isn’t as important as being consistent. I shoot for 25-35 degrees on my plane blades, and just freehand sharpen to whatever the grinder set the bevel at. If I’m close, it works just fine. Don’t worry about being exactly 25 degrees, just worry about how sharp the edge is.

Also, the grinder is my last resort for re-shaping everything from scratch. I only use it when the blade is in really bad shape (skewed, chipped, very convex, etc.). I’ll try just stropping with honing compounds if a blade is getting dull, and if that doesn’t work, I go to my diamond plates. The grinder is a last resort reset-the-world type option, and while my least used sharpening device, it sure makes life easier than doing it with sandpaper on granite.

Like you said, practice is key. The more you do it, the less you think about it. I was really slow when I started sharpening, but once muscle memory got the hang of it, my speed improved quite a bit as well. Just keep at it, and you’ll forget you were ever bad at it eventually.

-- -Tim, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

View comboprof's profile


277 posts in 1734 days

#2 posted 09-09-2014 09:09 PM

Thanks for that Tim. I think I am with you, but I think I’ll get a coarser oil stone and try to avoid the diamond stone route for now. I’d like to keep it the way my ancestors did, if I can. (I view the bench grinder as just an electric hand crank grinder. It is thus admissible under the “ancestor” rule.) As far as the 25-35 degree issue: its all fine if I grind at the wheel and then freehand sharpen. The problem occurs, if I use a honing jig at the bench stone. The Jig cannot adjust to what was ground on the wheel. It is set to exactly 25 degrees. So if you are off by too much from the wheel, then honing with a jig at the bench stone is problematic. At least it appears so to me.

-- -- Cheers, Don K. (Michgan's Kewenaw peninsula)

View Don W's profile

Don W

18717 posts in 2567 days

#3 posted 09-09-2014 10:10 PM

This is exactly why I like free hand. Tim and I do it slightly different in that I will hit the grinder quicker, just to get the hollow grind back.

I know a lot of folks swear by the jigs, especially the veritas, but I find it typically slows me down and doesn’t give me the result I am looking for.

Stick with it and find “your” process. You are extremely close.

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

View Tim Anderson's profile

Tim Anderson

152 posts in 1731 days

#4 posted 09-09-2014 10:36 PM

Sorry Don K., didn’t mean to imply my way was the best way, or the only way. I jut use damonds because I bought them early on, and they work. If you’ve got oil stones, then use them instead. I’m sure if I had a history of oil stones from my family I’d use them as well.

Sounds like you might want to just skip the honing jig if it’s working without it. I find it’s really easy to get that edge on just off the grinder. The hollow doesn’t leave much to remove from the cutting edge. I agree with Don W that you’re almost there. Just try a few things, stick with it, see what works well for you, and you’ll be a master sharpener in no time.

-- -Tim, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

346 posts in 2462 days

#5 posted 09-09-2014 11:46 PM

Find your desired angle and hollow grind it on your chisels/ plane iron…. Be careful don’t to buy the steel…. Go to your stone and establish a tiny bevel 1-2 degrees more than your hollow grind. Hit 1k, 4k and 8k front and back… That should be shaving hair on your forearm easily.

Don’t complicate sharpening, it’s thousands of years simple. Hone two sides to the keenest edge possible… Simple.

View comboprof's profile


277 posts in 1734 days

#6 posted 09-09-2014 11:55 PM

O.K. Anybody want to buy my Veritas honing jig?

I re-read the veritas, tool rest instructions for setting the correct angle and found my error. My only issue is my old eyes can’t see the raised black lines lines on the black plastic jig, when the sun is shining in my face. I’ll make my own
jig. Anyway I did manage via serious squinting to get it set right. Now the hollow is dead center of the bevel.

So I went at it again with the blade from my Stanley 5 c. This blade however is badly pitted. I ground out the “pit nicks” only to get different “pit nicks”. I quit the grinding as there is no hope and finished sharpening with the hard Arkansas stone and leather strop. Still has “pit nicks” but cuts well. It only took 15 minutes I think for the sharpening. So I must be getting something right.

My stone is 2 by 12 which will be great for chisels, but not so for my Stanley 4 1/2, 7 and 8 bench planes. Tomorrow my 3 inch wide bench stones will arrive and I’ll start sharpening again. Tonight I’ll take a break and warp my wife’s loom.

Tim no worries, no apology necessary. Also I did not mean it was my actual ancestors, I meant collectively our ancestors in the sport of sharpening.

-- -- Cheers, Don K. (Michgan's Kewenaw peninsula)

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