scary sharp

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Forum topic by daddywoofdawg posted 01-21-2015 12:21 AM 1964 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1028 posts in 1570 days

01-21-2015 12:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sharpening

The oil stone I have is junk,So I’ve be read up about the scary sharp method;In it it says use 100,250,320,500,1000,1500,2500,3000.
that seems like alot of paper which I’m fine with if needed but do I need all of those to sharpen a hand plane iron? and where can I get paper at a good cost? walmart about a buck a sheet (seems like a lot).online abrasives places The couple I looked at seem not much better,who should i look at?

16 replies so far

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 1331 days

#1 posted 01-21-2015 12:31 AM

Grit progression saves time. Jumping too many grits is doable but it takes a lot of time for the finer grit to eliminate the scratches from the coarser grit. But 8 grits sounds excessive. I use Japanese Stones and 4 grits does fine by me. 200 400 1000 4000. I no longer use the 4000 grit because I found my chisels and planes cut just fine at 1000. I don’t think grits in water stones are equivalent to sandpaper grits bit I’m not sure. A polished edge may be beautiful and impressive but not essential to using a cutting tool.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View waho6o9's profile


8187 posts in 2572 days

#2 posted 01-21-2015 12:46 AM

Paul Sellers has another method worth looking into.


View Zboom's profile


72 posts in 2349 days

#3 posted 01-21-2015 03:17 AM

I bought in on the scary sharp idea for sharpening chisels and hand planes. Spent some coin on eBay for paper (best price I could find) and then spent 2 days trying to flatten backs. I was told about the Paul Sellers video above and scrapped the sandpaper and bought some dmt diamond stones from amazon, a scrap leather piece for a strop, chromium oxide (green) polish from Tandy leather and went at it. I spent about 1 hour flattening backs and putting edges on 6 new chisels. Bottom line SCREW the scary sharp method and spend the money on 3 stones and polish that Paul Sellers reccomends. My chisels are crazy scary sharp and was a lot less work. Also the price you spend on diamonds will likely be cheaper than sand paper in the end. If you really want sandpaper I got some ill sell ya ;)

-- Michael,

View waho6o9's profile


8187 posts in 2572 days

#4 posted 01-21-2015 04:16 AM

mdf and green honing compound will put a razors’ edge

on blades and chisels.

The point is after sharpening hone up the edge with honing compound.

View TheFridge's profile


9444 posts in 1481 days

#5 posted 01-21-2015 04:23 AM

i tried sand paper and ended up wasting a bunch of sand paper and time.

Picked up a fine/ super fine diamond stone and coarse/extra coarse diamond stone over the last couple Christmas’.

I found there is a world of difference between using paper and oil (or dry), and diamond stones and water.

I used the diamond stones and finish honing with 2000grit paper and a strop. 2000 grit paper is probably the equivalent of a 4-8000 grit stone, depending on the stone.

Like a mirror in no time.

But if your on a budget then paper is probably the way to go. After you get the back of the iron lapped. 75% of the work is done unless something bad happens to the iron in the future and you have to lap it agian.. Meaning you only have to worry about touching up the edge with the higher grits 1000+ to keep it well sharp.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View davidls's profile


15 posts in 1536 days

#6 posted 01-21-2015 05:11 AM

I used the scary sharp method for a couple years and got good results. I used 4 grits, 180, 320, 600, 1200. I tried 2000 but found it didn’t offer much improvement over 1200. The finer grits can be obtained at automotive stores. The two best things about scary sharp are low entry cost and never having to flatten sharpening stones. On the downside the paper doesn’t last long, especially the coarse grits. I currently use diamond stones for coarse grits and a Norton 4000/8000 water stone for a razor edge. The diamond stones last a long time and and cut fast. I like this system much better but it does cost a lot more.

View jumbojack's profile


1676 posts in 2619 days

#7 posted 01-21-2015 05:21 AM

Sellers has gifted hands. Get a sharpening guide. Use plenty of liquid (I’ve been using simple green lately(lifted from under the sink). Don’t skimp on the liquid. I used paper for a long time, but have since switched to diamond stones. Again use plenty of liquid. Then green or white stick polishing compound and an old leather belt. My irons and chisel are s h a r p !
Don’t forget the sharpening guide, I doubt your hands are as gifted as Paul’s.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View OSU55's profile


1665 posts in 1984 days

#8 posted 01-21-2015 05:25 AM

Diamond stones for primary bevels (extra coarse/coarse), then secondary with fine/extra fine diamond stones. 3M lapping film to hone micro bevels. Lapping film lasts 20-30x what sandpaper will. Water stones require too much flattening. I show the details in my blog here on LJ’s. I’ve tried hand sharpening, and I can’t get anywhere near as sharp or durable edge vs using a jig.

View bobro's profile


320 posts in 1305 days

#9 posted 01-21-2015 12:10 PM

25+ years ago I happened by circumstance to be acquainted to some half dozen of Krenov’s College of the Redwoods students.

Boy, could those guys sharpen. They used sandpaper and glass, and waterstones. One guy spent half an hour demonstrating a sharpening guide to me, first one I’d seen in my life. I don’t hope to ever get that kind of razor sharpness, wow.

In the year or so I’d meet these guys regularly, I never saw a completed project from them, except for some “eurostyle”, as we used to call it, cabinets of such poor workmanship that my grandfather would have beat me right good had I tried to pass off such a thing as “rychna robota” (handwork).

This is just a muttered comment on the side, take it as you will. This whole internet woodworking thing is still new to me, but I’ve already found some on-line “gurus”, Paul Sellers for example, who I think would grok what I’m saying, and I bet there’s plenty of guys of the “about middle age plus” persuasion here who do, too.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

View handsawgeek's profile


645 posts in 1390 days

#10 posted 01-21-2015 04:49 PM

I use scary sharp for all of my chisels and plane irons. The system is made up of pieces of 1/4” tempered glass with sandpaper ranging from 60 grit up to 2000 in 8 steps. The coarser grits are used only for blade rehab work like flattening backs and setting a cutting edge. The most used papers are the 1200 and 2000 grits. I achieve arm shaving keenness consistently with this system and have never felt the need to invest in expensive stones or machinery. Most of my sharpening is done freehand, but I do use a very simple poor man’s shop-built honing guide made from a small block of hard wood, a sheet metal screw and a washer.

-- Ed

View hhhopks's profile


651 posts in 2372 days

#11 posted 01-21-2015 05:48 PM

How do you guys control the profile of the blade? Say you want a basic straight across with just a bit of chamber at the corners. The chambers at the corner are easy. I have difficulty in maintain the straight portion of the blade. I seem to always have a natural chamber (big to my eye) or wavy line rather then the desired straight.

My understand is that by having the long straight across cutting edge, you can then have wide fine wood shavings. So I like to improve on my sharpening process to have this long straight cutting edge. Any suggestions?

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

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11608 posts in 2375 days

#12 posted 01-21-2015 06:11 PM

I use scary sharp and buy the sandpaper at auto parts stores. As said above the coarse grits are unnecessary except for shaping, for that I use a grinder. The closer the grits, the less time you will spend on each, should only be seconds. 800/1200/2000 are what I use the most; and green polishing compound on a wheel. Keep in mind that sandpaper grit and sharpening stone grits are not the same: 2000 sandpaper is much finer than 2000 stone.

-- Rick M,

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3238 days

#13 posted 01-21-2015 07:22 PM

The problem everyone gets in to is when flattening the back. It doesn’t take much to accidentally put a bevel on the flat side that can waste hours of grinding on the bevel side. Flattening the back is the last thing you do and should be done very carefully. The purpose is only to remove the “whiskers” that form on the bevel side. A leather hone is best for removing those whiskers. A sandpaper or stone surface may not be flat enough to prevent an unintentional bevel on the flat side. Put a little soot from a candle flame on the back and see how flat it really is when you rub it on the stone or paper.

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1028 posts in 1570 days

#14 posted 01-21-2015 07:31 PM

Ya I follow sellers and have seen his videos I just can’t afford at the moment 40+ dollars a stone right now,is why I’m trying to fine a low cost fool proof method.I do use a jig but don’t seem to get the iron sharp.

View Zboom's profile


72 posts in 2349 days

#15 posted 01-21-2015 07:55 PM

Ya I follow sellers and have seen his videos I just can t afford at the moment 40+ dollars a stone right now,is why I m trying to fine a low cost fool proof method.I do use a jig but don t seem to get the iron sharp.

- daddywoofdawg

Yep I was in the same situation as you. So I went with these just to try out and see if I like using diamonds.

I am very happy with this set and will stick with the diamond plates. Once the lifespan of these run out I will replace with the more expensive ones that should last longer. From what Ive read the best thing to do is find a way to sharpen that you like and stick with it. All methods work, it is just what works best for you. BTW I use the veritas jig to set my bevel angle I couldnt do it by hand like Sellers.

-- Michael,

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