The Slowest Farm Shop #2: Little Pieces (scary sharp)

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Blog entry by Will Mego posted 02-11-2009 07:57 PM 1525 reads 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The rules of the day Part 2 of The Slowest Farm Shop series Part 3: Mildly Frighteningly Sharp? »

So just now, I ordered a piece of plate glass from a local company
I know sharpening is a hot topic, and a lot of people will disagree, but I’ve decided to give the scary sharp method a try. For one thing, the initial cost is pretty low, and it’s sustainable in that cost for me…I’d love to just get a water cooled Tormek like Tommy McDonald uses, but T-Chisel can afford that, I can’t. Anyway, the glass is 24”x12”x1/2”, and they’re cutting it for me as we speak, should have it in a week or so, and it only cost $29…hopefully should last me a lifetime provided it won’t break into “little pieces”, but instead will be another little piece of my plans. Sharpening sharpens the man as well as the tool, and sharp tools….well you’ve heard that all before, I’m sure.

I’ll post pics of my efforts when it arrives, along with pics of the area that isn’t my shop, along with what I want my shop to end up being someday.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

13 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 02-11-2009 08:26 PM

I use the scary sharp method, and it works like magic- my blades are scary sharp – seriously!

I’m now considering replacing the glass plate with a granite piece… my glass chipped off one corner. I’m going to look for a local granite/stone shop and see if they have a scrap piece they are willing to give me… I think it’s a better choice than glass (I still use the glass till I find a replacement though)

good luck, and keep us posted!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3136 days

#2 posted 02-11-2009 08:29 PM

I considered that as well, but in the end, I decided that a polished edge non-tempered glass plate was going to be as flat as flat gets (not counting the curve of the earth in the glass making process) in comparision to the occational out of true you’re gonna get with a granite piece only because I’d be trying to get it the same way you mentioned, which is scrap from some guys counter. That’s why I went with the glass, and I went with 1/2” instead of 1/4”, so hopefully that helps

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View Alan's profile


443 posts in 2828 days

#3 posted 02-11-2009 09:00 PM

I just started as well and decided for the same reasons (cost) to use the scary sharp and glass. I went to my local glass shop that I’ve purchased from many times before and they gave me a piece of left over 1/2” for free. Great guys, you know I will continue to use them.

-- Alan, Prince George

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

936 posts in 2817 days

#4 posted 02-11-2009 09:11 PM

Purplev, woodcraft carries a very beefy granite block for sharpening/flattening, it’s about $30 bucks.

Will, the SSM is intended for High-end chisels and blades with special steel treatments that will hold this type of edges longer …....I have cheap Marples chisels, so water stones make wonders.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View 8iowa's profile


1540 posts in 3185 days

#5 posted 02-11-2009 09:53 PM


I just finished tuning-up and sharpening the blades on two old Stanley/Bailey hand planes, a #4 and #5, and a new Stanley 60 1/2 low angle block plane. I actually had to start with 50 grit as the two old planes had blades that were in terrible shape. With a Veritas MKII honing guide I progressed through 80, 120, 220, 320, 400, 600, and 1200 grids. My final honing was on a 6000 King wet stone with a Nagura stone slurry. I use glass plates and 3M77 adhesive to secure the paper to the glass.

Upon finishing, I could see my reflection like a mirror on the bevel. The blades easily shave hair on the back of my hand and slice loosely held paper. There is a lot of satisfaction in bringing back badly neglected tools into usefulness once again.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3136 days

#6 posted 02-11-2009 10:40 PM

Doubthead: I get you, but the marples are for me to learn on, as I’ll post later, I got a collection of old socket chisels which will be my “real” chisels…but until I get the hang of scary sharp, I think I’ll mis-sharpen the marples. You should (but never will!) see what happened to the first chisel I tried to sharpen on a diamond stone a year ago when I really was clueless! Lets say it doesnt look like a chisel anymore…

8iowa: getting me excited! plus the tip on the 3m77 adhesive is a help! I can’t wait for later this year when I can post my socket chisels once they’ve got new handles and are sharp! I’m going to do an inlayed red oak, osage orange, walnut, and perhaps some brazilian cherry handles, but I might save the cherry for some plane building in the future.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View woodyoda's profile


117 posts in 2881 days

#7 posted 02-11-2009 11:04 PM

If your going to use tempered glass, you better cover the edges, because ANY metal that touches the edge, can break the glass into a million pieces. Annealed glass is best for this job…if you bump it with metal, you might chip the glass, but not make it explode. The glass company you went to should have told you that….....yoda

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3136 days

#8 posted 02-11-2009 11:54 PM

non-tempered glass…for another reason, you can’t heat glass that hot then cool it and have it remain “perfectly” flat..pretty flat, yeah…

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View TraumaJacques's profile


433 posts in 2924 days

#9 posted 02-12-2009 01:14 AM

I can shave with my irons, and use my 1 1.4 chisel to look into… with this method I use a marble slab instead of glass but like T chisel would say ” whatever” the cost and end product are my motivators. It is call Scary sharp for a reason. when I make 250K$$$ projects I might invest in a Tormek

-- All bleeding will eventually stop.

View Don Niermann  's profile

Don Niermann

214 posts in 3396 days

#10 posted 02-12-2009 04:49 AM

I used it for years. Worked great and cost a lot less than some of the elite systems

-- WOOD/DON ( has the right to ones opinion but not the right to ones own facts...)

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3137 days

#11 posted 02-12-2009 06:05 AM

Like you I am just learning. I started using the scary sharp system along with the veritas mark II honing guide as is so very highly recommended by fellow LJ’s. a little pricey but definitely worth it and I can see no reason to ever think about going to any other sharpening system. Anything better would be a very scary sharp in deed.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3239 days

#12 posted 02-12-2009 06:12 AM

For a plate I use a piece of granite tile 12×12 from the borg that cost me $4.50 if I recall. It’s big enough to put a full sheet on. I use 3M spray adhesive to stick it down.

-- Scott - Chico California

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3136 days

#13 posted 02-12-2009 06:27 AM

Chico, I considered that, but having done some tile work, I know that you’re lucky if you get a tile granite or otherwise that’s actually “flat”. I went with 24×12x1/2 and again, other than accounting for the curve of the earth, it’s gonna be reaaaallly flat (I know,I don’t need it THAT flat, but it bugs me). That’s because they make the glass by floating it as a liquid, so it’s as flat as flat gets.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

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