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Frederick Skelly
06-02-2013, 12:31 PM
Good morning folks! Seems like in any skill that you have to work at to learn, you hit peaks where you think you've "got it" and troughs where you say "crap, I'll never learn to do this well". Just now, I'm working through a trough on how to sharpen stuff. I very nearly gave up an bought a Worksharp yesterday, but decided to keep trying with stones and paper a while longer. So I spent a couple hours last night reading the archives on flattening the backs of plane blades and the soles of used planes. That led to some follow on questions for you, if you're willing? (Seems like all I do is ask questions here. I hope to one day be skilled enough with hand tools to "give back" to other hand tool newbies here, but I fear that's a ways off.) Here's my questions.

Q1. Some posts said to put the blade in a holder of some sort when flattening the back. Said that lets you apply more pressure than you can with just fingers. But I can't visualize how to make one - in my ideas, the attach bolts get in the way of the stone or paper. Could someone describe how to build and use such a holder? Maybe post a picture of yours? (I've been using the ruler trick but have decided to stop doing that for a while and go back to polishing more of the back.)

Q2. Many posts said that folks flatten their blades with 100 or 150 grit paper or stones. I have little luck there and often have to go as low as 60 grit (which of course leaves deep scratches). I've tried Alumininum oxide, automotive paper (silicon carbide?) and coarse diamond stones. I have little success until I go to 60 grit paper. I've tried gluing the paper to my tablesaw top, gluing it to a 10"x12" piece of plexiglass, and of course the DMT stones themselves. Is what I'm seeing normal? Am I missing something fundamental? Sure seems like it.

Q3. Some posts referred to a type of sandpaper that was described as "100 grit 3X" and said it was excellent. Is that something special or can I get it pretty easily at a box store? Is there any particular brand name I should look for?

Q4. Several people use long pieces of glass or marble - as long as 40". I haven't used anything longer than a standard sheet of sandpaper. I understand that a longer piece of flat material lets you glue different grits to the same flat piece. But are there other benefits of the longer surface that I'm missing? For example, am I supposed to be taking longer stokes that just the 12" or so I get with a regular sheet?

Q5. Many people refer to using 4" wide rolls of PSA sandpaper instead of sheets. Aside from the convenience, do you find it lasts longer?

Once again, thanks for sharing your experience and skills with me.
Fred

Jim Koepke
06-02-2013, 1:40 PM
Frederick,

You are going through the same experience that most of the rest of us have.

Q1. I just looked for and could not find a post, by David Weaver iirc, with images of his blade holder. It is just a hunk of wood with a couple of bolts to hold the blade while working it on stones or abrasive paper. Carriage bolts would eliminate much protrusion beyond the thickness of the blade. This allows one to bear down on the blade as it is being worked. It also helps to have one's abrasive media near the edge of their work surface. Be careful to not knock your set up to the floor with too much enthusiasm.

Q2. Most of the time my preference is to start with 80 grit PSA backed abrasive paper.

Here is my set up:

http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?134511

The stone is a little better than 4'.

Q3. The 3X paper is from Norton. It is in the borg stores (Home Depot and Lowe's) around here. At least it is at HD, I haven't been into the Lowe's in a while.

Q4. With the set up linked above, it is possible to get a blade warmed up with long strokes. Consider that one stroke back and forth on 4' of abrasive is the about the same as 4 strokes on a 12" piece.

Q5. It will likely last longer, but that really depends on the quality of the sheets used.

Now for my own 263597.

If a blade is serviceable, I do not put much effort into the back. I will spend enough time on it to give it a reasonable smoothing. Often a few pits are left behind to be ground out when they start causing problems.

I also do not obsess with getting the back perfect from side to side. Many blades have come my way that will flatten all the way across except at the corners. In my experience these work a bit like a cambered blade.

Then whenever a blade needs to be sharpened it gets a little work up through the grits on the back. Eventually without spending what seems like forever on a blade the back is mirror like from edge to edge.

Hopefully this doesn't bring up calls of heresy and cause threaded controversy like so many sharpening threads seem to garner.

jtk

Brent VanFossen
06-02-2013, 1:43 PM
I will be interested in others responses, but I'll take my shot at it.

1) I will sometimes use a MagJig 150 by MagSwitch. This is a magnet that can be turned on and off by rotating a knob 180 degrees. It holds with 150 lbs, and is strong. Make sure it is off, put it on the back of your blade, turn it on, and use it as a handle. Better, drill the appropriate size hole in a board and put the magnet body through to give a bigger gripping area and to apply more even pressure. It doesn't work so well if you're using a DMT or table saw for a surface, because the magnet sticks to it, too, but for sandpaper applied to granite or glass, it's amazing. And there are no bolts to get in the way.

2) Same here. It takes a long time.

3) Do an internet search for Norton 3x sandpaper. It's very good and cuts quickly. It should be widely available.

4) A longer stroke makes more efficient use of your arms with less back and forth. It *might* reduce the chance of dubbing an edge, because of fewer direction changes where I'm likely to have less control.

5) I haven't used these and don't know.

I summary, I find back flattening long hard work.

Winton Applegate
06-02-2013, 5:17 PM
OK I will make this brief. Ha ha

First let me say I highly commend you for all the research you did before posting.
And for all the trial and error you put into it. So many, in other chat rooms I have been known to slouch about in, want instant answers and instant results and that leads to some boring and repetitive reading for us old farts.


Q1: I have not flattened a plane back, other than getting a higher polish than the manufacturer provides, for quite some time.
I am pretty happy about that.
The modern blades specifically from Lie Neilson and Varitas are really flat and are much better than say eight or ten years ago. THANK YOU LN AND V ! ! ! !
Personally the magnet trick is brilliant though I have not used it and have one reservation that the metal bits cut off by the abrasive paper would stay on the surface you are trying to abrade and act like little ball bearings. Maybe this is no problem. Like I said I don't know.
Double back tape goes a long way to sticking the blade to a handle but I have not used that often. Mostly back in the day I just cramped the heck out of my fingers.
Now days, if I knew all the work I would have to go to flattening blade backs, I would probably mill some shallow slots in a few way over size aluminum blocks, drill and tap holes in the blocks from the side along the side edges of the blade and thread in allen key grub screws to grip the blade edges.
http://www.amazon.com/Set-screw-M3-2-5mm-10/dp/B004KPJ84K/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=industrial&ie=UTF8&qid=1370199580&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=m+3+x+grub+screw
Yoooouuuu knoooowwwww what . . .
. . . it just occurred to me you could mill some wood (as long as you leave lots of material on the sides and use longer screws.
Fine grained hard wood such as maple holds machine threads quite well if you do it right. Here are some totally excellent longer grub screws with little plastic pads and every thing.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dindustrial&field-keywords=m+3+x+grub+screw


As far as the ruler trick
nooo
don't do that. Especially for bevel up blades it is a bad idea because you loose some of your, precious little to start with , clearance angle. If you have to stoop to such depths of sharpening geometry degradation at least stick the ruler to the blade with some double back tape so the FACET that is created is FLAT. Yes this wears down the ruler. Just use shim stock strips instead.
The way people usually use the ruler causes a convex surface. This then creates , in a bevel up blade, one that does not cut as long as it would with a flat facet.


Q2 : As far as stones : THE BEST coarse stone I have found is the Shapton 120
http://www.craftsmanstudio.com/html_p/Q!0P0000.htm
It cuts better longer than even similar white stones rated at 80 grit. Also even better than the 100 grit pink stone with the deep grooves , maybe you have seen it, that is used for flattening stones. That surprised me.
Yep very coarse grit is better. You are on the right track with the materials you mentioned. As opposed to say wet or dry paper whitch breaks down very rapidly but leaves a more polished surface. Technically speaking initially you want to "CUT" the metal so you use a very hard sharp abrasive then you want to cut and "COLOR" the metal which means to burnish it to get rid of the scratches this is where maybe some very coarse wet or dry to color out the scratches of the same grit in sharper/harder abbrassive might help and then you want to "POLISH" the metal.
where you aren't so much removing thickness as smoothing the surface to a mirror.
That is all jargon but it helps us communicate. It comes from the jewelry end of metal working.
Mostly with such hard metal as our blades just working through all the grits of one or two kinds of abrasive is going to get you to where you want to go; a flat back that is polished. When you skip grit sizes there is more chance of leaving scratches that won't come out. Tedious isn't it ?

Length of paper. It all boils down to "Surface Feet Per Minute". It does not matter if you have a long strip or a short strip if you run enough inches/feet of that surface over the blade. When it comes to free handing it and the limits of your arm length and the strength of your gip etc short strokes, but a few thousand of them, can mean more control. After you read the book and magazine articles ( see links bellow ) on hollowing the blade backs and or grinding out high spots you may find yourself using a mini / narrow metal workers belt sander with the wheel of the sander against the work. Lots of surface feet per minute and a high degree of localized control. Ha ha and beating on your blade ends with a hammer. See the Mr. Odate book bellow.
Different strokes for different folks. Do take the links seriously and at least explore them. Both guys ( see links bellow) are quite enlightening.

Q3 I finally bought Norton blue belt sander belts and Porter Cable purple belt sander belts in 60 grit etc , glued those down on various flat surfaces and used those but could not find any thing else at the time many, many, years ago. These are very long wearing and very sharp. That was after practically wearing out an expensive DMT extra coarse 200 grit diamond plate which was very slow going even when new.

Q4: Long surface to buy ? I would go with extruded aluminum in say 1/2" thickness and as wide as looks good to you. Get it from a reputable metal supply specializing in aluminum machine shop metal. From the maker this stuff is very accurately made and flat enough for the purpose. Light weight, unbreakable. useful for other projects once you get all your blades flat.
: )

Q 5 : I think the rolls are/were just more convenient to deal with (meaning as long as you like ) and back in the day maybe better quality abrasive because they were designed for production shops.
Now days there is a lot of crap quality out there so only go with the known makers such as Norton and even then . . . Norton has gone to Mexico recently to make their stones and the quality has gone down.

Rather than type it all again here are links to some of the very best info in print about woodworking blade sharpening and plane tuning including flattening and holding the blades.
http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Woodworking-Tools-Tradition-Spirit/dp/0941936465/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370198597&sr=8-1&keywords=odate

Also study the old Fine Wood Working articles specifically #39 page 65 this is an online link to read the article on screen.
http://www.finewoodworking.com/how-to/article/souping-up-the-block-plane.aspx

Yep modern fifty dollar flat blades from the maker start to make that "good deal" at the flee market look like not such a good deal when you take into account all the shop time it takes to get the pits out and make it flat.

David Dalzell
06-02-2013, 5:30 PM
No one mentioned this, maybe it is obvious to most, but do not attempt to flatten the entire length of the back. Flattening needs be done only for an inch or so behind the cutting edge.

steven c newman
06-02-2013, 5:49 PM
Maybe like this?263610263611 or maybe just a beltsander263612using a Veritas honing guide to hold things263613 Keeps the fingers safe that way. I leave it in the guide to work both sides. Sandpaper gets down to 2K grit. Maybe a little 3in1 oil on it. Works fine enough for the old gals I go with...263614YMMV....

Winton Applegate
06-02-2013, 6:30 PM
No one mentioned this, maybe it is obvious to most, but do not attempt to flatten the entire length of the back. Flattening needs be done only for an inch or so behind the cutting edge.

Well I have waffled back and forth whether to respond.
Again lets narrow it to bevel up planes. I have and use a lot of those though maybe I wouldn't recommend them for average hardness wood and the majority of wood workers. In any case BU is what I have and use predominately.


Lets say the blade is really pretty darn good and flat and stuff and all it needs is some polishing. Then yes an inch or two behind the blade is all that is needed.


How ever when a blade is seriously out of flat and coarsely ground with deep scratches in it and the area right at the edge dramatically dubbed (from punching the blade out of solid plate or what ever caused that ) like the Lie Neilsons were back in 2001 or so then by the time a person gets the thing decent a serious amount of metal is gone and the whole back is not in the same plane.


The blade is made of some the toughest steel going. To add to that it is slick from being polished. And maybe oily from being on an oil stone etc.

The little cast bronze blade clamp has to not only hold the blade in place, while it pivots around on the high spot created in the blade back but it has to push the bow out of the blade and get the business end of the blade down against the throat of the plane so it does not chatter.
That is a tall order for this weak cast bronze blade clamp.
It may not always be a workable situation.
I would say do it and if the blade won't stay put, which on my LN Jack is a problem even when the blade is flat, though I love that plane any way even though the handle bruises my palm but that is another thread. (Just turning the blade advance adjusting nut can cause the blade to go out of alignment with the sole and dig deeper on one corner or the other.)
Or
if the blade is chattering especially when it has been used for a while
then
suspect the culprit is blade back bulbilasciousness caused by "flattening" only an inch or so at the edge end of the blade.

Jim Matthews
06-02-2013, 7:14 PM
Hopefully this doesn't bring up calls of heresy and cause threaded controversy like so many sharpening threads seem to garner.

jtk

Not at all heretical - the final analysis is if the blade cuts well, and if you can repeat your results.

Jim Matthews
06-02-2013, 7:24 PM
I say use the least expensive method that you can repeat quickly.

I use sandpaper applied with 3M spray adhesive to a granite sink "cut out" remnant from a kitchen countertop maker.
I have a LOW sharpening bench, so I can apply significant downward pressure, leaning into the steel.

I've seen some very delicate, almost prissy approaches to sharpening that just don't work for me.
I use sand paper, and lean into it to create a slurry of steel on the carbide paper.

You should be able to smell the action, as you're generating some heat in the process.
You are unlikely to draw the temper out of steel, free hand - but you will be able to feel warmth.

That's the indicator for me that I'm getting somewhere.

I use a Sharpie marker on the back of old steel, so I can see where I need the most effort.
I flatten plane blades back to 2" or so. Maybe I'll induce some minor curvature and get chattering some day,

* but that's like arguing over how many angels dance on the head of a pin. *

The cutting edge is what I care about, and getting that sharp is what matters.

If a couple of pits don't interfere with getting a decent shaving - what difference do they make?


The real advantage of getting the back of an iron flat is that the up front time expense need not be repeated.
Once that's done, you can concentrate your efforts on the bevel of your choosing.

Winton Applegate
06-02-2013, 7:32 PM
Ha Ha
I thought I was the only one who said stuff like that.
Reminds me of a "unique" individual I used to ride with.
Harry Olds
He is the last one I ever heard say that. The only one until you come to think of it.
When we used to stop at a truck stop he would have the waitress either laughing or crying before we left.
(but in either case chances were he would stop back by to pick her up later that night) but I was a young teenager and wasn't supposed to know about stuff like that.
Thanks for the real shop photos. Did me good to see those too.


PS: I only go with one gal these days and she just brought me the best darn sandwich on this planet so that I can continue to while away my day in this most disreputable and shameful manner. Nothing is too good to give her. I owe her my sanity and my life.

Frederick Skelly
06-02-2013, 7:55 PM
Thanks for all the encouragement and advice guys! I really appreciate it. I'll read the links and try out the ideas you suggested.
I'll keep you posted.
Fred

Winton Applegate
06-02-2013, 7:57 PM
but that's like arguing over how many angels dance on the head of a pin

Until you are working that expensive bubinga table, making the final passes with your bevel up finish plane and getting chatter and can not figure why. You have that brand new blade in it. You just "flattened" and sharpened it. It shaves arm hair like crazy (for what ever the 'ell that is worth) but the blade chronically chatters.

And so we have the reason so many revert to scrapers and , I can barely utter the blasphemous words, SAND paper.

Tony Shea
06-02-2013, 8:16 PM
So i'm going to assume that he is talking about bevel down planes only because he is talking about flattening a used iron. This is only because my used (most of them) planes are bevel down. Having said all that I think the most efficient method for flattening a plane iron back is concentrating on just the first 1" or 2" of the blade edge. So if you are using this stick to help hold the blade with a bolt passing through then it will not interfere with anything as it is off the stone/plate/paper.

A2. No I do not think 60 grit is too coarse to start with especially on a rough blade. But I highly suggest you look into loose diamonds on a steel plate such as a Kannaban. I do reccomend starting at 120grit or higher. Diamonds are a different animal compared to paper. I started a bit lower when first using this method and ended up with more work than neccessary as I had some seriously deep scratches to get out. But the diamonds just don't give up like paper does. I highly recommend looking into this method. I learned about it from David Weaver, he is very informative when i comes to sharpening. Not sure where he gets all his time and but I seriously think he has owned, used, and experimented with every method, media, and style of sharpening you could come up with. Learning from guys like him and especially George Wilson is why I hang around here.

A4. Longer is sometimes better when accomplishing this task by hand. But a person can only reach so far until the motion starts to cause unevenness in your stroke. 12" should be ok, 24" is probably better. But I am in the camp that you still can start to draw the temper with enough heat buildup from this process. You will certainly be going at it pretty hard to get to this point but something to keep in mind when your fingers start burning.

A5. IMO 3M's gold Stikit paper is really my favorite sandpaper for flattening by hand or establishing a bevel. I now prefer diamonds and diamond plates for gross metal removal but still fall back on my 120 grit Stikit rolls for getting rid of deep scratches.

No need to ask this group of people if they are willing to answer questions, is the biggest reason some of us are still hanging out around here. Passing knowledge down to others is what keeps the craft alive and if it wasn't for this site I would not have gone as far as I have as fast as I have.

David Weaver
06-02-2013, 8:57 PM
This was my thread on the holder. Complete in this case with one of the gummy Mujingfang irons, which are a real bear to flatten without diamonds and something to apply force. They are the toughest I have flattened so far. Only the most gummy of the powder metals would be worse.

http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?160656-Free-(to-make)-Iron-Holder-I-know-I-ve-posted-this-before

I don't remember what I said in this thread, but if the iron had no slot, you could easily just use two hose clamps to hold an iron. Even if it took a minute or two to put the iron in the holder and tighten hose clamps, the fact that you don't rub off your fingertips on an abrasive and the fact that your fingers don't hurt and aren't stiff when you're done makes it worthwhile.

Jim Koepke
06-02-2013, 9:45 PM
This was my thread on the holder.

No wonder I couldn't find it, my search was for > wooden blade holder <. If my search was for > iron holder < it would have been right at the top.

So, at the end of threads there is an option to add tags. I added > blade holder, wooden <. One just has to remember to use advanced search and use the tag search to find the thread again.

jtk

Frederick Skelly
06-02-2013, 9:51 PM
Thanks David.

Jim Matthews
06-02-2013, 10:32 PM
While I do understand that advanced users have an increasing level of difficulty facing them, in application of their tools to challenging timber,
I prefer to confine responses to the original posters inquiry.

The enemy of adequacy is the pursuit of perfection.

The final level of finish left by my plane blades (either bevel up, or bevel down) equals the degree of polish on that edge.
With Chromium oxide, that leaves a surface polished to the same degree as a 15,000 grit stone.

Finish won't stick to that, so I must sand to lightly roughen that surface.

Given that a card scraper is one of the first tools I was instructed to use, I come back to it when things get wild.
Most of my favorite boards have at least one section where a handplane, no matter how sharp the blade, makes things worse.

To address Frederick's original question - get onto something that's cheap and repeatable.
If your planes perform at that level of preparation, go with it. (Stay with a winning game plan, always change a losing game plan.)

If you run into difficulties with an interlocking grain patten on a $2000 Bubinga board, finer preparations might be necessary.

For the day-to-day reality of making things from affordable materials,
sharpening is time you're not spending making a table, desk, night stand, etc.

Steve Friedman
06-02-2013, 10:33 PM
Lots of good advice here. I agree with Tony about the 3M Gold Stickit (2-3/4" width) rolls. First, the adhesive is very thin, evenly coated, and leaves no residue. Also, that is the only PSA adhesive roll I have ever found with A-weight paper. I think the thinner paper reduces dubbing.

As for blade holding, turner's double sided tape and a piece of wood work fine, but Tsunesaburo makes a blade holder specifically made for flattening backs.
http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=335_398&products_id=1190

Also, to avoid dubbing the edges, you might want to watch the Lie-Nielsen video on chisel sharpening made by Deneb Puchalski a couple of years ago.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aDPZzMvVTA

Steve

Stanley Covington
06-02-2013, 11:18 PM
Good morning folks! Seems like in any skill that you have to work at to learn, you hit peaks where you think you've "got it" and troughs where you say "crap, I'll never learn to do this well". Just now, I'm working through a trough on how to sharpen stuff. I very nearly gave up an bought a Worksharp yesterday, but decided to keep trying with stones and paper a while longer. So I spent a couple hours last night reading the archives on flattening the backs of plane blades and the soles of used planes. That led to some follow on questions for you, if you're willing? (Seems like all I do is ask questions here. I hope to one day be skilled enough with hand tools to "give back" to other hand tool newbies here, but I fear that's a ways off.) Here's my questions.

Q1. Some posts said to put the blade in a holder of some sort when flattening the back. Said that lets you apply more pressure than you can with just fingers. But I can't visualize how to make one - in my ideas, the attach bolts get in the way of the stone or paper. Could someone describe how to build and use such a holder? Maybe post a picture of yours? (I've been using the ruler trick but have decided to stop doing that for a while and go back to polishing more of the back.)

Q2. Many posts said that folks flatten their blades with 100 or 150 grit paper or stones. I have little luck there and often have to go as low as 60 grit (which of course leaves deep scratches). I've tried Alumininum oxide, automotive paper (silicon carbide?) and coarse diamond stones. I have little success until I go to 60 grit paper. I've tried gluing the paper to my tablesaw top, gluing it to a 10"x12" piece of plexiglass, and of course the DMT stones themselves. Is what I'm seeing normal? Am I missing something fundamental? Sure seems like it.

Q3. Some posts referred to a type of sandpaper that was described as "100 grit 3X" and said it was excellent. Is that something special or can I get it pretty easily at a box store? Is there any particular brand name I should look for?

Q4. Several people use long pieces of glass or marble - as long as 40". I haven't used anything longer than a standard sheet of sandpaper. I understand that a longer piece of flat material lets you glue different grits to the same flat piece. But are there other benefits of the longer surface that I'm missing? For example, am I supposed to be taking longer stokes that just the 12" or so I get with a regular sheet?

Q5. Many people refer to using 4" wide rolls of PSA sandpaper instead of sheets. Aside from the convenience, do you find it lasts longer?

Once again, thanks for sharing your experience and skills with me.
Fred

Q1A: Re Blade Holders. The key thing to understand about sharpening is that, while the steel appears stiff and inflexible, the pressure you apply to a blade is not distributed evenly, but tends to focus more on the points where pressure is applied. David Weaver referenced this fact in a post to another thread recently. This means that you need to be careful where you place your fingers when you flatten the back. A holder of sorts helps to distribute the forces more evenly, and also allows you to apply more of your body weight to the blade than the tips of your fingers alone can handle.

The Japanese method is very efficient, and the method I learned many moons ago, and so I will describe it. Some readers may be offended by such a low tech, old-fashioned and simple method, so understand that it is not the only way to get the job done. Simply take a stick of wood, perhaps 1-1/2" wide and 3/4" thick and about 4 inches longer than the blade, center it on the blade, grasp the stick in the palm of your right hand with you fingers curled under the blade clamping the stick in place. Grasp the other end of the stick with you left hand, apply pressure, and move the blade back and forth on the sharpening medium. If the stick slips on the blade, place a piece of wet newspaper between stick and blade. If it still slips, glue a piece of wet/dry sandpaper to the stick. This setup lets you put a lot of force on the blade exactly where you want it speeding up the process considerably. Another thing to keep in mind is that it is very very difficult for the human hand to make anything truly flat, too difficult in fact to make it worth the effort. A more realistic approach is to aim for an ever so slightly concave surface which can be polished to "pretty damn flat" as a final step. With this goal in mind, applying pressure to the center of the blade rather than the edges tends to make a slightly hollow surface and is usually efficient.

Also keep in mind that moving a blade back and forth on a wet abrasive medium, any wet abrasive medium, creates a bit of a standing wave of abrasive in front of the leading edge (which is usually the sides of the blade when flattening the back). This means that the edges tend to get rounded over creating a concave surface on the back of the blade. Focusing pressure on center of the blade, therefore, helps to counteract this tendency. Also, be very conscious of where and how much you are abrading the steel. Frequent use of machinist's dye or marking pen ink applied to the blade will help you see the results of your work.

Q2Q3Q4A: I assume you are working Lie-Nielson or Lee Valley (Baily) style plane blades and not Japanese blades. In my experience, L-N and LV blades require little flattening, just a bit of lapping on a flat waterstone to remove the deep machining/lapping marks from the factory. So first, I would suggest that you plan to do most of your flattening on very flat stones instead of steel or glass or granite lapping plates. There are lots of methods to flatten stones, so I suggest you find one you like, get good at it, and do it a lot. The goal mentioned above of creating a slightly hollow surface applies double for western style plane blades

If the blade is so out of wack that serious metal removal is warranted, it is hard to beat the better quality diamond plates for efficiency. The cutting power of diamonds combined with the lack of a standing wave of abrasive is a serious advantage. They are a bit pricey though. W/D sandpaper on thick float glass is the next best method, IMO, but the paper still costs money, the blade tends to tear the expensive paper, material removal is slow, and the standing wave exists. The next best method is a flat piece of mild steel plate with abrasive powder. This method works well, is efficient at removing lots of material, and is relatively inexpensive, but the standing wave of abrasive generated is big enough to surf on and requires caution to avoid making the blade convex. More skill is necessary and blades will get messed up in the meantime.

I don't think the length of the steel/glass/granite used as a lapping plate matters much. 10 or 12 inches is plenty, but longer is OK too so long as it is well supported and flat and not twisted.

The long lapping surfaces you mentioned bring up the subject of stroke length. Shorter strokes are usually better than longer strokes when flat is the goal. This principle applies to both sharpening and flattening. The reason is that when your shoulders/arms/hands push the blade away from your body, the angle or vector of the pressure you are applying changes causing the focus of those pressure points to change, and the blade to rotate slightly. When you pull the blade back towards you, the pressure vector's direction changes again, and the blade tends to rock in the opposite direction. With lots of practice, and with careful attention, you can learn to overcome this tendency to some degree, but simply taking shorter strokes reduces the change in angle of the pressure vector making it easier to maintain a flat back or flat bevel. I know it feels silly taking 2" long strokes with a 2" wide blade, but it really helps. And if you spread those shorter strokes over the entire surface of the stone you are using, you will extend the practical life of the stone and need to flatten it less.

It has been said on this forum before but is worth repeating that learning to sharpen well by hand, instead of relying exclusively on jigs and widgets and rulers, is absolutely essential to efficient and precise sharpening, and will make sharpening a pleasant experience. It takes time and lots of zen like concentration, but it is the most important skill in woodworking in my opinion as an overbearing old fart who has made lots of stupid mistakes.

Sorry for lecturing.

Stan

Dave Parkis
06-03-2013, 12:20 AM
I rehab a lot of planes and had the same problem flattening backs of old irons I found at garage sales. I took a piece of scrap mdf, cut it to about 3" by 6". Then I made 4 holes with a 1/2" forstner bit and epoxied rare earth magnets into the holes. Its works incredibly well. Not only does it distribute the pressure more evenly, its a LOT easier on my hands. HTH

Robert Hazelwood
06-03-2013, 12:04 PM
With old plane blades I usually end up taking them to the belt sander with a 120 grit belt. You have to be careful because you can easily make things worse if you let an edge hit the belt for even an instant, but it can save some time. Usually I find the worst flaws are right at the cutting edge...on these I just grind the edge back on a disk sander until I'm through the worst flaws. Of course using power tools you need to be extremely careful not to overheat the blades. I keep a jar of water and dip the blade in it before each grinding run, which only last a few seconds. I just use my bare fingers to hold the blade on the belt so I can feel the heat building up (which happens suddenly).

My belt sander platen is not perfectly flat (its a BORG Porter-Cable deal) so it only gets me through most of the pitting and somewhere in the ball-park of flat. I then use a 10x12 granite block with sandpaper glued with spray adhesive (3M 77). Grit progression is usually 60-120-220-320-400-600-1000-1500-Spyderco Fine Ceramic

On the course grits (through 320) I alternate the direction of strokes with each grit. So if I start going across the width of the blade on 60 grit (side-to-side), I will go front and back on the 120 grit, then side-to-side on the 220. This makes the scratches from the previous grit stand out so you know when you've gotten rid of them...the coarser grits can be misleading, since the particles seem to "reach up" into low spots and make it look uniformly flat. But these low spots show up sanding crosswise on the next grit and you have to spend a bit of time getting them out. By the time you get to flat on 320 or it seems to be a reliable indicator, so from 320 up I just sand in one direction (side-to-side, which is my usual sharpening stroke), which makes things go much faster.

And after that all I have to do is a few swipes on the ceramic stone and/or hard strop. Also, I only work on an area about 2" back from the edge.

Hope that helps - Robert

David Dalzell
06-03-2013, 2:01 PM
Well Winton, you may well be right. I have never experienced the problem of a plane blade being radically out of true (flat). When refurbishing an old Baily, or other, I make a light pass of the back over a diamond stone just to see what's there. I have never seen any indication of way out of flat. Then I just concentrate on that first inch or two. When upgrading an existing plane or building my own, then I use Hock blades. With Hock blade flatness is pretty good so again only that first inch or so is polished. However, henceforth I will look closer at the condition of flatness when working on new (old) blades.

Frederick Skelly
06-03-2013, 11:35 PM
Thanks again for all your help and advice guys. I spent some time yesterday and tonight working some of these ideas and already I can see its getting easier. I was able to flatten and old blade very well tonight. Probably better than any so far. And theres still a bunch more in this thread I have yet to try.

I appreciate all the time, links and explanations (both short and long). Im learning a LOT.

Fred

Charlie Stanford
06-04-2013, 7:43 AM
Good morning folks! Seems like in any skill that you have to work at to learn, you hit peaks where you think you've "got it" and troughs where you say "crap, I'll never learn to do this well". Just now, I'm working through a trough on how to sharpen stuff. I very nearly gave up an bought a Worksharp yesterday, but decided to keep trying with stones and paper a while longer. So I spent a couple hours last night reading the archives on flattening the backs of plane blades and the soles of used planes. That led to some follow on questions for you, if you're willing? (Seems like all I do is ask questions here. I hope to one day be skilled enough with hand tools to "give back" to other hand tool newbies here, but I fear that's a ways off.) Here's my questions.

Q1. Some posts said to put the blade in a holder of some sort when flattening the back. Said that lets you apply more pressure than you can with just fingers. But I can't visualize how to make one - in my ideas, the attach bolts get in the way of the stone or paper. Could someone describe how to build and use such a holder? Maybe post a picture of yours? (I've been using the ruler trick but have decided to stop doing that for a while and go back to polishing more of the back.)

Q2. Many posts said that folks flatten their blades with 100 or 150 grit paper or stones. I have little luck there and often have to go as low as 60 grit (which of course leaves deep scratches). I've tried Alumininum oxide, automotive paper (silicon carbide?) and coarse diamond stones. I have little success until I go to 60 grit paper. I've tried gluing the paper to my tablesaw top, gluing it to a 10"x12" piece of plexiglass, and of course the DMT stones themselves. Is what I'm seeing normal? Am I missing something fundamental? Sure seems like it.

Q3. Some posts referred to a type of sandpaper that was described as "100 grit 3X" and said it was excellent. Is that something special or can I get it pretty easily at a box store? Is there any particular brand name I should look for?

Q4. Several people use long pieces of glass or marble - as long as 40". I haven't used anything longer than a standard sheet of sandpaper. I understand that a longer piece of flat material lets you glue different grits to the same flat piece. But are there other benefits of the longer surface that I'm missing? For example, am I supposed to be taking longer stokes that just the 12" or so I get with a regular sheet?

Q5. Many people refer to using 4" wide rolls of PSA sandpaper instead of sheets. Aside from the convenience, do you find it lasts longer?

Once again, thanks for sharing your experience and skills with me.
Fred

Flatten on the stones you intend to use in your day to day honing. If the back is severely out, cut a piece of sandpaper and lay it atop your stone and flatten on that arrangement. Less than 100 grit paper is too bumpy in my opinion. I like plain garnet paper for its thinness and ability to suck down atop a stone (water or oil). Yes, you'll use more of it. Whooptee crap.

The back only needs to be flat enough to move the burr back to the front when backing off. It does not have to be flattened to a tool room surface plate standard. If you flatten to a different standard than the actual stones you will use every day then logic dictates (and experience will soon bear this out) that you will soon start to have problems as the stones have their say about the backs. Make no mistake, the backs will over time only be as flat as your stones. But not to worry, again, because all you need is the burr to flip back to the beveled side and achieve a bit of polish at the back edge, say a quarter inch's worth, enough to register the cutter comfortably to the stone when backing off. No ruler trick. On any cutter. At any time.

Forget all the intricate routines and opportunities to spend money on more and "better" gear. You need honing stones. You need plain sandpaper. You need your own wit about you. Understand what you are doing. A lot of things in woodworking are complex. This is not one of them.

david charlesworth
06-05-2013, 1:58 PM
People who don't like the ruler trick, usually do not understand it, or are doing it wrong.

The loss of clearance angle on bevel up, or change of angle on bevel down is 2/3 of one degree, the way I do it. i.e. negligible.

The ruler trick saves a great deal of work, raises the probability of good sharpening, and is a thoroughly good thing.

I am greatly encouraged by the number of professionals who use it and enjoy the benefits.

David Charlesworth

David Weaver
06-05-2013, 2:13 PM
Done properly, it works extremely well, makes consistently excellent edges, is little trouble to remove, and is at least as fast as properly polishing the back of a smoother iron.

A couple of years ago, I suggested that 90%+ would get better edges if they used the ruler trick, and half of the responses to that were borderline antisocial.

Charlie Stanford
06-05-2013, 4:34 PM
People who don't like the ruler trick, usually do not understand it, or are doing it wrong.

The loss of clearance angle on bevel up, or change of angle on bevel down is 2/3 of one degree, the way I do it. i.e. negligible.

The ruler trick saves a great deal of work, raises the probability of good sharpening, and is a thoroughly good thing.

I am greatly encouraged by the number of professionals who use it and enjoy the benefits.

David Charlesworth

Modern, fast, uniform, and effective abrasives in the form of sandpapers, lapping films, diamond plates, loose diamonds, assorted loose grit products, aerosol diamond slurries, lapidary films, pastes, and polishes, and fast-cutting waterstones in an array of binders and price points seem to make the technique moot. One can literally choose a level of flatness and brilliance of polish to be imparted, to practically an aerospace standard if desired, and do it quickly. "It's too much work" isn't really an excuse any longer.

Is it your assertion that a very flat, noticeably polished back meeting a crisply formed and honed bevel is not the optimum arrangement?

Sean Hughto
06-05-2013, 4:41 PM
Charles, the ruler trick can render a pitted antique blade useable. ;-)

Charlie Stanford
06-05-2013, 4:53 PM
I've heard that Sean but as described by Mr. Charlesworth that tiny slip of a thing would be largely ineffective against anything but the lightest freckling - an amount of freckling that might not be a bother in the first place and at any rate would be obliterated down to good steel, in short order, by the cheapest sandpaper Home Depot carries.

David Weaver
06-05-2013, 5:00 PM
Modern, fast, uniform, and effective abrasives in the form of sandpapers, lapping films, diamond plates, loose diamonds, assorted loose grit products, aerosol diamond slurries, lapidary films, pastes, and polishes, and fast-cutting waterstones in an array of binders and price points seem to make the technique moot. One can literally choose a level of flatness and brilliance of polish to be imparted, to practically an aerospace standard if desired, and do it quickly. "It's too much work" isn't really an excuse any longer.

Is it your assertion that a very flat, noticeably polished back meeting a crisply formed and honed bevel is not the optimum arrangement?

David can make whatever assertion he wants, but I'll assert that I have bought a lot of used tools from people and they never come with the backs of the irons properly polished. Often, there are polish marks on the back that don't go to the edge. The RT makes sure that if you are going to go to the trouble to work the back for more than wire edge removal, at least you get a polish where it counts.

It also allows people using marginal stones (like oilstones) to work stuff like A2 without trouble...presuming you grind the primary to minimize the metal worked on the other bevel.

It's employed on an already flat back if you do it correctly. If not done correctly, or crisp sharpness isn't desired, then the complaints about it would be valid.

To command a beginner to not do it is completely misguided. They'll get much better edges if they do.

Charlie Stanford
06-05-2013, 5:10 PM
If one desires it, there is virtually no reason to not have a minimum of one inch of a highly polished and flat area on the back of every cutter in their shop.

Not. One. Single. Reason. Period. Not lack of time, lack of funds, or even that Old Hawaiian Disease: Lackanookie.

David Weaver
06-05-2013, 5:26 PM
What does the back of your jack plane iron look like? I don't recall looking specifically at mine, but I'm sure it doesn't have an inch of polish (nor does it see the ruler trick). It probably has some level of polish right at the edge, though.

Most people are probably sharpening planes for smoothing, though. For whatever reason, I never seem to get a plane that was sharpened properly. Often, they have bright bevels, sometimes the entire bevel is brightly polished and the back still isn't right or there's considerable wear at the edge. Criticize others if you wish, but they'd be better off using the ruler trick. It doesn't bind them then to softer steel to make sure the back is easy to polish, and they'd be more likely to actually remove the wear on the back side of their smoothers.

Jim Neeley
06-05-2013, 5:32 PM
I don't think anyone here is arguing that, Charlie.

If one desires it, there's virtually no reason to not have the bottom of your jointer plane sole polished to 30k either. It just takes a loooooot of time.

I believe that what David (and David and others) are asserting here is based upon the assumption that the reason the person is sharpening the blade is to cut wood and not as a persuit unto itself. Based on that assumption, the RT minimizes the time to sharpen the back just as a hollow grind minimizes the front, assuming you are hand sharpening the tool.

This is not to say it is the only way or the "best" for everyone. I recognize there are those who greatly enjoy the persuit of the perfect edge and everything in between; it depends upon your mission and what makes you happy.

There's more than one way to skin a cat... just hold on tight while you do! :)

steven c newman
06-05-2013, 5:39 PM
After awhile, I've done without the ruler itself. The last few strokes acoss the stones/ paper/strop, is done with just a slight raising of the iron. More by feel than anything else. Maybe a blond hair raising at the far end of the iron. Might be, maybe .05mm under the iron? Seems to work for the girls I go with.....

Charlie Stanford
06-05-2013, 5:45 PM
What does the back of your jack plane iron look like? I don't recall looking specifically at mine, but I'm sure it doesn't have an inch of polish (nor does it see the ruler trick). It probably has some level of polish right at the edge, though.

Most people are probably sharpening planes for smoothing, though. For whatever reason, I never seem to get a plane that was sharpened properly. Often, they have bright bevels, sometimes the entire bevel is brightly polished and the back still isn't right or there's considerable wear at the edge. Criticize others if you wish, but they'd be better off using the ruler trick. It doesn't bind them then to softer steel to make sure the back is easy to polish, and they'd be more likely to actually remove the wear on the back side of their smoothers.

Mine absolutely has an inch's worth of polish. All mine have at least that much if not more. I find it easier to register that much cutter on the stone when backing off. Balancing the cutter and backing off only an eighth of an inch would be most uncomfortable to me.

I also use the backs of plane irons to help keep my stones flat - I work the backs across the ends of the stones to keep them from hollowing significantly. Two birds, one stone, that sort of thing.

David Weaver
06-05-2013, 5:49 PM
Right, what I meant by polish for an inch doesn't have anything to do with how much of the iron is on the stone, at least not unless the iron is rubbed on the stone for a very long time.

Inevitably, mine have a bright polish at the edge because that's where my finger pressure is. I don't worry much about the rest of the back, so they are what they are.

polishing a quarter or an eighth of an inch of blade back by forcing the rest to be off the stone is mission impossible .

Charlie Stanford
06-05-2013, 8:11 PM
Right, what I meant by polish for an inch doesn't have anything to do with how much of the iron is on the stone, at least not unless the iron is rubbed on the stone for a very long time.

Inevitably, mine have a bright polish at the edge because that's where my finger pressure is. I don't worry much about the rest of the back, so they are what they are.

polishing a quarter or an eighth of an inch of blade back by forcing the rest to be off the stone is mission impossible .

I don't press hardly at all, I use very, very light pressure and do not concentrate pressure at any point when doing the backs. I let the abrasive do the work.

Charlie Stanford
06-05-2013, 8:20 PM
I don't think anyone here is arguing that, Charlie.

If one desires it, there's virtually no reason to not have the bottom of your jointer plane sole polished to 30k either. It just takes a loooooot of time.

I believe that what David (and David and others) are asserting here is based upon the assumption that the reason the person is sharpening the blade is to cut wood and not as a persuit unto itself. Based on that assumption, the RT minimizes the time to sharpen the back just as a hollow grind minimizes the front, assuming you are hand sharpening the tool.

This is not to say it is the only way or the "best" for everyone. I recognize there are those who greatly enjoy the persuit of the perfect edge and everything in between; it depends upon your mission and what makes you happy.

There's more than one way to skin a cat... just hold on tight while you do! :)

You're missing the point entirely. You don't have to make an 'either/or' choice with regard to backs. It has nothing to do with 'cutting wood or getting on with it.' It does not become a persuit [sic] unto itself or sharpening making anybody "happy."

steven c newman
06-05-2013, 8:43 PM
I like a nice flat back on my irons. That way, I can tell IF the iron might beworn funny. I have had a couple, where the middle of the iron is worn away. If there is also a big hollow in the back, like most of the Buck Brothers irons are, then a flatten back will help sharpen the edge, by giving me a straight line to work from. Then, i can work on the bevel. I have had two that the front needed to be flattened as well as the backs. Things were bowed quite a bit. One was trashed, being so bowed. The other finally flattened out. Seems someone in a prior life had clamped the iron down HARD, and then left it that way, for a LOOOOOONG time.


Some, I have to actually slide the back against the side of my grinder's wheel, just to get flat. From there, I can polish as much as I want to. rarely get to the "mirror" polish. I also make sure the area where this polished surface resides is at least flat, as to match the iron resting on it. If it isn't, then I have waste my time. Being a hobbyist, time is what I call "Me Time". Don't mind taking the time to fix it up, just hate to waste it. The area where the iron rest at the mouth, and the surface of the frog, should be just as flat as the iron. Need thing to sit and not rock around. Same care as to the base of the frog, don't want it to sit cockeyed, or rock a bit. ( That's MY job, on a Friday night!)

How one gets to a flat piece of metal, is entirely up to them. I am not going to do it for them, doesn't pay enough....

Jim Matthews
06-05-2013, 10:50 PM
Done properly, it works extremely well, makes consistently excellent edges, is little trouble to remove, and is at least as fast as properly polishing the back of a smoother iron.

A couple of years ago, I suggested that 90%+ would get better edges if they used the ruler trick, and half of the responses to that were borderline antisocial.

Hard to be reasonable, when you're discussing religion.

Jim Matthews
06-05-2013, 10:54 PM
The ruler trick saves a great deal of work, raises the probability of good sharpening, and is a thoroughly good thing.

David Charlesworth

Anything that works so well, with a minimum fuss and is repeatable is well, worth repeating.
The economy of motion in this simple technique is brilliant.

Kudos

Winton Applegate
06-05-2013, 11:41 PM
Mr. Charlesworth,
Glad to see you here ! I hope you are back to your vigorous self after your ordeal (some time ago now but still goes).
Here's to sharp blades, how ever we get them that way, and fine woodworking.
Cheers.

david charlesworth
06-06-2013, 12:54 PM
Winton,

Thank you very much. Feeling pretty good now.

best wishes,
David

Jim Koepke
06-06-2013, 1:00 PM
Hard to be reasonable, when you're discussing religion.

ROTFLMAO!

Yes, micro bevels, ruler tricks, cambering, etc. are just like religion.

That is why my comment is usually something like, "whatever works for you... "

Surely to many folks my sharpening methods are atrociously sloppy. That is okay since my tools usually do what is wanted of them.

Just because my sharpening usually doesn't include secondary bevels, ruler tricks or cambering doesn't mean they are not valid nor do they receive my condemnation. My suggestion for beginners is to get the basics under control before trying the tricks. If one can not get to a basic sharp edge, it is unlikely one of the tricks is going to make the difference.

To be clear on this, some of my blades are cambered. Some of my blades have secondary bevels. Some of my blades have been honed using the ruler trick. Some of my blades have had other treatments.

Just like religion, sharpening has many paths to the same end.

Just like religion, sharpening can be a "spiritual" experience.

Just like religion, when we achieve a new step in sharpening enlightenment, we may feel the glow of epiphany or rapture of warmth and fuzzies all around us.

Just like religion, sharpening discussions can become heated.

Fortunately nations have not gone to war over misunderstandings in the finer points of sharpening equipment or methods.

jtk

Steve Friedman
06-06-2013, 1:21 PM
Fortunately nations have not gone to war over misunderstandings in the finer points of sharpening equipment or methods.jtk
That we know of.

Steve

Jack Curtis
06-06-2013, 5:22 PM
...Fortunately nations have not gone to war over misunderstandings in the finer points of sharpening equipment or methods.

How would you know this? :) I'd bet there have been at least a couple or three skirmishes.

Jim Neeley
06-06-2013, 5:39 PM
"Fortunately nations have not gone to war over misunderstandings in the finer points of sharpening equipment or methods."

I strongly suspect it's more commonly been the other way around! 8->

steven c newman
06-06-2013, 6:22 PM
At least not since the end of the Bronze Age, and start of the Iron Age. An iron sword sharpens a bit differently the the older Bronze ones.

Charlie Stanford
06-06-2013, 7:31 PM
I say use the least expensive method that you can repeat quickly.

I use sandpaper applied with 3M spray adhesive to a granite sink "cut out" remnant from a kitchen countertop maker.
I have a LOW sharpening bench, so I can apply significant downward pressure, leaning into the steel.

I've seen some very delicate, almost prissy approaches to sharpening that just don't work for me.
I use sand paper, and lean into it to create a slurry of steel on the carbide paper.

You should be able to smell the action, as you're generating some heat in the process.
You are unlikely to draw the temper out of steel, free hand - but you will be able to feel warmth.

That's the indicator for me that I'm getting somewhere.

I use a Sharpie marker on the back of old steel, so I can see where I need the most effort.
I flatten plane blades back to 2" or so. Maybe I'll induce some minor curvature and get chattering some day,

* but that's like arguing over how many angels dance on the head of a pin. *

The cutting edge is what I care about, and getting that sharp is what matters.

If a couple of pits don't interfere with getting a decent shaving - what difference do they make?


The real advantage of getting the back of an iron flat is that the up front time expense need not be repeated.
Once that's done, you can concentrate your efforts on the bevel of your choosing.

Good post and it bears repeating that the point behind a flat back is that it is at least flat enough to move the wire edge back to the front in one or two light strokes when backing off. Emphasis on light. That's as flat as you need and this is obtainable in short order with modern abrasives of which sandpaper would be, and is, my personal favorite and certainly my thin wallet's favorite.

Jim Koepke
06-06-2013, 10:52 PM
How would you know this? :) I'd bet there have been at least a couple or three skirmishes.

Oops! Maybe I spoke too soon.

jtk

John Coloccia
06-06-2013, 11:12 PM
Personally, I spend next to zero time on the back of my plane irons. What's the point? The point on a chisel, especially a paring chisel, is so the thing is controllable through the cut and you can go nice and straight. Absolutely dead flat on a chisel is a great thing. The sole takes care of that on a plane. Anyhow, these days I quickly hone the back flat to get rid of whatever slight wire edge there might be, and then strop it to finish it off. A couple of light passes at a slight angle, and I'm done. Before that, I did the ruler trick and that works perfectly as well. Now that I use mostly Spyderco stones to hone, they're too narrow to use a jig or the ruler trick, so I just had to learn to do it by hand and it's just so much quicker and easier.

Adam Cruea
06-06-2013, 11:41 PM
Who really cares how you sharpen as long as your tool does the job you need it to do?

That's like trying to tell someone there's only one way to get to point A from point B. Give your advice and let people find out what works for them.

We all have our preferences for certain things as we all have different personalities, different methods, different techniques, different bodies, and different minds.

The important thing, in the end, is that we all make sawdust, since that's the point of wood working, right? :D

Jim Koepke
06-07-2013, 12:11 PM
Who really cares how you sharpen as long as your tool does the job you need it to do?

That's like trying to tell someone there's only one way to get to point A from point B. Give your advice and let people find out what works for them.

Adam,

This is clear and well said. Unfortunately my coffee is still brewing and my twisted mind went on vacation.

Thinking things like:

With such lovely weather of late, is there a scenic route to sharp tools.

Or:

We know there are fast lanes to sharp but are there any HOV lanes on the road to sharp?

jtk

Jim Neeley
06-07-2013, 5:20 PM
With such lovely weather of late, is there a scenic route to sharp tools.

jtk

Jim,

As a matter of fact I think there is. It's Friday afternoon and sun and warm is predicted through the weekend. I'm thinking it's time to take my sharpening equipment out onto the back deck and have a sharpening spree in the sun Tonight or on Saturday.

That leaves the rest of the weekend to make a little sawdust!! :-)

Jim in Alaska

Metod Alif
06-08-2013, 1:45 PM
David,
"borderline antisocial"
Did you mean 'gifted' :confused:.
The ruler trick makes a lot of sense (if one has it...). To increase the travel distance, stick a sliver of wood to the iron with some double sided (carpet) tape. Not a significant abrasion for disposable use.
Ability to recognize 'good enough' - well, it takes ability to have it :(.
Best wishes,
Metod

Jim Koepke
06-08-2013, 11:24 PM
David,
borderline antisocial"

Interesting cartoon about not being social:

http://www.arcamax.com/thefunnies/speedbump/s-1335073


Did you mean 'gifted':confused:.
The ruler trick makes a lot of sense (if one has it...). To increase the travel distance, stick a sliver of wood to the iron with some double sided (carpet) tape. Not a significant abrasion for disposable use.
Ability to recognize 'good enough' - well, it takes ability to have it :(.
Best wishes,
Metod

My understanding of all this may be off. Here goes:

With the ruler trick the blade is drawn across the stone while resting on a ruler. The ruler does not move. The length of chisel from edge to ruler is reduced as this is done which will create a small arc at the edge of the chisel. In the article on the ruler trick from 2008 it is noted to only draw the chisel about 5/8".

With the shim material (in this case a sliver of wood) attached to the chisel, the length between the fulcrum point and the edge will not change creating a flat bevel.

The insignificant amounts here likely do not matter.

Whether this makes much difference in the scheme of things also doesn't matter to me. Whatever works for the one doing it is all that really matters.

jtk

Metod Alif
06-09-2013, 11:19 AM
Jim,
I share your understanding and opinion that a bit of an arc does not matter, save for chisels. The ruler trick is 'good enough' for me. I mentioned a modified possibility for those for whom 5/8" of movement is not good enough.
Simplicity is not a friend of gadgetniks.
Best wishes,
Metod

Jim Koepke
06-09-2013, 1:02 PM
Simplicity is not a friend of gadgetniks.

Been there...

Done that...

Do it again just about every chance I get. :D

jtk

steven c newman
06-09-2013, 1:16 PM
I wonder what Andy Capp would say about all of this?

Sharpening? Follow the K.I.S.S. system. Keep It Simple ______ !

Jim Koepke
06-09-2013, 1:22 PM
Sharpening? Follow the K.I.S.S. system. Keep It Simple ______ !

My sentiments exactly.

jtk