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David Barnett
08-25-2014, 9:48 PM
While too soft for forging and just about anything else, these cheap 15lb. cast iron anvils from Harbor Freight (http://www.harborfreight.com/15-lb-anvil-3999.html) make acceptable laps for diamond honing and most of the work is already done. The milled face is easily scraped flat in little time, even if you've never scraped anything before, and with a good charge of 14,000 mesh diamond paste from eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-gram-Diamond-paste-H-compound-polishing-lapping-from-14-000-Grit-to-400-Grit-/230692095923?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item35b65207b3) or otherwise you're good to go for a fast, really sharp final honing step. And since these are in the local HF stores, you can avoid shipping costs.

David Weaver
08-25-2014, 10:57 PM
Excellent idea - retains its own mass, too, and mass always makes sharpening stones nicer to use.

David Barnett
08-25-2014, 11:22 PM
Well, some people don't have an extra plane sole lying about or an old shop machine to scavenge. A few months ago, before my hospital stay, I showed someone how to scrape one they'd bought for some jewelry work. While unsuitable for that, at least it's now good for something besides a doorstop.

The mentions of 1µ diamond in the two sharpening threads reminded me of it. Easy way to try scraping and lapping and if it turns out to be not to one's liking, paint flowers on it and put it next to the landscaped handsaws.

And yeah, it'll stay put.

bridger berdel
08-25-2014, 11:58 PM
I have that anvil. I've had it for some 20 years. I now have bigger and better, but I got a lot of use from it, and still do. Yes it's cast, not forged, and time and use has rendered it's face less than perfect, but for the kind of light bench work I smack it with it's more than adequate. I have used it as a base for the jeweller's anvil. :)

David Barnett
08-26-2014, 2:45 AM
I have that anvil. I've had it for some 20 years. I now have bigger and better, but I got a lot of use from it, and still do.

Perhaps they were better when you bought yours than the more recently made Harbor Freight anvil (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZATB-Lbnp0) in this short video. Although this is their 55lb. rather than the 15lb., I can assure you the 15lb. is at least as soft. No ring, no rebound. Anvils really shouldn't take an imprint when a petite woman hammers copper wire or cold fastenings, work-hardened or not, nor should the bick crack under such light use. Hardly 'rugged' as titled (http://www.harborfreight.com/15-lb-anvil-3999.html) nor 'steel' as stated on the label. Sure holds diamond tenaciously, though.

I'm glad you got value out of yours.

Kees Heiden
08-26-2014, 3:55 AM
Or you can fix the cheap anvil: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vPnRcoUeiE

:D

David Barnett
08-26-2014, 4:34 AM
Well, it makes it better but it still doesn't make it good, unless what you want is an anvil shaped object under a piece of steel. Big or small, the steel face should be hardened and properly tempered. My 200lb Trenton has a rather thick steel face over a forged iron body and rebounds energetically. Even my smallest anvils have sprightly rebound and can take errant hammer blows without damage.

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Just welding, brazing or cold fastening a steel plate to a cast iron body won't improve its action to any great extent but if the casting doesn't crack, at least it will have a harder work surface.

Matthew N. Masail
08-26-2014, 7:16 AM
Is there any differance between the various diamond pastes? Mono/poli or quality (if that even applicable)

Chris Parks
08-26-2014, 10:51 AM
You can have fun with anvils also

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=anvil+shooting

Some people will do anything.

Kees Heiden
08-26-2014, 11:00 AM
I believe you David. I know almost nothing about anvils and still feel stupid about when I could but a nice old small one, perfect for my shop, for almost nothing. I make do with a piece of 4 cm thick mild steel.

David Weaver
08-26-2014, 11:43 AM
Is there any differance between the various diamond pastes? Mono/poli or quality (if that even applicable)

For the very small particle sizes, it doesn't make much of a difference on tools (at least in my opinion, i doubt I could tell - especially with loose diamonds when you always have a fresh supply). I've gotten norton oil base paste and it worked fine, but I don't know much about the various pastes and have instead favored the powder. You get more for your money, but it's a little less convenient.

I've gotten most of mine from a seller on ebay who uses the ID yuriy06. 100 carats (about 3/4ths of an ounce or so) is a little under 30 bucks shipped here. I don't know how much international shipping costs, but unless you lose the bag, you'll never need more.

David Barnett
08-26-2014, 2:22 PM
For the very small particle sizes, it doesn't make much of a difference on tools (at least in my opinion, i doubt I could tell - especially with loose diamonds when you always have a fresh supply).

I agree, especially on steel tools.


I've gotten norton oil base paste and it worked fine, but I don't know much about the various pastes and have instead favored the powder.

The biggest differences between pastes for sharpening is concentration, and I'd buy the cheap stuff and use more if needed. Although crystal size ranges can vary with manufacturers, for honing from 3µ through 1µ and finer, steel's not as demanding as gem faceting, polishing and carving, where I beef up concentration by making my own stickier paste vehicle and adding more loose diamond.

Diamond paste is convenient for most uses, of course, but I, like you, prefer loose for sharpening and it can be far cheaper.

Matthew N. Masail
08-26-2014, 3:00 PM
Thanks, I have some dmt paste and a old plane body that can make a nice 6x2.5 lap. I'll give it a shot soon. Does it matter how finely I polish the lap before adding diamonds?

David Weaver
08-26-2014, 3:08 PM
finer is better, but as long as the surface isn't beat up and jagged, it should be fine. It needs to be flat, though, of course - if it's close to flat already, it won't be much work.

Try to run your last scratches (if not going to a pretty fine level) perpendicular to the direction your iron travels on the lap so that you work the iron across the scratches and not with them.

Matthew N. Masail
08-26-2014, 3:20 PM
Got it. I'll probably do 80, 150, 220, 300 PSA paper just because I have it. The scratches thing I guess ill do at an angle because I free hand on hollow,micro or convex depending on the blade...

David Weaver
08-26-2014, 3:22 PM
If you're right handed, diagonally from upper left to lower right is the way I'd run them.

Matthew N. Masail
08-26-2014, 3:27 PM
Ill do that, thanks! (I will probably also get some small dual stones and a eze lap, that's about my monthly budget right now)

Tony Zaffuto
08-26-2014, 3:31 PM
I may pick up one of those cheap anvils, thinking something in the 25 or 55 pound size, for an experiment. Basically, my thoughts are to pack the striking face in something similar to a Casenite but leaving the base uncovered, and put into a batch heat treat furnace I have. I have quizzed my metallurgical engineer about taking a casting, such as a HF anvil and putting hardness into the face, such as what you would get from a forging and his first impression is that additional hardness can be put into the anvil. But he also added it would help to then store the anvil outside in the weather for a year or so, sort of like casting processes of old.

Anyone here have thoughts to add to this?

David Barnett
08-26-2014, 4:21 PM
Basically, my thoughts are to pack the striking face in something similar to a Casenite but leaving the base uncovered, and put into a batch heat treat furnace I have. I have quizzed my metallurgical engineer about taking a casting, such as a HF anvil and putting hardness into the face, such as what you would get from a forging and his first impression is that additional hardness can be put into the anvil. But he also added it would help to then store the anvil outside in the weather for a year or so, sort of like casting processes of old.

Tony, if you don't have an atmosphere controlled furnace and a way to isolate your hardening compound from the body of the anvil, you might have a problem getting the case just on the face. Also, hardening compounds aren't cheap nowadays. Brownell's is $22 per pound and Cherry Red is $5 to $10 more—Kasenit is cheaper at about $150 for ten pounds—so I'm not sure it would be cost-effective. Two other issues might be the depth of case over the soft substrate—how well it could withstand concentrated hammer blows—and quenching cast iron. If it survives, seasoning for a year or so couldn't hurt but I'm not so certain it'd help that much avoiding cracks through use.

Tony Zaffuto
08-26-2014, 5:28 PM
Tony, if you don't have an atmosphere controlled furnace and a way to isolate your hardening compound from the body of the anvil, you might have a problem getting the case just on the face. Also, hardening compounds aren't cheap nowadays. Brownell's is $22 per pound and Cherry Red is $5 to $10 more—Kasenit is cheaper at about $150 for ten pounds—so I'm not sure it would be cost-effective. Two other issues might be the depth of case over the soft substrate—how well it could withstand concentrated hammer blows—and quenching cast iron. If it survives, seasoning for a year or so couldn't hurt but I'm not so certain it'd help that much avoiding cracks through use.

I'm well covered in all aspects David (I own a powder metal parts manufacturing plant, with complete in-house machine shop and in house tool making). In the tool making portion, I have a small batch oven that is atmosphere controlled.

I am concerned about the depth of case hardening over the softer casting. Funny thing is, I would probably spend far more to try to make a substandard HF anvil perform like a vintage forged anvil!

David Weaver
08-26-2014, 5:33 PM
Tony, the anvils have to be coming out of the woodwork up there. I made an attempt to find an anvil only once around here, and it took about two weeks, IIRC, for me to find a nice 125 pound farriers anvil that had a clean fresh top surface. I paid a fair share for it ($325), but it was just what I was looking for and no significant wear.

I think a good anvil is money in suspense these days, as nothing comparable to a soderfors type anvil is made now for any reasonable price.

David Barnett
08-26-2014, 5:55 PM
I'm well covered in all aspects David (I own a powder metal parts manufacturing plant, with complete in-house machine shop and in house tool making). In the tool making portion, I have a small batch oven that is atmosphere controlled.

Oh, you do have all the toys. Sounds like you could manage it and maybe make it work.


I am concerned about the depth of case hardening over the softer casting. Funny thing is, I would probably spend far more to try to make a substandard HF anvil perform like a vintage forged anvil!

Yeah, just don't know how deep or tough the case would be but I'd say take a shot at it. I'm all for pushing the bounds of my own knowledge even when success is less than assured. Sometimes I get lucky—more often not—but it's fun and I invariably learn something.

David Barnett
08-26-2014, 6:18 PM
I made an attempt to find an anvil only once around here, and it took about two weeks, IIRC, for me to find a nice 125 pound farriers anvil that had a clean fresh top surface. I paid a fair share for it ($325), but it was just what I was looking for and no significant wear.

That's a good price nowadays, especially if you don't have to put significant work into it. I got my Trenton for less than that but it was nearly twenty years ago. Besides the great price and condition, Sandy Moss was kind enough to deliver it right to my shop when he was visiting relations in Northampton.

Not a Söderfors, but in that medium weight range I've always coveted a cute little low-profile Nimba Titan (http://www.nimbaanvils.com/titan.php), although that's an unlikely luxury these days.


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Tony Zaffuto
08-26-2014, 6:38 PM
I've seen more than a few, but the going price is around $3.00/pound! Next weekend is the Nittany Tractor Show and huge flea market in Centre Hall, PA (near State College, PA). Always done well at this flea market and being agrarian in nature, farm implements abound, including hand cranked grinders, anvils, all other sorts of blacksmithing stuff, and typical hand tools.

Biggest issue is carrying what you buy! Several years ago, I made the mistake of buying a 1948 Motor Manual and other publications including a later Chiltons, for info for my 1948 Chevy. Purchase was made right at the beginning of my stroll through the flea market and after about an hour, I was ready to give away my treasures!

Anyhow, I digressed! I would just like to find a reason to justify the existence of these cast anvils, and if they could be re-engineered into something useable, that would be great. Maybe a closet business could be built around repurposing HF tools into gems!

To those of you who play around (or are serious) about jewelry type work, PM me and I'll send off some powdered metals for you to play with.

David Weaver
08-26-2014, 6:41 PM
I think I remember tony saying he's got 4 anvils or something. I coveted lots of anvils, but took the first medium weight one I could find with a flat back and not too much damage. I've hammered more saws straight on it than anything else.

http://www.sawmillcreek.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=166387&d=1288966894

Not fantastic, but not horrible. I couldn't gauge how good the new manufacture farriers anvils were, but they were the only new types that didn't cost the moon.

David Barnett
08-26-2014, 8:27 PM
Anyhow, I digressed! I would just like to find a reason to justify the existence of these cast anvils, and if they could be re-engineered into something useable, that would be great. Maybe a closet business could be built around repurposing HF tools into gems!

To those of you who play around (or are serious) about jewelry type work, PM me and I'll send off some powdered metals for you to play with.

Even when I lived in Massachusetts, not once did I ever make it to a tool sale like that and now that I'm back in Florida, well... not so many old tools, but I've been fortunate to get great tools from Patrick Leach, Sandy Moss, et al—jeweler's tools, silversmithing stakes, anvils, and so on—at amazing prices considering they've done all the work. One little American-made anvil that Patrick threw in with the stakes has become my very favorite for light metalsmithing and jewelry work.

You know, the newer cast iron American-made anvils Rio Grande (http://www.riogrande.com/Product/Large-Cast-Iron-Bench-Anvil/113812?Pos=9) and Otto Frei (http://www.ottofrei.com/Anvils-Made-In-USA.html) sell are kind of pricey at around $200 for a 35 pounder but the faces are harder at 45 to 50 HRC, better finished and sturdier than the cheap imports (http://www.anvilfire.com/21centbs/anvils/grizzly_and_ASO.php). If you find a way to ruggedize and upgrade the HF (http://www.harborfreight.com/15-lb-anvil-3999.html) or Grizzly (http://www.grizzly.com/products/Anvil-24-lb-/G7065) anvils, you might have something. There's a lot of price space between the import vs. USA cast iron anvils.

David Barnett
08-26-2014, 10:16 PM
Not fantastic, but not horrible. I couldn't gauge how good the new manufacture farriers anvils were, but they were the only new types that didn't cost the moon.

Oooh, that's a nice enough anvil, all right. Sleek lines and plenty of horn. Looks pristine to my eye. That's a winner—you could have easily paid more for it—and a perfect weight for most work.

I lightly ground the face and upper horn on mine then polished it to a high shine as I do more cold work and planishing on mine than hot forging. It's an 'indoor' anvil so stays that way on its heavy walnut base near my jeweler's bench. A large magnet keeps the ring somewhat polite and bearable but I always wear hearing protection. I have several anvils for lighter work down to a little 1 pound double bick but nothing in the 75 to 125 pound range. Love my stakes, swages and forming blocks, too, but anvils get place of honor.

David Weaver
08-26-2014, 10:21 PM
I've seen more than a few, but the going price is around $3.00/pound!

Looks like I was a little too slow!!

$3 a pound was the going rate down here when I got mine, for a quality anvil. there were a lot of newer hardened surface cast iron or ductile iron anvils, but I wanted one that had a welded spring temper steel plate on the top surface - well if I had a choice.

I would've been willing to pay a little more than I did for one that was absolutely perfect, but was looking for something 175 or under so that I could lift it (a 125 pound anvil is the easiest 125 pounds you'll ever lift).

David Weaver
08-26-2014, 10:29 PM
Oooh, that's a nice enough anvil, all right. Sleek lines and plenty of horn. Looks pristine to my eye. That's a winner—you could have easily paid more for it—and a perfect weight for most work.

I lightly ground the face and upper horn on mine then polished it to a high shine as I do more cold work and planishing on mine than hot forging. It's an 'indoor' anvil so stays that way on its heavy walnut base near my jeweler's bench. A large magnet keeps the ring somewhat polite and bearable but I always wear hearing protection. I have several anvils for lighter work down to a little 1 pound double bick but nothing in the 75 to 125 pound range. Love my stakes, swages and forming blocks, too, but anvils get place of honor.

Little brown, but that was easy enough to fix since none of the brown was pitting - it's no longer brown. I filed the surface to remove a couple of burrs and cleaned it off (via lapping) I don't do much with an anvil, but when you need an anvil, it's hard to substitute much else for it. I just don't want anything that would mark a saw or an infill plane, but it doesn't have to be nearly as nice as you'll need for the surface for the kind of work you do.

Mine is an indoor queen, too. No hot work on it. It is *so* nice to have to straighten saws, though.

$3 a pound seemed to be the price for everything here, or just a little less, pitted and broken down corners with a lot of sway, or anvils that were almost pristine. There was some guy just south of harmar (i know you know the area) who was bringing 3 a week to his apartment (that's his truck) and selling them to make a little bit of college income. He said he had 60 and his dad had several hundred.

David Barnett
08-26-2014, 10:50 PM
I believe you David. I know almost nothing about anvils and still feel stupid about when I could but a nice old small one, perfect for my shop, for almost nothing. I make do with a piece of 4 cm thick mild steel.

Kees, that's a fair chunk of steel and should work fine for most anything around the shop. If you were doing a lot of hot forging and forming you'd likely want a steel-faced anvil, but for straightening saws and lots of other tasks you only need a tough and fairly flat surface.

Although I do most raising and forming on stakes, I do gentle flats and curves on the anvil because of the convenient range of shapes it offers. More importantly, though, I want a steel-faced anvil, even if it's a small one, for making tools—repousse and chasing punches, small knives, stone carving tools, and so on. Although one can make small tools with a hardened jeweler's steel bench block, I still prefer having more mass under the hammer for better edge consolidation and faster forming on hot work.

A lot or bladesmiths are content with and do good work on a plain but hefty block of steel.

David Barnett
08-27-2014, 12:30 AM
Is there any differance between the various diamond pastes? Mono/poli or quality (if that even applicable)

David Weaver gave a good answer so I'll elaborate on price. The range of prices for diamond paste vary widely, from the Norton water-based (http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/store/item/ST-DIAMLAP.XX) at 3.79 to 5.59 per gram in a five-gram syringe to DMT (http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=58754&cat=1,43072)Dia-Paste (http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=58754&cat=1,43072) at a whopping 6.95 per gram in a two-gram syringe from woodworking vendors to very cheap from lapidary suppliers. Where some may promote advantages in their more expensive brands, I cannot discern or appreciate any differences that would make a difference to me—not for sharpening woodworking tools. Now I'm not saying the higher prices are unfair, only that branded products are often higher in cost to the vendor than unbranded and perhaps well-known manufacturers are less inclined to offer the economies in recent industrial diamond production abroad.

Because 5 grams of diamond paste will last for a long time, some will certainly amortize and rationalize the cost for the high-priced spread, especially if already placing an order with a woodworking supplier for other items, and while this may get you tighter crystal size grading, slightly higher diamond concentration and purchasing convenience, I've never encountered problems with other vendors offering far cheaper products and I'm fairly demanding as most of my diamond use is for gem faceting, carving and polishing where a single outlier can set one back.

Considering the price difference between woodworking vendors versus lapidary sellers can range from 6.95 per gram down to 80˘ per gram (http://jadecarver.com/catalog.pdf) respectively, and even lower direct from Asia (http://www.ebay.com/itm/0-5-40-Micron-5-Gram-Diamond-Polishing-Lapping-Paste-Compound-Syringes-12pcs-Set-/191259749827?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c87f82dc3) with free shipping, I'll avoid the high-end as it really doesn't make a difference for sharpening tools in a woodworking shop. Yes, I will pay more for friable monocrystalline p (http://www.facetingaccessories.com/polishes.shtml#diamond_powder)aste (http://www.facetingaccessories.com/polishes.shtml#lapidary_pro_diamond_compound) and highest-grade polycrystalline paste (http://www.metallographic.com/Consumables/Diamond-paste.htm) where needed but not for chisels and planes. If one has deep pockets and were to explore diamonds in the search for the very best edge, I'd suggest the aforementioned polycrystalline to be the most promising place to start.

If you want to know the differences between monocrystalline and polycrystalline diamond, this promotional literature (http://www.metallographic.com/Newsletters/PC-diamond-newsletter3.PDF) will explain. By the way, the vendor, Pace Technologies (http://www.metallographic.com/), sells both.

Kees Heiden
08-27-2014, 4:48 AM
Kees, that's a fair chunk of steel and should work fine for most anything around the shop. If you were doing a lot of hot forging and forming you'd likely want a steel-faced anvil, but for straightening saws and lots of other tasks you only need a tough and fairly flat surface.



Yes I got lucky with that one. When I was collecting some stainless tubing from the local metal-merchant, I saw these chuncks in a corner. In a harbour town, one mans offcuts are another mans sawmaking anvils. I made a couple of saws with folded brass backs using it. First I used the small anvill area of my metalworking vise, but this works a lot better.

Matthew N. Masail
08-27-2014, 9:27 AM
Thanks so much David. I guess the bottom line is for a woodworker it does not matter, so I won't worry about it(-: but I very much apriciated the links and info

Bruce Mack
08-27-2014, 2:56 PM
Thanks for the information David. I have a granite surface plate. Could I use this with the anvil upside down to flatten the anvil surface, using a series of sandpaper grades? If not, could you suggest an article on how to scrape metal?
Whoops - I looked at the item and realize the upside down feat is impossible.

David Barnett
08-27-2014, 10:43 PM
I have a granite surface plate. Could I use this with the anvil upside down to flatten the anvil surface, using a series of sandpaper grades? If not, could you suggest an article on how to scrape metal?

Don't use the surface plate as a lapping surface but to reveal the high spots on the anvil face for scraping as demonstrated in this very old training film (http://collections.libraries.iub.edu/IULMIA/items/show/16). Make a scraper from an old file and buy a tube of prussian blue oil paint, Dykem or equivalent.

Scraping—Why and How (http://www.schsm.org/SCRAPING.pdf), by Ron Gerlach, short article with photographs

The Art of Hand Scraping (https://ia601608.us.archive.org/6/items/Scraping1/scraping1.pdf), by Robert R. Wade

Scraping a wooden block plane (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByAGxpGjdpw), a video. Same idea but on wood instead of iron.

The ultimate manual of scraping: Machine Tool Reconditioning and Applications of Hand Scraping (http://www.amazon.com/Machine-Tool-Reconditioning-Applications-Scraping/dp/9996967085) Try libraries

Steve Voigt
08-27-2014, 11:56 PM
Don't use the surface plate as a lapping surface but to reveal the high spots on the anvil face for scraping as demonstrated in this very old training film (http://collections.libraries.iub.edu/IULMIA/items/show/16). Make a scraper from an old file and buy a tube of prussian blue oil paint, Dykem or equivalent.

Scraping—Why and How (http://www.schsm.org/SCRAPING.pdf), by Ron Gerlach, short article with photographs

The Art of Hand Scraping (https://ia601608.us.archive.org/6/items/Scraping1/scraping1.pdf), by Robert R. Wade

Scraping a wooden block plane (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByAGxpGjdpw), a video. Same idea but on wood instead of iron.

The ultimate manual of scraping: Machine Tool Reconditioning and Applications of Hand Scraping (http://www.amazon.com/Machine-Tool-Reconditioning-Applications-Scraping/dp/9996967085) Try libraries

Those pdfs are great references. I'm sure you'll agree the block plane video is … odd. I think he might as well be lapping. If he used a real surface plate, used a chisel scraper, and didn't wiggle the plane when he imprinted it, he'd have more success.

There was an infill maker a few years ago, Steven ???, I can't remember the last name. Supposedly he scraped a variable "grid" on the soles, such that the "mesh" of the scraping pattern reached its ultimate density right in front of the mouth. Now, that's precision!

David Barnett
08-28-2014, 1:10 AM
I'm sure you'll agree the block plane video is … odd.

Odd to say the least. Amusing.


Supposedly he scraped a variable "grid" on the soles, such that the "mesh" of the scraping pattern reached its ultimate density right in front of the mouth. Now, that's precision!

Some machinists developed signature and decorative styles of scraping, frosting and flaking.

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Frosting(upper) & Flaking(lower)
(short illustrated article (http://www.circuitousroot.com/artifice/machine-shop/surface-finishing/frosting/index.html) and video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yeqSjT7UBE))

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Basketweave or diaper patterns

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Check patterns

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And so on.

Most of my bench plane soles are hand scraped and a few machine tools, as well.

bridger berdel
08-28-2014, 1:31 AM
Those chinese anvils are covered in a thick paint that just screams toxic outgass if it gets up to anything near heat treat temps.

bridger berdel
08-28-2014, 1:35 AM
Odd to say the least. Amusing.



Some machinists developed signature and decorative styles of scraping, frosting and flaking.

295693
Frosting(upper) & Flaking(lower)
(short illustrated article (http://www.circuitousroot.com/artifice/machine-shop/surface-finishing/frosting/index.html) and video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yeqSjT7UBE))

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Basketweave or diaper patterns

295695
Check patterns

295694
And so on.

Most of my bench plane soles are hand scraped and a few machine tools, as well.


Ive been scraping in my planes, too. The tighter pattern at the mouth thing isn't too hard, actually.

David Barnett
08-28-2014, 1:56 AM
Ive been scraping in my planes, too. The tighter pattern at the mouth thing isn't too hard, actually.

You're right, progressive scraping becomes intuitive. Not so much bearing surface but I also scraped the frogs and beds on my Stanleys. Actually made a big difference on two planes. One could file them, of course, but scraping's dead accurate and fun. I've scraped my 6" jointer table and fence right down to my little Taig ways and crosslide. Nothing left to scrape now, though, as I don't need more tools. My proclivity really flourished during one long New England winter—cabin fever—because you can only clean your gun so many times.

David Barnett
08-28-2014, 2:21 AM
Those chinese anvils are covered in a thick paint that just screams toxic outgass if it gets up to anything near heat treat temps.

Hadn't really thought of that but you're absolutely right. Who knows what's in that stuff. Of course, I melt and cast 45% lead frit but not in closed spaces and without protection.

Bruce Mack
08-28-2014, 7:18 AM
Don't use the surface plate as a lapping surface but to reveal the high spots on the anvil face for scraping as demonstrated in this very old training film (http://collections.libraries.iub.edu/IULMIA/items/show/16). Make a scraper from an old file and buy a tube of prussian blue oil paint, Dykem or equivalent.

Scraping—Why and How (http://www.schsm.org/SCRAPING.pdf), by Ron Gerlach, short article with photographs

The Art of Hand Scraping (https://ia601608.us.archive.org/6/items/Scraping1/scraping1.pdf), by Robert R. Wade

Scraping a wooden block plane (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByAGxpGjdpw), a video. Same idea but on wood instead of iron.

The ultimate manual of scraping: Machine Tool Reconditioning and Applications of Hand Scraping (http://www.amazon.com/Machine-Tool-Reconditioning-Applications-Scraping/dp/9996967085) Try libraries

Thanks, David.

Noah Wagener
10-15-2014, 7:13 PM
I agree, especially on steel tools.



I beef up concentration by making my own stickier paste vehicle and adding more loose diamond.

Diamond paste is convenient for most uses, of course, but I, like you, prefer loose for sharpening and it can be far cheaper.


Do i need to make a paste to use the dry diamonds? They are 100 micron. If so, what should i use?

Someone wrote that these plates go out of flat from use. I thought the diamonds imbed and do not roll around? What is wearing the plate? How can a plate be flattened with diamonds stuck in them?

Steve Voigt
10-16-2014, 7:22 PM
Do i need to make a paste to use the dry diamonds? They are 100 micron. If so, what should i use?

Someone wrote that these plates go out of flat from use. I thought the diamonds imbed and do not roll around? What is wearing the plate? How can a plate be flattened with diamonds stuck in them?

Noah, I'm not an expert, but since no one else has answered … the very fine diamonds that are used for honing, say in the 1-10 micron range, will embed pretty well in a mild steel or cast iron plate. Big honkin' 100 micron stones will not embed very well-it would take more pressure than you can apply. So, they will roll around and eventually un-flatten the substrate, though it will take a long time.
If you are interested in using diamond paste for sharpening, as Dave B. was suggesting at the beginning of this thread, you don't need anything coarser than 10 micron. A lot of people who do this only use 1 micron paste--they'll use something like an eze lap "stone" to raise the wire edge, then go to the 1-micron paste for final honing.
On the other hand, if you want to flatten the backs of old irons or chisels, you want to use the loose stones (like your 100 micron ones), not paste, and you want to use them on a Kanaban, or flattening plate, which has grooves cut in it to carry away the swarf. Kanabans were traditionally used with loose SiC, but the diamonds apparently work better.
Of course, you don't have to buy a kanaban; you can use any cast iron or mild steel surface, with or without the grooves. But as with most things, the purpose-built tool works a little nicer.
Joel (tools for working wood) sells kanaban at very reasonable prices.

David Weaver
10-16-2014, 8:17 PM
Yes to a fluid with 100 micron diamonds. It doesn't much matter what it is (mineral oil, wd 40, etc).

They do move around on the plate like steve says, and some do embed, but they will wear a plate hollow over time, so it's better to have a thinner plate, like 8x2 or something and consciously keep the blade you're flattening going over the whole thing, including over the edges.

Based on the chart I'm looking at, 100 micron is somewhere around 100 grit. They should work well. I use a 100 grit powder, but that may (or may not?) be a bit too thick.

YOu can true the surface of the kanaban with abrasive paper at some point in the future, but most are pretty gummy stuff (mild steel), and that makes it so cast is probably preferable.

The difference vs. silicon carbide is that with silicon carbide, you can start fast and still get a decent finish and then go to stones, and at one point it was much much cheaper than diamonds. it's still cheaper, but you won't use more than a dollar's worth of diamonds to rework a pitted iron. The diamonds make deep grooves no matter how long you work them, but you can go to any 1000 grit type waterstone without any problems.

Like steve implies, anything in the 100 micron range is never going to be something for bevel work, which is fine. If you ever made the mistake of trying to work the bevel of a tool that has a soft backer (like a vintage US or a japanese tool) on loose diamonds, you won't do it too many times.

bill tindall
10-19-2014, 8:18 PM
WD40 on cast iron with diamond powder or paste works fine. 100 micron diamond does not embed well in my experience. Those are big rocks. I have had better success with the coarser grits on acrylic plastic and water lube. Cast iron plates will last a long time with the more modest sizes of diamond, for example 15 micron.

I used dry powder for a while but found it inconvenient.

Noah Wagener
10-19-2014, 9:11 PM
Thanks.

They have been sold out of those kanaban at Tools for Working Wood for awhile so i went the old plane sole route.

The diamonds did not really imbed but somehow they did stick into my chisels. I can not upload the pics but they look like diamond hones.

Is mdf or hardwood a bad idea to try? I see people use real fine pastes on those substrates for stropping. What type of thing should i look for as an acrylic plastic plate?

every old chisel and plane iron i get is recessed right by the edge to an eighth back and humped to match the old dished stones.

Steve, you mentioned above that glass is not a good reference plate. Almost every book i read recommends it as a lapping plate. How is it assumed flat and why do you disagree? I got a 3/8 thick piece from my neighbor to flatten this plane sole lapping plate but it was visibly out of flat. It was a furniture part so i assumed it is tempered. Does tempering potentially spoil the flatness? I was told all glass is float so i do not know what else to look for in terms of glass type as a spotting plate.

Steve Voigt
10-20-2014, 12:21 AM
Thanks.

Steve, you mentioned above that glass is not a good reference plate. Almost every book i read recommends it as a lapping plate. How is it assumed flat and why do you disagree? I got a 3/8 thick piece from my neighbor to flatten this plane sole lapping plate but it was visibly out of flat. It was a furniture part so i assumed it is tempered. Does tempering potentially spoil the flatness? I was told all glass is float so i do not know what else to look for in terms of glass type as a spotting plate.

Er, I'm not finding where I said that. Maybe another Steve.
But anyway, if you want a reference plate, something you can rely on as the highest standard for flatness in your shop, then glass is not it, unless you get lucky. Get a granite surface plate, or maybe an old piece of cast iron from a machine, if you've got a way to check it for flatness.
On the other hand, if you want a lapping plate that you are going use to flatten old planes irons and chisels on, glass should work fine. Just check with a straight edge and make sure it's not bowed.
Now, that's if you're using the glass as a surface to stick sanding rolls or belts to. You don't want to use SiC or diamonds on glass to flatten tool steel, because the glass is harder than the steel. SiC on glass works great for flattening oilstones, because the stones are harder. For tool steel, you need something softer. Like cast iron.
You asked about mdf or wood as a substrate. Too soft. But plexiglass (acrylic sheet) is a good alternative. Your local glass shop should have some, won't cost too much.

Greg Portland
10-20-2014, 8:17 PM
Don't use the surface plate as a lapping surface but to reveal the high spots on the anvil face for scraping as demonstrated in this very old training film (http://collections.libraries.iub.edu/IULMIA/items/show/16). Make a scraper from an old file and buy a tube of prussian blue oil paint, Dykem or equivalent.

Scraping—Why and How (http://www.schsm.org/SCRAPING.pdf), by Ron Gerlach, short article with photographs

The Art of Hand Scraping (https://ia601608.us.archive.org/6/items/Scraping1/scraping1.pdf), by Robert R. Wade

Scraping a wooden block plane (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByAGxpGjdpw), a video. Same idea but on wood instead of iron.

The ultimate manual of scraping: Machine Tool Reconditioning and Applications of Hand Scraping (http://www.amazon.com/Machine-Tool-Reconditioning-Applications-Scraping/dp/9996967085) Try libraries

I found this video to be helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOJrhrne80s

Noah Wagener
10-21-2014, 4:11 AM
I think you were commenting on the video of the guy scraping a wooden plane and said he did not have a proper reference plate. Just about every book i have read suggests using a piece of "float" glass with spray adhesive to lap the planes themselves, not the irons. I was just curious how glass is presumed to be flat. The piece i got you could see was out of flat without a straight edge. I thought i could use it to check my planes but i'll just stick to winding sticks and straight edges. I gave up on metal soled planes.

I tried SiC before and was euphoric for about five seconds and then it completely lost its cutting action. I may have to retry it as i see it is only 10 dollars a pound. I think these diamonds i got are too big but i can not afford to experiment with smaller ones.

I do not know how people got things done before these modern abrasives. Well, i do not know how people get things done with them either. I spent 3 hours hollow grinding a chisel back and lapping it with a 1k stone. My grinder is foot powered and i thought i could use the side of the stone but the sides of those Norton 3 x wheels polish. Very odd for 80 grit stone.