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Thread: Shaptons: Side Sharpening w/Sharp Skate vs. Veritas Mk II Honing Guide

  1. #1
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    Question Shaptons: Side Sharpening w/Sharp Skate vs. Veritas Mk II Honing Guide

    Does anyone here use Garrelson Stanley's Sharp Skate with Shaptons?

    I've been following another thread on fighting stiction and one recommendation was to use side sharpening.

    I've used my Mk II with my waterstones but recently picked up some Shaptons and had stiction issues. I tried them since reading Derek's post but also wonder what those who have the Sharp Skate think of it.

    For background, I sharpen everything from a 1/8" LN chisel to a 2-3/8 LV A-1 (BU) plane blade.

    I'd sure like to learn all I can from my fellow Creekers!
    Last edited by Jim Neeley; 06-16-2011 at 12:30 AM.
    One can never have too many planes and chisels... or so I'm learning!!

  2. #2
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    You can side sharpen without any guide; although Harrelson's is a good one.

    Pam

  3. #3
    Yeah, no guide. I haven't heard really great things about the guide for the price. It's essentially a one-off at the volume he makes it, so you can't really expect veritas pricing, let alone cheap guide pricing.

    I don't like side sharpening for the final finish scratches at an edge. The edge failures are different and not in a good way (they are wider and make bigger marks in my experience - only a big deal for smoothing, but that's probably all half the people who use hand planes use them for, anyway).

    Not to mention even common trade discussion that I've read says the last set of scratches laid on when sharpening should go in the direction of cut. Right off the top of my head, the last place I read that was Odate's book, but I know I've seen it elsewhere.
    Last edited by David Weaver; 06-16-2011 at 7:54 AM.

  4. #4
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    Hi Jim

    Your wish is my command: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ToolRev...p%20Skate.html

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  5. #5
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    I'm not sure it makes a difference...

    When you have a series of scratches that are smaller than the woodfiber, it should be sharp enough to cut. The idea is to approach a "zero radius" where the back of the steel and front bevel meet. In other words, sideways or frontways - you're trying to get the included angle at the edge near the size of the steel molecule in the blade at the front.

    If the grain of the steel is small enough, you can get down to that size by polishing.
    I don't suppose the steel grains are oriented, more likely they're homogenous.

    The reason I sharpen following the long axis of any blade is to keep from laying furrows into the Shapton stones. Note the Lee-Nielsen videos where Deneb is only pulling the bevel towards him. I suspect this is to keep from digging into the surface.

    Perhaps the reason Odate likes this direction is that any micro-serration (teeth) will form in parallel with the tool edge, and stay in the groove desired. I suspect that at the level of polish you describe it amounts to no difference.

    If the sideways motion is faster, and doesn't score the stone - why not try it?

    If you find you blade "skating" sideways out of the groove, try the other method.

    Lastly, the Shapton stones cut best when flat. Lap them regularly

    Ron Hock has forgotten more than I will ever know about sharpening steel

  6. #6
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    Hi David

    I'm going to make a few points, but please don't ask me for the references as I just cannot find them at present (one was a Japanese study on sharpening, and I vaguely recall "Hitachi" ... anyone help out?).

    In a nutshell, side sharpening was found to produce a stronger edge than front-and-back sharpening. This conclusion is also reinforced by research which look at magnified images of blade edges (Steve Elliott?) - results demonstrate the the chipping eminates from the fine scratches that lead to the edge of the bevel. And, of course, there are no such scratches with side sharpening.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek (dedicated side sharpener)

  7. #7
    Derek / Jim - couple of things - it's my undersatnding the grain size of the steel doesn't really matter for sharpening, I believe the modern abrasives will cut a groove in anything, including carbides. Means something for how the steel fails, but not sharpening.

    As far as the side sharpening goes, beach has some anecdotal commentary on his site also about the failures that *do* occur with side sharpening, and I tried it briefly and with A2 found the same.

    Not necessarily deeper failures, but wider ones that left lines I couldn't tolerate smoothing. These are not chipouts that you would identify staring at a blade without a loupe, but they affect the finish quality / shine.

    I may try it again at some point (as a final step, I use it constantly before the final step), but I have found edges with scratches in the direction of the cut to be more predictable on a smoothing plane (in terms of the finish level and consistency as the iron dulls), which is really the only tool I have where the difference between the methods matters.

  8. #8
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    Derek,

    Thank you, kind Sir.

    Jim
    One can never have too many planes and chisels... or so I'm learning!!

  9. #9
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    ..and thank you to all the rest of you who provided your wisdom.
    One can never have too many planes and chisels... or so I'm learning!!

  10. #10
    I use the Sharp Skate (and Sharp Skate 2) with Shaptons and I side sharpen tools. I have always used a side to side method even before learning Harrelson's. I do my own little variation. I use the jig on initial grinding to get a dead flat bevel. Once I am sure the bevel is dead flat which I do by taking a few strokes on a polishing stone, I remove the tool from the jig and go free hand. On the final polishing stones, I hold the blade at 45 degrees or so and move it side to side working down the stone, first one side then the other. This also helps me camber the blade if desired. The things I don't like about the Sharp Skate (and all jigs for that matter), it makes a terrible noise and it wears the stone. I hesitate to use it on a fine (15,000 or 30,000) stone. It is also difficult for me to camber the edges with a jig. However, I found that the biggest problem people have with Free Hand sharpening is getting the bevel and the back very flat (hence hollow grinding, micro-bevels and all of that). Once a back is flat and the bevel is dead flat and the same angle across, Hand sharpening is actually easier, quieter and faster. This taught me to not let a tool get where I have to re flatten the bevel. When the cut starts pulling. I pop out the blade and make maybe 10-20 strokes to raise a burr, polish it and go on. Easier to Hone than grind. I like the side to side, back and forth method. The best of both methods I hope.
    George Beck
    Fishers Laser Carvers

  11. #11
    Hey all

    What do you think of starting a Sharpening Forum here? There are some formidable sharpeners here and it one of those areas of that craft that gives people fits. I have to say, over the past several decades I have spent more money and time on sharpening than anything else. However, once I learned to sharpen tools, my woodworking changed forever. A forum where we could discuss stones, methods, etc. Just a thought.

    Oh speaking of that, I just received a new DMT DIA Flat lapping plate. It works great and is dead flat. I hope it holds up well as I have used up 2 shapton glass lapping plates and $175 is better than $325.


    George
    George Beck
    Fishers Laser Carvers

  12. #12
    A sharpening forum might be a bit eclectic, but it would provide some relief to some of the folks who decided how they were going to sharpen things 30 years ago and have no interest in changing.

    Do the DGLPs have a lifetime warranty? I guess not if you've gone through two!

    I'd not heard of the Dia flat before, but if DMT has figured out how to coat diamonds on a surface in a way that they wear out much slower than their normal duosharps and bench stones, I hope they take that technology and put it on the duosharps and bench stones diasharps.

    I agree, $175 beats $325 every day of the week.

  13. #13
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    I also have never heard of the dia flat plate until now. It looks and sounds very promising. My 10" Duo XC/C DMT stone has held up well enough for now but I see it not lasting another few years. It certainly has lost much of its bite and now that I am switching over to harder Shaptons and Sigma's I def see a new flattening plate in the near future.

    I am very glad you posted about the Shapton Diamond plate not lasting as an ivestment like that should certainly hold up far longer than anything on the market. I was never able to drop that kind of coin on a diamond plate and now never will. Espcecially with this new promising Dia Flat plate out there for half the price.

    I agree that there should be a forum dedicated to sharpening or at the least a sticky full of valuable experience from the people here. I have asked many questions myself and have learned a ton on just sharpening here in the neander section. I think between stone and jig comparisons as well as technique questions it would become a popular forum.

  14. #14
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    Perhaps even more so, a great archive for those of you tired of seeing the same questions repeatedly. <g>
    One can never have too many planes and chisels... or so I'm learning!!

  15. I went through a long series of how the heck to sharpen, all the time wanting to learn to hand sharpen and get rid of the gadgets. I bugged Derek, bugged Harrelson and just about anybody else that would assist with their knowledge. I ended up buying a side sharpening skate and was disappointed in how it wore wheel grooves in my Shaptons so I emailed Harrelson. He called me and took the time to explain my bad habit of pushing on the skate too hard and then explained quite a bit about his hand honing methods. Long story short, I practiced the side sharpening method with no jig and have gotten a much flatter, sharper edge than I've ever achieved with honing guides. I use an Eclipse clone and sandpaper when the edge is really screwed up to establish a flat, known bevel angle, then hand hone using side sharpening to get the desired sharpness level. Once I got the feel down and sharpened that way my first time, I decided to never going back to all of the gizmos I was using before.
    Steven

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