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Thread: First Post/How did I do this? Can it be corrected?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Big Bend/Panhandle, FL
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    First Post/How did I do this? Can it be corrected?

    Hello all. I am new to hand tool woodworking and I am asking for some pointers/advice/tips. I recently (and repeatedly) butchered an innocent plane iron trying to free hand sharpen. Over the course of several sharpening sessions, I managed to skew the iron quite drastically. The skew is so dramatic that I cannot compensate using the planeís lateral adjuster. I know I arrived at this point by not paying close attention during sharpening, but even if I were paying attention, I am not sure the results would have been any different. I have attached a few pictures that I think illustrate my ham-fisted defilement of this innocent iron.

    Is this ďsimplyĒ an issue of poor form resulting in too much pressure on one side/edge of the iron? If so, does anyone have any pointers on preventing this in the future?

    I do not have (nor do I really want) a bench grinder, tormek, etc. to reshape the edge. Is it realistically possible to bring this iron back to square (or at least something close to square) by hand? If so, I would appreciate all pointers.

    I currently sharpen (if it can be called that) with water stones 400/1000/4000/8000 but also have sandpaper of various grits and a relatively flat granite stone. Also, I have an eclipse-style jig, but I would rather learn how to do this free hand and without having to fiddle with the jig every time I sharpen. Thanks in advance.

    Kind regards,

    Tim
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Tim, welcome to SMC! Donít be too hard on yourself, most of us have managed to create skewed edges when learning to hand sharpen (and sometimes still do!). Most likely you were just putting more pressure on one side than the other or maybe even ďtwistingĒ the iron a bit...meaning you may be leaning the iron left or right. It needs to be presented to the stone as square as possible. And once the skew starts, itís kind of natural to follow the bevel and make it even worse unless you check and make adjustments to the way you are holding it.

    The easy way to go about correcting it would be to use the jig. Even though I free hand most of the time, I donít hesitate to use a jig when correcting a skew or even when removing a lot of material to get rid of a nick. Given you need to remove a bit of material, Iíd probably start with some 100 grit sandpaper to get it back to square, then move to your stones.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Twin Cities, Minnesota
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    Hi Tim — Your iron doesn’t appear to be too badly out of square. Just go back to your coarse water stone or sandpaper on granite and correct by concentrating on the long side of the blade. Check regularly with a small square until you’ve eliminated the fault. I own both a Tormek and a
    couple sharpening jigs and have managed to get out of square results with those because I failed to pay close attention. That’s the key.
    I wish that I knew what I know now... Rod Stewart from Ooh La La

  4. #4
    For me, pressing hard exaggerates the unevenness. Itís one of those scenarios where itís hard to learn without the finesse that comes with a lot of time. Holding the iron tightly in my right hand tends to twist it and put more pressure on the right corner. Being able to control the iron in my hands without holding it in a death grip is tricky.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Somehing like this might help. Or, I bet you could make one out of wood.

    https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...AaApwBEALw_wcB

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Odessa, Tx
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    Don't feel bad about using a jig. You'll get used to the angle with the help of a jig. And learning to hold the iron or chisel free hand takes a long time. Keep in mind that a hundred plus years ago when people worked with these tools that they had hours on hours of constant use and practice. Im sure hundreds of apprentices messed up the edges of blades until they were good at it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blake M Williams View Post
    Don't feel bad about using a jig. You'll get used to the angle with the help of a jig. And learning to hold the iron or chisel free hand takes a long time. Keep in mind that a hundred plus years ago when people worked with these tools that they had hours on hours of constant use and practice. Im sure hundreds of apprentices messed up the edges of blades until they were good at it.
    Both my grandfathers, and great-uncle, would also use a wet grinder (wheel) to establish a hollow grind. That gives you two registration points, and makes it a lot easier to hone. Once that was done, they'd re-establish the grind. Those grinders? Foot powered, and very old. I wish I had one of them.

    Edit: for what it's worth, I'll free hand on blades that are easy to freehand, and pull out the eclipse when they're a pain. My hobby isn't sharpening.
    Last edited by mike stenson; 01-18-2020 at 12:46 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    Both my grandfathers, and great-uncle, would also use a wet grinder (wheel) to establish a hollow grind. That gives you two registration points, and makes it a lot easier to hone. Once that was done, they'd re-establish the grind. Those grinders? Foot powered, and very old. I wish I had one of them.

    Edit: for what it's worth, I'll free hand on blades that are easy to freehand, and pull out the eclipse when they're a pain. My hobby isn't sharpening.
    Your post reminded me of my neander friend who absolutely swears by his hand crank grinder which he uses to do the same as your grandfathers and great-uncle. Hand crank grinders are readily available, inexpensive and apparently common used among jewelers.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    Your post reminded me of my neander friend who absolutely swears by his hand crank grinder which he uses to do the same as your grandfathers and great-uncle. Hand crank grinders are readily available, inexpensive and apparently common used among jewelers.
    Yea, new ones are about $40.

  10. #10
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    Might be a bit too far to drive...
    whet stone.jpg
    Haven't check the price in a while....Antique Mall 3 blocks from my house...

  11. #11
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    Howdy Tim and welcome to the Creek.

    Don't feel bad, some of my hand sharpened tools have developed similar skews even after years of free hand sharpening. This is when my blade holding-jig comes out to reset the bevel.

    This should work well with abrasive sheets on your granite stone. Check after ever few strokes. An abrasive sheet in the 220 to 360 grit range should work fine. You may want to avoid your 400 stone. In my experience the low grit # water stones wear quickly which may cause other problems.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 01-19-2020 at 2:53 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    I've made worse skews.

    If it's sharp, and you can tweak the iron for even exposure with the lateral adjustment lever - you're good to go.

    FYI - I often sharpen with blades skewed to fit on my stone. I try to hold it both on the left and right sides for an even bevel.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Big Bend/Panhandle, FL
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    Thanks all for helpful comments, tips, and encouragement. I now have a better idea of what I am doing wrong. More importantly, thanks to the tips, I now know how to correct the issue. Pics below reflect the current state of the iron. The iron is mostly square, re-ground, and honed. Thanks again.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Michiana
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    Hi Tim -

    Welcome. Without naming names (including mine) Iíll say that many others have experienced the learning curve associated with sharpening. Chin up and carry on. Your skills will get better quick. Sooner than you think youíll be able take off the tip of a finger without even feeling it.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven c newman View Post
    Might be a bit too far to drive...
    whet stone.jpg
    Haven't check the price in a while....Antique Mall 3 blocks from my house...
    I have the wheel and hub for one of those, the rest is long gone.

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