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Thread: Sharpening Plane Irons and Chisels, Sandpaper?

  1. #31
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    I plan on starting with a replacement Norton JB8, or maybe the Crystolon, then add one or two natural stones. Been looking at the Natural Whetstone website and it looks like a solid company. Ideas?
    My small Crystolon stones are great for coarse work. Great for working out nicks.

    Less aggressive are some Washita stones. These are a bit difficult to find as they haven't been quarried for a while.

    My main Arkansas stones are from Dan's Whetstones > https://www.danswhetstone.com

    A hard Arkansas and a black Arkansas do most of the fine work. The soft Arkansas isn't as aggressive as hoped. It cuts a little more aggressively than the hard Arkansas. It gets used for very minor nicks or when a blade has gone too long without sharpening.

    My eyes are always looking for different stones at yard sales, flea markets and estate sales. Found a nice 8"X1"X1/2" Washita at an estate sale for $1. It was mixed in with a lot of well worn Crystolon stones. The woman said her departed husband sharpened scissors in his time.

    Across the shop is my water stone sharpening set. Now that things aren't freezing they will likely get more use.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  2. #32
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    Hi Jon,

    My dad and I built a workshop many years ago, mostly power tools. He's gone now and I decided to start building things about a year ago. I also decided to use mostly hand tools. I started to buy mostly vintage tools to equip my workshop. I also have a preference for vintage cast steel cutting tools. To sharpen these tools I currently use a Washita stone and a strop with paste. I have a coarse diamond stone and a fine crystolon, that I use, along with sandpaper, to restore the edge of the tools I buy. So far I manage with that. I only have one iron made of A2 steel, for the new Stanley block plane, that I can easily get a burr with the Washita and finish it with the strop.

    Out of curiosity I bought an oilstone mined in Canada, the seller claims it is Novaculite. I sometimes finish a blade with it. It is harder than my Washita, it cuts slowly, but it can get a burr. It leaves a little more polished surface. I don't use it that much. The Washita and strop are enough for my needs.

    To recondition my stones I used coarse silicon carbide grit on float glass. I got all my stones flat with that. I used sandpaper at first and it took a long time and it was very dusty.

    I think I spent about $200 on this setup. When you research this, you get all kinds of advice to get Tormeks, all kinds of ceramic stones, natural japanese stones, diamond stones, this jig and that jig, these sequence of grits, etc. etc. They may be necessary if you are dealing with some of the harder steels like PM-V11 or A2, but for my carbon steel tools, they're not necessary. In fact, they're necessary if you must have 32.5 degree bevel with the 37 degree micro bevel, and the back bevel, and the mirror finish, and the sub-micron level flat face, etc. In less than 1 minute I am back planing or paring with my setup.

    At some point I will splurge on a black Arkansas from Dan's, but I'm not in a rush.

    For a little historical context, the Washita stones were marketed to carpenters and joiners. A Lily White Washita was all he needed to keep his tools sharp (some even used the palm of their hands as a strop to finish a plane iron.) For other trades, like carvers, die makers, dentists, surgeons, they recommended a hard Arkansas to get really keen edges and avoid gouging the stone. Check this pamphlet, it's very interesting: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?...view=1up&seq=3.

    Nowadays, the consensus seems to be that you can get the well graded newly mined Novaculite Arkansas stones from Dan's Whetstone. For a less expensive alternative one can buy them from Natural Whetstone.

    Good luck,
    Rafael

  3. #33
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    I have a very coarse oil stone
    I have a 600 grit Medium India oil stone
    I have 1k, 1.5K, 2k, and 2.5K grit wet or dry paper
    Sandpaper pack.JPG
    Sandpaper size, grits.JPG
    I have an old leather belt for a strop....haven't added any "green stuff" to it, in almost a year.

    And THAT is it for my sharpening set-up. Usually just the 600 and the 2500 and then the strop...to "refresh" an edge.

    YMMV....but this is mine.
    Last edited by steven c newman; 05-04-2020 at 3:21 AM.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Middleton View Post
    Hi Rafael, I'm circling back to your way of thinking. I bought waterstones for our kitchen knives after watching a bunch of videos put out by the guy at Burrfection. He doesn't flatten his stones because he doesn't thin it's necessary. Maybe not for knives, but sharpening plane irons and chisels requires a flat surface. I bought a nice little Veritas block plane a little bit ago so I could trim the splines off flush on some picture frames I've been making. So, deeper dive than really necessary into planes, sharpening, etc. Watched lots of Rob Cosman videos.

    I had a couple of Norton combination aluminum oxide stones along with a couple of nice Washita stones for over 20 years, but somehow they disappeared in a kitchen remodel. I think I'm going to buy an oil stone system, as I agree that the waterstones require more flattening than they're worth. They do fine for kitchen knives, though. There's a guy, Stefan Wolf, on youtube, who gets more than satisfactory results with his oil stones, which seem much less finicky than waterstones. So, my question is, any ideas on a complete oil stone system for sharpening? I plan on starting with a replacement Norton JB8, or maybe the Crystolon, then add one or two natural stones. Been looking at the Natural Whetstone website and it looks like a solid company. Ideas?
    Fine India - replaces 800/1000 grit waterstone (Norton)

    Soft Arkansas - Replaces 3000-5000 grit waterstone (recommend Natural Whetstone)

    Translucent Arkansas - Finishing stone (recommend Dan's for this one)

    These are what I use, along with my translations to a typical waterstone routine. You really can't directly compare grit ratings with natural stones but these are the functions each serve in the routine.

    Get a coarse or medium Crystolon if you want to do heavy work like removing knicks, but I don't recommend them for day to day sharpening because they are friable, somewhat like waterstones, and won't stay as flat as an India. But the Crystolons are the fastest cutting stones I have used, it's just not something that's needed day to day.

    The fine india and soft ark are relatively inexpensive, but a good trans ark or surgical black ark is pricey. Dan's is good about getting the surface flat and with a good finish, very important for the translucent ark. For the soft ark I have heard that Dan's tend to be a bit finer and slower cutting than you'd want, and that Natural Whetstone has a more aggressive stone. That's what I bought and I really like the soft ark, cuts fast but leaves quite a good surface, ready for the finishing stone.

  5. #35
    Thanks, everybody. I watched a video wherein a guy dulled a blade intentionally on a coarse stone, then sharpened it on a combination Norton India stone followed by a strop. It was very sharp. I'm thinking that the Norton, either the IB8 or larger IM2, is a good way to start. I misspoke above, as the JB8 is the Crystolon version. The Fine side is supposed to be 400 grit, I don't think I'll have much use for the coarse side. Following that up with an Arkansas, maybe the soft from Natural Whetstone makes sense. I'd rather avoid the very pricey translucent stones, maybe a strop would be a good way to go? I'm not really into planing .001" wisps off a 2" thick slab of curly maple, just want a clean cutting edge on my chisels and planes. Lots of approaches out there, I prefer something simple. I sharpened my chisels with the CBN 80 grit wheel from Cosman followed by the fine side of a cheap silicon carbide stone, then 1500 grit sandpaper on granite. They're sharp enough, but I think there's a better way.
    Last edited by Jon Middleton; 05-04-2020 at 1:25 PM.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Bassett View Post
    $55. Post #9 in this thread:


    Amazon popped up one of the Atoma's for $64 several days ago. (It might be $120 today, they & their 3rd party vendors make pricing weird.) You can search there if you're really curious.

    You ask here, many people took the time to answer, and then you appear to have ignored them and listened to the sales guy. (BTDT, got a box of stones out in the garage I keep saying I should sell, but honestly can't figure out why anyone would want them for even the cost of shipping. )
    when you see a crazy cheap price on the Atoma. On one occasion, it was just the sheet that you can attach to the plate (so that you can replace the diamonds if you wear them out).

  7. #37
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    Jon,

    Did you use this 80 grit wheel every time you sharpened? Wouldn't that remove a huge amount of metal over just a few sharpenings?

    Have you considered the diamond plate alternatives? Have a look at this blog post, for about $20 you could set up a sharpening system (https://paulsellers.com/2020/03/edge...ning-under-10/).

    Rafael

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Pitonyak View Post
    when you see a crazy cheap price on the Atoma. On one occasion, it was just the sheet that you can attach to the plate (so that you can replace the diamonds if you wear them out).
    Heck, some of them are probably counterfeit. Hard to tell sometimes with Amazon 3rd party sellers.

    Back when they were harder to find in the US they seemed to go for $110-120. The fact they were so much cheaper in Japan was part of what Stu offered with his service. Then the plated sheet of diamonds was usually only $10 less than the sheet plus substrate. So the replacement sheet only doesn't seem to explain the bulk of the price drop.

    BTW- stock Atoma's are plenty good enough for stone flatten IMO. But the double stick tape between the substrate and diamond sheet can telegraph slightly, for more critical uses you can improve the flatness (slightly, it's not much out) by reworking that interface. There's a thread here, from maybe 5 years ago?, that describes that effort.

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafael Herrera View Post
    Jon,

    Did you use this 80 grit wheel every time you sharpened? Wouldn't that remove a huge amount of metal over just a few sharpenings?

    Have you considered the diamond plate alternatives? Have a look at this blog post, for about $20 you could set up a sharpening system (https://paulsellers.com/2020/03/edge...ning-under-10/).

    Rafael
    Good question. The answer is no. If you watch Rob's video, he regrinds the primary bevel only after repeated honings make the honed area too long. You grind the primary bevel down to where only a very narrow secondary bevel remains, just a sliver. You then only need to hone a very small area to produce a cutting edge. As Rob explains it, only the secondary bevel contacts the wood. It's a very easy and quick process.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rafael Herrera View Post
    Jon,

    Did you use this 80 grit wheel every time you sharpened? Wouldn't that remove a huge amount of metal over just a few sharpenings?

    Have you considered the diamond plate alternatives? Have a look at this blog post, for about $20 you could set up a sharpening system (https://paulsellers.com/2020/03/edge...ning-under-10/).

    Rafael
    The grinder is only meant to thin 99% of the time. It only shortens when you need to go all the way to the cutting edge to take out a nick. If you regularly produce a burr at the grinder you're wasting tool steel, and have a misunderstanding of the purpose of the tool.

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Guest View Post
    The grinder is only meant to thin 99% of the time. It only shortens when you need to go all the way to the cutting edge to take out a nick. If you regularly produce a burr at the grinder you're wasting tool steel, and have a misunderstanding of the purpose of the tool.
    Agreed. That's what Cosman says and what I do.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Middleton View Post
    Good question. The answer is no. If you watch Rob's video, he regrinds the primary bevel only after repeated honings make the honed area too long. You grind the primary bevel down to where only a very narrow secondary bevel remains, just a sliver. You then only need to hone a very small area to produce a cutting edge. As Rob explains it, only the secondary bevel contacts the wood. It's a very easy and quick process.
    There are quite a few Cosman's videos. He strikes me as an entrepreneur trying to get you to buy something.

    I looked into these CBN wheels and they sell for $100 and up. The Cosman branded one is $180. He's selling his products using a format where he teaches you something.

    I'm not inclined to follow this type of advise, it reminds me of personalities like Rachel Ray, I don't buy pots and pans from Rachel Ray just because she recommends them.

    My personal experience is that I've only needed to grind the bevel of vintage tools or nicked edges. The quickest way to do it is with sandpaper and a honing guide. I use a bench grinder in the worst cases. I would not spend my limited budget on a $180 wheel that would be used only occasionally.

    There are many different approaches to sharpening, I prefer old school and cheap, chose what suits you best.

    Raf

  13. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafael Herrera View Post
    There are quite a few Cosman's videos. He strikes me as an entrepreneur trying to get you to buy something.

    I looked into these CBN wheels and they sell for $100 and up. The Cosman branded one is $180. He's selling his products using a format where he teaches you something.

    I'm not inclined to follow this type of advise, it reminds me of personalities like Rachel Ray, I don't buy pots and pans from Rachel Ray just because she recommends them.

    My personal experience is that I've only needed to grind the bevel of vintage tools or nicked edges. The quickest way to do it is with sandpaper and a honing guide. I use a bench grinder in the worst cases. I would not spend my limited budget on a $180 wheel that would be used only occasionally.

    There are many different approaches to sharpening, I prefer old school and cheap, chose what suits you best.

    Raf
    Hi Raf. I bought the CBN wheel because it's better balanced, holds up well, never needs dressing, etc. It's expensive, but not prohibitive. Between the time I ordered it and it was delivered I used my old wheels to grind the bevels. It worked fine, but I don't regret buying the CBN. It's easier and faster for sure. In retrospect, I think a finer CBN wheel would be better for my use. Rob prefers the 80 grit because it's faster. I have plenty of time to mess around in my shop, and would prefer a nicer finish. Rob doesn't use or recommend a honing guide, he thinks that given the tiny amount of honing required, learning to do it by hand is easy enough. I'm happy with my results thus far and think things will improve.

    Thanks to all for the help offered here. Still not certain which way I'll go, but I'm sure I'll get very good results.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Middleton View Post
    I have a CBN wheel coming for my half speed Delta grinder, and am setting up the Wolverine tool rest. I want to use a granite tile and wet dry sandpaper to flatten my waterstones and hone my tools. I also bought one of the cheap Wood River honing guides which doesn't look too bad. What brand/type of sandpaper works best?
    Getting back to the original question, Norton 3X was my last purchase of sandpaper a few years ago. My understanding is their Pro Sand series of sandpaper is even longer lasting.

    As for using sandpaper for blade sharpening, my Veritas Mk.II Power Sharpening System uses sandpaper mounted on disks to sharpen blades and has been working for me for about two decades. Most of the time now it is used for restoring old tools that come into the shop.

    My blades usually do not get to a point of needing grinding before honing.

    You grind the primary bevel down to where only a very narrow secondary bevel remains, just a sliver. You then only need to hone a very small area to produce a cutting edge. As Rob explains it, only the secondary bevel contacts the wood. It's a very easy and quick process.
    My experience with secondary bevels is limited. My sharpening is done freehand. If not careful a flat bevel will develop a secondary bevel or a convex bevel. The savings in time between maintaining a flat bevel or using a secondary bevel is not that great. The exception to this is with thick blades. Thick blades can have a problem with the stiction between the blade and the stone. Often a side to side motion can help when stiction develops.

    When a secondary or convex bevel is noticed it can usually be corrected with a coarse stone or a quick trip to the Power Sharpening System.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  15. #45
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    When a plane iron or a chisel comes into the shop, with an edge looking like this ~ ( have seen a few, too) or so badly out of square to the edge that they would pass for a skew chisel...THEN the grinder will get used. Then the 6" disc on the side of my belt/disc sander with a 180 grit pad, and a big glass of water....until a nice, square to the sides edge appears will a single bevel, and a flat back.....Then the 2 oil stones, then a few W-or-Dry papers up to 2.5 K grit....then a plain leather strop. And that is it. I also lay those papers right down on the last oil stone used, with a dab of oil between them ( keeps the paper from moving around too much)

    Expensive sandpaper? I usually buy an assortment pack, at about $6....3 times a year..if that. I do not overthink this process..I have work needs to be done....and not charging the Windmills of the Perfect Edge Clan.....
    Last edited by steven c newman; 05-05-2020 at 2:26 PM.

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