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Thread: Best sharpening recipe given the materials I currently own

  1. #1

    Best sharpening recipe given the materials I currently own

    I can upgrade and adapt later after I get up to speed. I also dont want to be the guy who keeps buying stuff but never makes anything!!
    I have a piece of plate glass and a combination Norton waterstone (1000/4000 grit). I will start by sharpening chisels and hand plane blades. Thanks

  2. #2
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    I have this feeling I don't really understand your question.

    But to sharpen with what you have, just use it. You don't mention a guide, so you'll be free hand sharpening. A specific angle isn't as important as a consistent angle. Practice not rocking or twisting as you hone the bevel. You don't mention a flattening plate, but free hand and using all of your stone's surface you shouldn't have to flatten often. (When/if you do, dry wall screen on your flat glass surface will be messy, but will do.) You want the back of your chisel or plane iron flat for an inch or so. Generally you'll want your bevel at 30 to 35 degrees to that. Start on the 1000 and work until you see an even scratch pattern and can feel a burr. Use the 4000 to refine the scratch pattern and improve the polish. You will want to lighten pressure and work both back & bevel to remove the burr or your edge will be fragile. With your glass you can get wet/dry sand paper in coarser grits for major repairs, e.g. grinding out a chip, and in finer grits if you want to try higher levels of polish. To refine the edge more, you can try stropping using the unprinted side of cereal box cardboard or even newsprint to experiment. Depending on your tool's steels the burr can be tenacious and stropping can help remove it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Sherwood View Post
    I can upgrade and adapt later after I get up to speed. I also don’t want to be the guy who keeps buying stuff but never makes anything!!
    I have a piece of plate glass and a combination Norton waterstone (1000/4000 grit). I will start by sharpening chisels and hand plane blades. Thanks
    David makes all the points well.

    For quite a while my finest stone was a 4000 until some extra cash came along to let me purchase a Norton 8000.

    My only difference would be the sharpening angle.

    To me it depends on what use the blade is performing.

    For paring chisels 15-20 is my choice.

    Many of my other chisels and plane blades are at 25. Some like a higher angle or a secondary bevel.

    Some of my chisels had been ground to 30 for doing a lot of chopping. Recently my plan is to sharpen at 25 for chopping and if the hold up or don't roll over stay with it. If a blade has a problem at a lower angle it is easy to give it a secondary bevel at a higher angle until the full bevel is at the steeper angle.

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

  4. #4
    You both generally covered my questions plus lots of great points . I suppose I wasnt sure how the higher waterstone grits would be combined with lower sandpaper-on-glass grits assuming I needed to start lower than 1000 waterstone
    David, you made a comment about a flattening plate. I thought my plate glass was a flattened surface?

  5. #5
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    I'd use the waterstones to establish and maintain a primary and secondary bevel, and get some 3M abrasive film in very fine grits to mount on the glass and polish the final cutting edge.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  6. #6
    Add a honing jig to my list of available tools!! I woke up early with this tool floating around in the ether and found it immediately. Thats what happens when life laughs at your plans and you go on a 15 year woodworking hiatus.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Sherwood View Post
    YI thought my plate glass was a flattened surface?
    Your float glass is fine. I glued mine to a piece of plywood with 3M contact spray a which is a little larger than the glass, the size of a sandpaper sheet, for a surface I clamp to the bench top.

    Likely your failed efforts so far have created multiple bevels you'll need to grind out with the guide you found. I used 60 grit for that to get it over with quickly when it happened to me. Polish the rough full bevel with the iron still in the guide with the 1000 or up through some more grits, then the 1000, until it shines.

    Now set a secondary bevel with your guide and go to the 4000 10 strokes.

    Maintenance can now be done free hand on the 4000, pulling the iron toward you just a few strokes and perhaps, after removing the wire which you may not even feel, lifting the blade a tiny bit while the flat is on the stone for a back bevel. Done.
    Nostalgia isn't what it used to be

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Sherwood View Post
    ... I suppose I wasn’t sure how the higher waterstone grits would be combined with lower sandpaper-on-glass grits assuming I needed to start lower than 1000 waterstone. ...
    Normal maintenance of edge can, and will usually, start on something like 1000. In fact you can use your 4000 for quick touch ups before you reach a point where you need a serious sharpening.

    ETA: when/if you start buying things, I do like having a coarser stone. Stu (formerly of Tools from Japan) recommended a Cerax 320 as a good economical stone in this range. I like it a lot. (Of course if you search the forums or start a thread on it, you'll find everyone has their own preferences, and hates, in coarse stones. They're great when you need them, but they all suck when comparing the feel to a good 1000+ grit stone.) Probably the cheapest way to (reliably) get a coarse stone is the Norton Crystolon stone, but it's an oil stone and will be different than your waterstones.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Sherwood View Post
    ... David, you made a comment about a flattening plate. I thought my plate glass was a flattened surface?
    Yes & no. Your plate is a flat surface, with some form of coarse abrasive e.g. dry wall screen, you can use it for flattening. However that will be messy, you will eventually wear the glass out of flat, and with a guide you won't be using the full stone(s) and will need to flatten more often. A plate is not required but will be much convenient (IMO) and last longer.

    It breaks your "use what you've got" rule, but if you decide to add a plate the Atoma (140 or 400 grit) is the classic recommendation. (I think as close to a consensus as you'll get on sharpening.) It used to be hard to source in the US for less than $100, but Amazon (and I assume eBay, etc.) often pops up foreign sellers, some with US stock, for ~2/3'rds that. All that said, I like the flattening plate Jon @JKI sells: Diamond Flattening Plate. I know Jon and trust his quality control and have found this plate to work well for flattening a wide range of stones. For even cheaper options many have reported good luck with "no-name" plates from China. But buyer beware, others have reported out of flat plates or defective bonding of the diamonds making the plate useless for flattening. And of course you can spend a lot more. (DMT's DiaFlat, the Shapton flattening plates, and the new ones from NanoHone sound great, but they are very spendy and not necessary for a woodworker's needs.)
    Last edited by David Bassett; 07-14-2020 at 2:53 PM. Reason: one more thought

  9. #9
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    I suppose I wasn’t sure how the higher waterstone grits would be combined with lower sandpaper-on-glass grits assuming I needed to start lower than 1000 waterstone
    For most of my current sharpening needs the blades can be started on a 1000 or 2000 grit water stone. This is for normal, extended wear. Light wear can often be handles with stropping or on a higher grit stone.

    At one time a lot of my chisels and plane blades were being bought from that auction site or estate sales. Restoring edges and flattening backs was done on a large piece of granite:

    Granite on Horse.jpg

    Pressure sensitive abrasive paper from a 4" roll is used. It works well with 360 grit. For coarser needs my Veritas Mk.II Power Sharpening System has 80 grit and ~150 grit installed on one disk and 40 and 9 on another disk.

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

  10. #10
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    If a diamond plate is beyond your budget, a pack of "Wet/Dry" sandpaper applied to the plate glass is a reversible first step.

    Water works to hold a sheet of this stuff, but a weak spray adhesive is better.

    Use this to flatten the fine side of the stone, first.
    After flattening the 1000 grit side, clean with water before storage.

    FYI - I bought the Atoma 400 plate for this purpose.

    *DO NOT MIX WATER STONES WITH OIL STONES*

  11. #11
    Hi -

    My personal go to has always been a bar of green (chromium oxide/al oxide) compound for honing. Use it like a crayon - scribble on pine (or anything that will charge with compound) and strop away. Cuts very quickly, and leaves a fine finish. Great for profiled edges too - make a cut in pine with a gouge, apply compound, and hone the gouge.

    It's simple, versatile, and very effective.

    90% of my sharpening is done using 1000x and 4000x waterstones, and green compound.

    There are a lot of choices out there.... but ultimately, the best system one is the one you master, use, and that fits with your workflow....

    Rob
    (who has a fair amount of sharpening options.....)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Lee View Post

    Rob
    (who has a fair amount of sharpening options.....)
    I now have my entry for "Woodworking understatement of the year".

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by David Bassett View Post
    All that said, I like the flattening plate Jon @JKI sells: Diamond Flattening Plate. I know Jon and trust his quality control and have found this plate to work well for flattening a wide range of stones.

    I've ordered stuff from Japanese Knife Imports before and I agree the owner has a good reputation. But for knives, the standard of flatness that's needed for stones is lower than what's needed for woodworking tools (unless you're working with single-bevel knives, which is unusual). So even if what he's selling is a good product in the context of knife sharpening, it might not be so good in the context of woodworking tools. I think it would be a good idea to call and ask how flat these diamond plates are before ordering one.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Sherwood View Post
    Add a honing jig to my list of available tools!! I woke up early with this tool floating around in the ether and found it immediately. That’s what happens when life laughs at your plans and you go on a 15 year woodworking hiatus.

    That'll happen . My take is that you want to make the most of what you have so that you can learn what you want to get and buy more intelligently. I'll limit to chisels and plane irons and try to focus on what you have. I use my abrasive films dry so I captured the glass in wooden holders. The upside is that they are easy to handle and hard to break. The downside is that they take up a little more room in the drawer.

    ScarySharpPlates-1.jpg

    You can see in the pic that I started by using short pieces of abrasive and riding the guide on the glass. Judging by the cabinet this picture would be around 2005. I quickly moved to full strips of abrasive so I didn't have the error of the abrasive film's thickness working against me.

    If an edge is damaged I will shape it to the angle I am after on a grinder or very coarse stone or sandpaper. For me, the coarser you go on the paper the shorter the lifespan of the abrasive. I then go to 400 grit paper to give me a scratch pattern I can see and track progress on.

    I now use diamond stones but, for you I would move from the 400 grit to the 1000 stone. Jumping to 4000 from 1000 may work for you. If you find yourself spending a lot of time on the 4000, add a 2000 grit paper/glass in between. From your 4000 you can go to abrasive film in 3, 1.5 and .3 micron which is approximately 8000, 14000 and really really fine . My finest diamond stone is 12000. I will then sometimes go to a charged leather strop or the .3 micron paper.

    I think the lesson that got me sharpening better was to watch the scratch pattern. Once the previous pattern has been replaced by the new, finer pattern . . . move on.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 07-17-2020 at 12:16 PM.
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