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Thread: Was it just my imagination?

  1. #16
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    Ta Derek.

    Keep well.
    "If you have all your fingers, you can convert to Metric"

  2. #17
    I'm obviously biased, but I really suggest taking the time to watch the video. If you prefer just to read, though, I put much of the same information here: https://chisel-test.netlify.app/

    Using a buffer to sharpen chisels is now, to me, a no-brainer -- it is better in every way than just using stones. And I no longer feel the need to search for chisels with better steel -- even a very inexpensive chisel sharpened this way holds up much, much better than the most expensive chisel sharpened the "normal" way. That's not a conclusion I expected to reach when I started testing it out, after reading a few posts about it.

    With plane blades, more care needs to be taken to avoid clearance issues, and the durability advantage is significantly less than it is for chisels. However, the resulting surface quality is very high due to the smooth uniform edge. I haven't experimented much with plane blades, but David Weaver has, and he has written about it a bit in the WoodCentral forums.

  3. #18
    Winston, I really enjoyed your video. The microscopic photos are a great! Bill T also talks about a light buffing on the back as being an antidote to spending time micro-adjusting the cap iron. I'm excited to try it. I've been using microfilm on glass, which is great for a beginner but does grows expensive over time. If I just use one or two grits, then I won't reach a point where staying with this approach is too expensive.

  4. #19
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    Regarding working the back, many years ago I recommended this for refreshing BU plane blades with a high micro secondary bevel - simply strop the back. However this was done to remove any wear bevel and not to add a Unicorn bevel. More recently, have buffed Japanese cutting gauge blades this way. Again this was to hone and not to Unicorn, but it works. My concern about any work on the back is that eventually, it is going to end up bevelled.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Hilton Ralphs View Post
    I bought a hard felt (well it felt hard on the pocket at least) buffing wheel from Lee Valley. I'll be trying it this weekend.
    Looking forward to hearing your results. I have a felt wheel, a 3400K RPM grinder, and block of white buffing compound. I've been wondering if any of these would be useful in trying the unicorn method.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clifford McGuire View Post
    Looking forward to hearing your results. I have a felt wheel, a 3400K RPM grinder, and block of white buffing compound. I've been wondering if any of these would be useful in trying the unicorn method.
    I've been trying to keep up with all the reports, but....

    I think hard felt wheels have had mixed results. If I've kept track correctly, it seems like the preferred soft cotton is more forgiving of technique, but the hard felt works well with a light enough touch.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Chang View Post
    I'm obviously biased, but I really suggest taking the time to watch the video. If you prefer just to read, though, I put much of the same information here: https://chisel-test.netlify.app/
    Did you do a durability test on the PM-V11? Does the % durability improvement you demonstrated on the video for the Buck Bros. cheapo apply to the PM-V11?
    Also curious if you have objective data. (Like BB chisel on stones dulled at 10 pares and lasted 50 with the unicorn method)

    Very cool video, thanks for taking the time to put it together. I liked seeing the microscope photos.

  8. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Erich Weidner View Post
    Did you do a durability test on the PM-V11? Does the % durability improvement you demonstrated on the video for the Buck Bros. cheapo apply to the PM-V11?
    Also curious if you have objective data. (Like BB chisel on stones dulled at 10 pares and lasted 50 with the unicorn method)

    Very cool video, thanks for taking the time to put it together. I liked seeing the microscope photos.
    Glad you liked it!

    I did test a buffed PM-V11 chisel, and the info is on the web page, along with the non-buffed PM-V11, and buffed and unbuffed Buck Bros. The tests on the page were more controlled than what I showed in the video.
    https://chisel-test.netlify.app/

    Like the buffed Buck Bros, the buffed PM-V11 chisel did very well -- basically no visible damage at the end of the test, after chopping 20 pieces of maple.

    I didn't have any objective measures of sharpness, just the microscope pictures. I considered getting one of those sharpness testers that measure the pressure needed to cut a piece of thread, but I decided against it for a number of reasons: they're expensive, the cutting pressure probably isn't consistent across a damaged blade so I'd have to take multiple measurements (and the thread is pricey), and I'm sure people would (rightly) complain about the validity of those numbers when it comes to woodworking.

    It's hard to say that there's a general percent improvement in durability, because the nature of the damage is different. With the unbuffed Buck Bros chisel, the steel folded over very; with the unbuffed PM-V11, it mostly (micro) chipped; but with the buffed blades, there was no visible damage. However, I could tell that the buffed blades weren't quite as sharp at the end as they were in the beginning, because they didn't shave hair quite as easily. For the buffed blades, I think that they were dulling from abrasion, but at a scale that wasn't visible with my microscope.

    About durability: All could easily shave hair at the beginning. The buffed blades could even catch and cut hairs without contacting skin. At the end, the buffed blades could still easily shave hair, but they weren't as crazy sharp as they were at the beginning. The Buck Bros and Veritas unbuffed blades definitely could not shave hair at the end. I happened to try using the Veritas to shave hair after chopping off just 3 (out of the 20) pieces, and it couldn't do it. I didn't check, but I suspect that both unbuffed chisels lost the ability to shave after chopping off just 1 or 2 pieces.

    The web site has pictures of each blade as they progressed in the test -- click on "Full Progression" to see it for each one.

    One more thing I forgot to mention in the video: if you buff a blade and find that it doesn't last as long as you'd expect, just buff it some more. I find that it's easier to under-buff the blade (so that the edge doesn't hold as well) than it is to over-buff it (so that it starts off feeling not as sharp as it should).

  9. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Chang View Post
    Glad you liked it!

    I did test a buffed PM-V11 chisel, and the info is on the web page, along with the non-buffed PM-V11, and buffed and unbuffed Buck Bros. The tests on the page were more controlled than what I showed in the video.
    https://chisel-test.netlify.app/

    Like the buffed Buck Bros, the buffed PM-V11 chisel did very well -- basically no visible damage at the end of the test, after chopping 20 pieces of maple.

    I didn't have any objective measures of sharpness, just the microscope pictures. I considered getting one of those sharpness testers that measure the pressure needed to cut a piece of thread, but I decided against it for a number of reasons: they're expensive, the cutting pressure probably isn't consistent across a damaged blade so I'd have to take multiple measurements (and the thread is pricey), and I'm sure people would (rightly) complain about the validity of those numbers when it comes to woodworking.

    It's hard to say that there's a general percent improvement in durability, because the nature of the damage is different. With the unbuffed Buck Bros chisel, the steel folded over very; with the unbuffed PM-V11, it mostly (micro) chipped; but with the buffed blades, there was no visible damage. However, I could tell that the buffed blades weren't quite as sharp at the end as they were in the beginning, because they didn't shave hair quite as easily. For the buffed blades, I think that they were dulling from abrasion, but at a scale that wasn't visible with my microscope.

    About durability: All could easily shave hair at the beginning. The buffed blades could even catch and cut hairs without contacting skin. At the end, the buffed blades could still easily shave hair, but they weren't as crazy sharp as they were at the beginning. The Buck Bros and Veritas unbuffed blades definitely could not shave hair at the end. I happened to try using the Veritas to shave hair after chopping off just 3 (out of the 20) pieces, and it couldn't do it. I didn't check, but I suspect that both unbuffed chisels lost the ability to shave after chopping off just 1 or 2 pieces.

    The web site has pictures of each blade as they progressed in the test -- click on "Full Progression" to see it for each one.

    One more thing I forgot to mention in the video: if you buff a blade and find that it doesn't last as long as you'd expect, just buff it some more. I find that it's easier to under-buff the blade (so that the edge doesn't hold as well) than it is to over-buff it (so that it starts off feeling not as sharp as it should).
    Thank you Winston,

    I've been following on "Wood Central" for a couple or three weeks and now have a buffing wheel on the grinder. The findings follow what I've felt for years but had been unable to prove. That edge sharpness depended on the smoothness of the cutting edge more than acuteness (within reason) and a well stropped edge would last longer than one not stropped. Fun in the shop playing with the new buffer to come.

    BTW, my approach had been natural stones vs. synthetic to achieve the smooth edge but what you'll have shown is that the stone makes no never mind. It all depends on the stropping/buffing. Life may have just become much less expensive.

    ken

  10. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by ken hatch View Post
    I've been following on "Wood Central" for a couple or three weeks and now have a buffing wheel on the grinder. The findings follow what I've felt for years but had been unable to prove. That edge sharpness depended on the smoothness of the cutting edge more than acuteness (within reason) and a well stropped edge would last longer than one not stropped. Fun in the shop playing with the new buffer to come.

    BTW, my approach had been natural stones vs. synthetic to achieve the smooth edge but what you'll have shown is that the stone makes no never mind. It all depends on the stropping/buffing. Life may have just become much less expensive.


    How is the buffing working for you?

    I've spent several hours this weekend grinding tools to a lower angle, honing them, then buffing them. I'm now able to use only a 1000 grit stone for chisels, and additionally a 6000 grit (Sigma Power Ceramic) for plane irons. Definitely a lot cheaper than getting into Japanese natural stones!

  11. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Chang View Post
    How is the buffing working for you?

    I've spent several hours this weekend grinding tools to a lower angle, honing them, then buffing them. I'm now able to use only a 1000 grit stone for chisels, and additionally a 6000 grit (Sigma Power Ceramic) for plane irons. Definitely a lot cheaper than getting into Japanese natural stones!
    Winston,

    I've just started playing with chisels, have not worked with plane irons yet. First go, I've found just what you'll have found. It is very quick to a sharp long lasting edge. I have not tested extensively but after chopping some 1" Beech for 10 or so chops I could see no damage under a 10X loupe. BTW, this has got me off my butt and I ordered a microscope to get a better look.

    Yeah, I just received a new JNAT last week. Oh well, it sure is pretty.

    ken

  12. #27
    My microscope gave me a new level of understanding about sharpening and how edges get damaged. And it was only $75 for that education. I think you'll find your microscope to be enlightening as well.

    Well, you can still use your Jnats to put a nice hazy kasumi finish on your tools.

  13. #28
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    Dec 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Hughes View Post
    I donít agree with the buffer on a simple straight. The shape is too important the last thing you want is what a buffer delivers.
    I had similar doubts, hearing about this.

    I was taught to freehand hone convex bevels on chisels and plane irons. This approach saves a few steps.
    It seems to work. The time savings are considerable.

    I can't manage the same results on plane irons as chisels but I have an example from the source of this idea - I know it is possible.

    I think it might bridge the chasm for those starting out, but users who already have sharp tools might not want to "retrace their steps".

  14. #29
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    Excellent video, Winston! Anyone have a link to a good microscope? I'm looking for something better than my 10x loupe.

  15. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Calver View Post
    Anyone have a link to a good microscope? I'm looking for something better than my 10x loupe.
    This is the one I have: https://www.amazon.com/AmScope-M150C.../dp/B00AM5XB5O

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