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Thread: Which tool sharpening system?

  1. #1
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    Which tool sharpening system?

    I'm interested in a tool sharpening system that is efficient and provides repeatable sharp edges. It is for plane iron blades, chisels and wood turning tools.
    As a bonus it would be great if it were also useful for knife and scissor sharpening but that is secondary.

    I'm more than willing to spend the money to get the right one. I'm not sure what that is.

    Currently I have the wolverine jigs for an 8" grinder. It is okay but not efficient and at least for me repeatability and ease of use are not its strengths.
    I also have an assortment of japanese water stones as well as diamond stones and leather strops with polishing compound. I have an old Veritas plane and chisel sharpening jig.

    I'm not good at sharpening by hand with any of these. I have gotten the best results for chisels and plane irons using the water stones. But that is a slow, messy and time consuming process. I really want to do woodworking and not spend great deals of time and space sharpening.

    The units I've seen are the following
    • Tormek and it's clones including the Jet, Rikon and Wen wet wheels with accessories.
    • Sorby Proedge
    • Workshop WS300
    • Kodiak Sharpening System


    Sharpening.jpg

    I'm not sure of which direction to go. I can upgrade my grinder and add better wheels and fixtures, buy a sharpening system, add to what I have to achieve it, etc. Maybe there's a great video (I've youtubed and such but never found something that improved my sharpening skills much).

    I really want an efficient repeatable means to sharpen my tools. Your experience and advice on this is very much needed.
    Last edited by Eric Arnsdorff; 04-29-2021 at 6:19 PM.

  2. #2
    I am like you in desiring repeatable sharp edges. For me, the answer for chisels and plane blades is a honing guide and water stones. I have most of the available honing guides and prefer the Lie-Nielsen one. Lathe gouges and carving tools require something different. I sharpen carving gouges freehand on diamond stones. I sharpen lathe tools free hand on the grinder with stock tool rest. I would like to try your Wolverine guide if you would part with it.

  3. #3
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    I just got the the Workshop WS 3000. Very happy with it so far.
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  4. #4
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    Eric, you're only likely to need a grinder after you've worn down an initial primary bevel to the point where your secondary (or tertiary) bevels are taking too big a bite to reach the wire edge. That may take a while. I didn't need my Tormek until after hundreds of hours of using edge tools. I still use it rarely, and only after many sharpening/honing cycles. I use it more for kitchen knives than for chisels and plane irons.

    In the meantime, brace yourself. You're about to hear 29 distinct perfect sharpening systems/methods from 29 experts who will each swear by their systems.

    Since you call for a fast system, I think you have room to improve your use of the waterstones. I find them fast and efficient, once you get the process down. Folks here will not be surprised to hear me once again sing the praises of David Charlesworth's excellent method. You can pick up his DVD through him directly or from Lie-Nielsen. Yes, you need to study the method. Yes, you need to practice the method. That startup time will be an investment. But if you want it to work, you can soon reach a level of skill where you can get back to a blazingly sharp working edge in a five-minute break from the work. Yes, you have to clean up at the end of the session, but all it takes is a sink and a sponge.

    I am frequently perplexed that Charlesworth's method doesn't get the love here at the Creek. It turned me from a hopeless beginner into a skilled sharpener.
    Last edited by Bob Jones 5443; 04-29-2021 at 8:13 PM.

  5. #5
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    I don't have turning tools but for chisels and plane irons I use the Worksharp 3000. Hard to beat the convenience and repeatability. Other methods might give marginally better results but I get a mirror finish and I've also rescued a few badly damaged chisels with it. Previously I was using diamond stones and a General Tools sharpening jig. I struggled to align the tool in the jig to get square edge. With the Worksharp, I can pull it out, sharpen a chisel and put it away in a few minutes with excellent results. I bought it used from a guy who was switching to freehand sharpening, something I wouldn't even try.

  6. #6
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    I started put with a WS3000 and then moved to waterstones and honing guides when I got quality chisels. I strongly suggest that you look at Derek Cohen's setup - www.InTheWoodshop.com. Get a decent set of waterstones, a honing guide, and a grinder and you are in business.

    You will want to end your process with either a stone or strop with a grit of 1 micron or less.
    Last edited by Curt Putnam; 04-29-2021 at 9:05 PM.

  7. #7
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    I use the Tormek plus Shapton pro stones with side sharpening method. I also have a sharp skate guide that I use with my finest Japanese chisels.
    Good Luck
    Aj

  8. #8
    I've got a Tormek 2000 that has served me well for years. It's just been retired in favor of the Veritas mk ii. It's just so much faster and easier to set up. I'm sure the abrasives will prove to be more expensive in the absolute sense, but my time is getting to be more precious to me.

  9. #9
    I have been using the Veritas Mk II system (from Lee Valley). I find it is quick and easy to pull out, set up and use to tune up my chisels and plane irons it is repeatable and fast, though my personal poor performance on hand sharpening introduces significant bias in my assessment.
    Life is too short for dull sandpaper.

  10. #10
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    i use the Worksharp for chisels and carving tools. I have a bench grinder for turning tools. I don't use hand planes(they are evil).

  11. #11
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    OP, the one piece of advice I have for you is to skip any micro bevel, or whatever it's called. Just make an edge, and use it.

    I use 200 DMT and 800, 1200, and 6000 grit water stones, free hand. If I hit sand, I have a 1750 rpm white grinding wheel, free hand. I save the old DMT diamond stones for flattening water stones. I notice if an edge is getting out of square and spend some extra time on the high side.

    Putting a new edge on a blade takes about three minutes.

    To get the angle free hand, rock the blade on the stone to feel the bevel hit flat. It only matters on the coarse stone. On the fine stones, look at the face of the edge once in a while to see what's being cleaned up, and adjust.

  12. #12
    Finally, a topic for which there is only one universally accepted answer.

    Like Bob Jones, I am a David Charlesworth convert, but only after having spent a LOT of time and money on other solutions. I wish I had attended David's Tool Tuning course before I began my sharpening journey, but I don't dwell on the past. A week of one-on-one training with David was money well spent.

    My solution is the Tormek T8 for establishing the primary bevel on my bench chisels and plane irons. I use the Lie-Nielsen honing guide and a set of King water stones for the second and third bevels. I never picked up the free-hand method, and being satisfied with the consistency and ease of setup with the honing guide, I have no desire to go free-hand.

  13. #13
    Honing guide and water stones for chisels and plane irons. Turning gouges and carving tools I defer to others.

  14. #14
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    Eric

    Some power tool users who seek to use some hand tools, such as chisels and a block plane, continue to think about power tools, and only consider power sharpening. If this is you, then consider a Worksharp or Tormek. You will get sharp-ish hand tools, but nothing to rave about.

    For genuinely sharp hand plane and chisel blades, you need to go to hand sharpening. There is a choice of honing guide or freehand. I suggest that you look at the new Veritas side clamp honing guide. It is inexpensive and versatile. With regards sharpening media, get a 400 grit for restoring a primary bevel and, for sharpening, a 1000 grit diamond stone, and a 6000 grit Sigma. Learn to use these. Honing guides excel at secondary bevels. Youtube is your friend for this very basic operation.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kreinhop View Post
    Finally, a topic for which there is only one universally accepted answer.

    Like Bob Jones, I am a David Charlesworth convert, but only after having spent a LOT of time and money on other solutions. I wish I had attended David's Tool Tuning course before I began my sharpening journey, but I don't dwell on the past. A week of one-on-one training with David was money well spent.

    My solution is the Tormek T8 for establishing the primary bevel on my bench chisels and plane irons. I use the Lie-Nielsen honing guide and a set of King water stones for the second and third bevels. I never picked up the free-hand method, and being satisfied with the consistency and ease of setup with the honing guide, I have no desire to go free-hand.

    This is what I do as well. It works well enough. I like this approach because the level of skill required to get sharp tools is low. So I can spend more time working on other aspects of woodworking.

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