"Scary sharp" on Melamine? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 07-11-2019, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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"Scary sharp" on Melamine?

So I'm very new to woodworking and consequently even newer to sharpening. I think in starting out the simplicity and frankly the price of using the "scary sharp" sandpaper method really appeals to me. Down the road I can see some high quality stones in my future but for now I can't make the investment. Here's my question, I know that typically one would use a piece of float glass or marble to attach the sandpaper to. I don't currently have either but what I do have is a piece of 3/4" melamine. It's roughly 36" x 18" so I should have plenty of room to attach all the various grits to one side. Also with the laminate coating I figured it should be pretty impervious to any honing fluid. Are there any drawbacks to this that I'm missing? Thanks for the help.
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post #2 of 15 Old 07-11-2019, 09:01 AM
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It might work, OR it might warp?

Before using the Melamine, visit one of these places and ask for a scrap:
https://www.google.com/search?client...Kennesaw%2C+GA


OR here:
https://www.google.com/search?client...10.XsrmNb6QUXA


OR get an 18" marble floor tile from Home Depot, Lowes, Menards etc.:
https://www.google.com/search?client...30.aoNRalgHQbY


If the Melamine is only on one side, it will warp when exposed to water from sharpening. I would also seal the edges with thick pant or caulking. Other places to look are Habitat for Humanity for countertops, glass mirrors, windows, even an electric cooking top or large gridle.
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-11-2019, 09:57 AM
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Go to one of the places (in your town) that makes/installs counter tops. Ask if they will give you/sell cheap a piece of their stone scrap. I think that most places will just give you scrap in the size that you need.


I have never understood the use of the phrase "scary sharp." What is scary about something being sharp? On the contrary, my experience says that the dull tool/knife is more likely to cause an accident than the sharp one.




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post #4 of 15 Old 07-11-2019, 11:08 AM
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The only issue I can see is if you use water on the paper and the melamine gets wet it will swell.


Other than that, I think its ok.


Check with some local granite suppliers. Some of them will sell or give you a sink cut out.
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post #5 of 15 Old 07-11-2019, 12:54 PM
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The other day I went to a local lumber shop and asked about melamine. I wanted a light, waterproof top for my table saw, where I could set down drinks or use liquids, so they won't soak through to rust the cast iron top. According to the guy at the lumber shop, melamine is not waterproof. It feels like plastic to me, but he says it will soak up water and swell. I asked, "It feels like waterproof plastic to me, are you sure?" He said, "Absolutely yes."

I agree with @GeorgeC's suggestion: Go to a countertop store and ask for a scrap piece of granite. That is what I did, and they gave me one. I told them the dimensions of granite that I needed to flatten a #7 hand plane and why I wanted it.

In my opinion, the real trick to sharpening is being able to set the bevel angle you want, perfectly and consistently every time. I use the Veritas Deluxe honing guide set, which is expensive, but nice. Before that, I learned to match the bevel angle with the inexpensive honing guides by pressing the bevel on the flat marble/glass surface, then seeing where the honing guide wheel aligns with the edge of the flat surface. The edge makes it easy to see if the wheel is too high or too low. Take your time and be picky.

I built setting jigs out of flat pieces of wood but they didn't work out. Setting the honing guide with them was not consistent enough for me. I just learned of a different setting technique: Drill a flat-bottom hole to a precise depth in a scrap block and use the hole to set the honing guide. Simple and brilliant!
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post #6 of 15 Old 07-11-2019, 01:45 PM
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i never had a sharp chisel other than factory fresh... until i bought a sharpening jig last year
the jig holds a consistent angle which is really the only thing you need other than an abrasive

i used sandpaper for a while on melamine and recently upgraded to $9 harbor fright diamond plates
i routed a recess into some solid surface scrap i had laying around, works great
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post #7 of 15 Old 07-11-2019, 03:35 PM
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The "Scary-Sharp" name originated on usenet several years ago, it is actually a very informative and entertaining read, I have reproduced the post here with a bit of history:

http://sawdustmaking.com/Chisels/scarysharp.html
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post #8 of 15 Old 07-11-2019, 04:17 PM
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I use a 18x18" porcelain floor tile when wet sanding items.
whether it be sharpening tools or lapping a flat surface on
carburetors. a buck fifty at your Box Store.
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post #9 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 01:27 AM
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Best Solution:
Go to a glass company and spend the $30 or $40 for a piece of 3/8 tempered plate glass about 12 x 18.

Go to a cabinet shop and ask to purchase a sink cut out.
Either granite (better) or Corian.

I'm not going to get into how to sharpen because a very bad joke with Apologies to Johnnie Carson.
(Adapted from 'How to make the perfect Martini.')

There is kit to keep in the trunk or your car to assist you in finding your way home when lost in the desert.
The kit consists of:
A portable work bench
All of your sharpening gear
A battery powered bull horn

When lost in the desert set up the portable work bench and sharpening gear. Take the bull horn and climb up onto the roof of your vehicle announcing that you are about to demonstrate the method to create a perfectly sharp chisel.

Suddenly 100 woodworkers will appear. 50 woodworkers will tell you that you are using the wrong equipment. 40 woodworkers will tell you that you are doing it wrong. 5 woodworkers will tell you that their way is better. 4 woodworkers will offer to use your equipment 'The correct way'. 1 woodworker is there to learn. This one eager to learn woodworker will help you find the way out of the desert. In gratitude you will buy this one woodworker a drink and become life long friends in your pursuit to find the perfect sharpening method.

That dog wasn't very shaggy was it?
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post #10 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 12:00 PM
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Rich is one of the most knowledgeable people here, but I beg to differ on the tempered plate glass.

Some time ago, I went to our local glass shop and bought a leftover piece of 3/8 inch tempered plate glass for sharpening, and for flattening hand plane irons. It did not work out, and I do not use it. Why? It isn't flat. I checked it with a straightedge, and was surprised to see how not flat it was. I felt compelled to test the straightedge to make sure it was straight. It was straight.

If you are looking for glass to use for sharpening, what you want is "float glass", which is very flat, but expensive and not so easy to find. Once I learned about the flatness of granite countertops and the availability of nice-size scrap pieces of granite, I stopped looking at glass as a sharpening solution.
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post #11 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
Some time ago, I went to our local glass shop and bought a leftover piece of 3/8 inch tempered plate glass for sharpening, and for flattening hand plane irons.
Thank you for the compliment.

Funny. . .
I went to a glass shop 10-12 years ago and told them what I wanted the glass for. The guy told me to give him 20-30 minutes. For $20+ tax, he gave me a piece of water/sand cut glass with smoothed edges.

I can't remember the name of the shop but it was in the Tustin/Orange area of Southern California.

I think what happened was, 'this has been lying about for years; it is too small to really use anywhere; there is this guy that can use for other purposes; $20 it is and I'm rid of part of it.

The other students in the class at Cerritos (WT201, a.k.a. Metal working ) thought that $20 was outrageous.
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post #12 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 06:27 PM
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I use the back side of a tombstone.. I got it from a local dealer who had made a mistake on the engraving,,, I built a stand for it, cause it is very heavy,, and it is used for a myriad of tasks, including sharpening.
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post #13 of 15 Old 07-12-2019, 08:03 PM
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Melamine will work, but youll need to find a way to seal the cut edges to prevent moisture intruding and causing swelling. Youll also need to make sure that your piece is actually flat, melamine is less susceptible to warpage than other sheet goods, least the stuff ive used, but it can still be not quite flat and you really do want as flat as possible.

I agree with the recommendations that you look around for something more substantial. Granite cutoffs from a countertop place would be one of my first choice, but again, youll need to make sure its actually flat before use. Personally, id look around for an industrial supplier in your city, give them a call, and ask for the price on a 9x12 grade B surface plate. Will run you about $20-30, and will be dead flat. Itll also last several lifetimes. Something like one of these:
https://www.grizzly.com/products/Gri...No-Ledge/G9649

You say overkill, i say investment. After all, as evidenced by the $20 piece of plate glass the price is pretty competitive, and these are flat out guaranteed to be more than flat enough

I need cheaper hobby
etsy.com/shop/projectepicfail
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post #14 of 15 Old 07-13-2019, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoThankyou View Post
Thank you for the compliment.

Funny. . .
I went to a glass shop 10-12 years ago and told them what I wanted the glass for. The guy told me to give him 20-30 minutes. For $20+ tax, he gave me a piece of water/sand cut glass with smoothed edges.

I can't remember the name of the shop but it was in the Tustin/Orange area of Southern California.

I think what happened was, 'this has been lying about for years; it is too small to really use anywhere; there is this guy that can use for other purposes; $20 it is and I'm rid of part of it.

The other students in the class at Cerritos (WT201, a.k.a. Metal working ) thought that $20 was outrageous.
We have bought our glass from Green's in Garden Grove for too long to remember. I was never sure they understood my explanation of why I wanted the glass for sharpening. They sold me that 3/8 inch piece for around $15. I had already known about float glass, but I thought that a thick piece of regular glass would work out okay. It didn't. I knew I was taking a chance, and it didn't pay off. After that, I learned about granite.

I did not have good success with the kitchen counter retailers, the ones with the small shops and the boards with samples. I did much better with the granite slab yard, who had a piece to give me. The best resource for granite is probably the shops that do the custom shaping, gluing, and cutting for the installers. They always have cutoffs, and it is mostly a waste disposal issue for them. Finding them won't be as easy as the other two.
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post #15 of 15 Old 07-18-2019, 09:24 PM
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I 2nd epicfail's post about a surface plate. They are flat, thick/heavy enough to stay put, available in any size you want, water proof and should last for years. A B grade plate will be accurate to 120 uin across its diagonal. A microinch (Ķin) measurement unit of length or distance, and equal to one millionth of an inch (0.000001 inch).
Good enough for most sharpening. Any place that sells to machinists will have them as well as eBay etc. Used ones that are out of spec for a machine shop are sometimes available & likely perfectly good for sharpening. Just use water to hold your wet & dry paper in place.
I have an 18x24x3" that I use for my metal working as a means of measuring and layout.
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