Question about using a wet/oil stone - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 09-16-2020, 05:50 AM Thread Starter
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Question about using a wet/oil stone

I've never been able to sharpen a knife or hand plane blades where they are scary sharp. For those that have the sharping mastered, when using a stone is the cutting done pushing the blade forward or dragging it back wards?
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post #2 of 5 Old 09-16-2020, 07:06 AM
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Are you sharpening freehand or using a jig?

I sharpen freehand and go both ways. I hold the iron or chisel skewed at a bout a 30 angle and sharpen on push and pull. I can maintain the angle better this way, and thereby reduces the tendency to dig into the stone.

If you’re using a jig, not an issue.

The only except is narrow chisels I do pull only as I can’t hold them accurately enough to avoid digging into the stone.

The real key to honing is don’t advance to the next grit until you feel a burr.

Sharpening is one of those ww’ing subjects where the only right answer is “it’s sharp enough”.

That said there are basic principles like the burr.

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post #3 of 5 Old 09-16-2020, 07:47 AM
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I sharpen knives freehand and go backward. For my chisels I use a fixture and sharpen into the blade. With knives I often use a leather strop after the stone but rarely do I use that with my chisels.



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post #4 of 5 Old 09-16-2020, 09:07 AM
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It doesn't matter which way the blade moves over the stone or if you hold the blade and move the stone over the blade. On chisels I normally hold the chisel and move the stone back and forth over the edge. Sharpening is a matter of polishing an edge. Like if you wanted wood to be sanded really good you start with rough sandpaper and then progressively change to finer and finer paper. The same is true with steel. You start with a coarse stone to get the worst off and then change to finer and finer stones until you polish all of the scratches from the blade. Now with sharpening it isn't completely that simple. You have to be reasonably certain you hold the blade against the stone at the same angle throughout the process. If you change all different angles you end up dulling the blade while polishing. The stones you use can also make a difference. I've never used the synthetic diamond stones so I won't comment on those. I only use natural Arkansas stones. I start with a coarse stone that looks sort of like granite and then proceed with a medium stone. Mine someone gave to me and I don't know what it is or where it came from. Then I use a white stone which is a fine stone. Then I polish the edge with a hard black stone which is extra fine. Once I get the edge right I strop it on a piece of leather loaded down with jeweler's rouge. Now through the process you can check the edge. There is a burr on the edge of the metal you can feel by running the end of your fingernail over the edge. You have to be sure by the time you end all of the burrs are gone because a burr can push into the edge of the blade damaging it to where you have to start over.

If you use natural stones never use oil. Use water and store them in water 24/7. What metal get embedded in the stone is rusted away in the water. My stones are more than 40 years old and still work like new.
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post #5 of 5 Old 09-16-2020, 11:33 AM
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I wonder whether sharpening woodworking blades is like religion? We have our individual beliefs, but common basic principles. I believe that the single most important things in sharpening chisel and hand plane blades are:

* Flatten the back carefully.
* Set the bevel angle consistently and precisely. It must be the same - exactly where you want it every time. Some people prefer micro-bevels, others prefer single, full-face bevels. I won't argue for one or the other, as long as you can set your desired bevel angle consistently every time. That's the challenge!

For chisels and hand plane blades, I use a jig, diamond stones, Japanese water stones, and a leather strop.

With the diamond stones, I go back and forth. With the Japanese water stones and the leather strop, I go backwards only, pulling the blade away from the sharp edge. Otherwise, the sharp edge of the blade will gouge and dig into the water stone or leather.

For knives and turning tools, I use other, completely different methods:

I renew the edge on the kitchen knives using the steel that came with them. I hold the steel in my left hand and angle the knife edge by sight. When I need to sharpen the kitchen knives, I use ceramic "crock sticks" that form a "V" in a small wood holder. I use the crock sticks as little as possible, only when truly needed, so that the knives last a lifetime. They are the common German-made, over-hyped, over-priced, "hard steel", consumer grade kitchen knives; good enough for our level of cooking skills. (My parents and my in-laws both ground-down and killed their kitchen knives by using electric knife sharpeners. The original blades are hardly recognizable. They didn't know any better.)

I hand-sharpen pocket knives on a set of Arkansas stones, using honing oil. I "eyeball" the honing angle. It works.

I sharpen the woodturning tools using a Grizzly wet grinder and Tormek jigs. It works well enough, but I would not recommend it to others, and I would buy different equipment if I had to start over.
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