Razor Sharp system - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 01-10-2019, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Razor Sharp system

Any actual users here? I’ve seen the YouTube videos, but they don’t show ‘before and after’ pictures. Of course, Grizzly thinks it’s great,
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post #2 of 24 Old 01-11-2019, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Onefreetexan View Post
Any actual users here? I’ve seen the YouTube videos, but they don’t show ‘before and after’ pictures. Of course, Grizzly thinks it’s great,
Got a link to it?

http://www.diychatroom.com/
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post #3 of 24 Old 01-11-2019, 01:18 AM
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Is this a new name for sharpening edges? A rehash of "Scary Sharp?"

"Razor Sharp" is sadly inadequate if you plan to carve soft woods.
Most of them are like over-ripe tomatoes.


Get a copy of Leonard Lee's book = "The Complete Guide to Sharpening."
He was the Grand Old Man of Lee Valley Tools.
You will read and see electron microscope pictures of sharpened edges.
They put paid to the mythology of 8,000 grit being useful.
1,500 grit, hone and you are done.
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post #4 of 24 Old 01-11-2019, 01:39 AM
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Hello OneFreeTexan,

Without getting into it too deeply...When I first saw this just a few years ago all I thought was "one more gimmick."

It's nothing more than a honing or stropping system...A fundamental principle of the end of any sharpening operation that is aimed at .5µ or finer edge...You can achieve it a number of ways...manually or with power. Lee-valley (et al) sells wheels as do a number of other folks. Some of us make our own out of leather and or mix and match systems to get what we need for in canel, out canel and related carving tools...

Hope that helped...?
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post #5 of 24 Old 01-11-2019, 02:07 AM
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Here's the link I found

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Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
Got a link to it?

This is what Grizzly has:
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Griz...g-System/G5937

It is clearly a honing or stropping wheel used with an abrasive to "charge" the felt. It will only "polish" an already sharpened blade.
This is a sharpening machine:
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Griz...rpener/T10097A


For $20.00 more:
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Griz...tion/T10010ANV





There are hand methods and machines that will sharpen a blade:

https://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Trade...ke_razors.html


and this comprehensive article:
https://www.rockler.com/sorting-sharpening-systems

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 #6 of 24 Old 01-11-2019, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you Jay, and Woodnthings,,,,,lots of information there,,,,I need to study more,, I have three different types to sharpen,,,,my wife’s kitchen knifes,,,,,my turning chisels,,, and a whole bunch of pocket and hunting knives...

I want to be able to get a ‘razor’ edge on everything,,,,,,
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post #7 of 24 Old 01-11-2019, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
This is what Grizzly has:
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Griz...g-System/G5937

It is clearly a honing or stropping wheel used with an abrasive to "charge" the felt. It will only "polish" an already sharpened blade.
This is a sharpening machine:
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Griz...rpener/T10097A


For $20.00 more:
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Griz...tion/T10010ANV





There are hand methods and machines that will sharpen a blade:

https://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Trade...ke_razors.html


and this comprehensive article:
https://www.rockler.com/sorting-sharpening-systems
Thanks for the links Bill, really good information.

I have two hard felt wheels for polishing then I go to my leather strop for the final finish. I have jewelers rouge on one side of the leather paddle and tooth paste on the other side. Tooth paste is 8,000 grit and does a great job of finishing. It is kinda tricky to get the tooth paste dry and usable though.

I also have diamond plates and water stones which I use to sharpen and hone with. I have the scary sharp set up and it does work really well.

The hard felt wheels are really good, but, a fast turning wheel can over heat the edge of a knife before you know it. If the edge of the tool changes color, you just messed that edge up and will have to retemper to get it back to hold an edge again.

Brian T is also a member of Woodcarvers Illustrated as I am. There is a member there who makes honing machines out of the old neck massaging machines. These machines turn really slow and do a fantastic job of honing/polishing an edge without any chance of over heating. Brian knows who the fellow is but his name escapes me right now. I made one of the machines and use it at times.

I am a tool nut and love trying different things and different tools, so I am surely not saying all that I have is necessary to get a almost perfect edge. These are just methods I have tried and worked for me and can't really recommend one method over another than be careful with fast turning machines that can over heat an edge. I certainly don't know all there is to know about true sharpening/polishing.

But like Brian T said, razor sharp isn't really good enough for carving soft wood, the tool really needs to be sharper. Turning gouges don't need to be extremely sharp, from what I have heard, but not sure about that.

Sorry about the book length post.
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post #8 of 24 Old 01-11-2019, 04:35 PM
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Sources?

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Is this a new name for sharpening edges? A rehash of "Scary Sharp?"

"Razor Sharp" is sadly inadequate if you plan to carve soft woods.
Most of them are like over-ripe tomatoes.


Get a copy of Leonard Lee's book = "The Complete Guide to Sharpening."
He was the Grand Old Man of Lee Valley Tools.
You will read and see electron microscope pictures of sharpened edges.
They put paid to the mythology of 8,000 grit being useful.
1,500 grit, hone and you are done.
A number of us are having great results with Scary Sharp or some version of it, in all manner of woods. So I wonder if you could say more about your experience.

I got, and started digging into, a copy of Lee's book. Thanks for the tip- what an amazing resource. However I couldn't tie your comments to the book.

On another topic, but related, There is a toolmaker in the UK, a one man operation, who makes a gem of a honing guide and has a fascinating website-

http://richardkell.co.uk/intro.html

If only there were more toolmakers like Richard.
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post #9 of 24 Old 01-11-2019, 06:36 PM
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Sharpening a Chisel or Lost in the Desert

With apologies to Johnny Carson.

If you ever get lost in the desert just take out your sharpening system, set it up and loudly announce that you are going to demonstrate the correct procedure to sharpen a chisel.

Suddenly a crowd of woodworkers will show up:
42% will tell you that you are doing it wrong
36% will tell you that their system is better
19% will tell you that chisels can only be sharpened by following specification x
2% are there to learn something
1% will offer sympathy and lead you out of the desert.

Joking aside, there are a few points to remember.
If there are three dimples in the steel of the chisel near the handle, it means that a Rockwell hardness test was performed. These won't be on every chisel of the brand but it means that the brand cares about quality of the steel.
The angle of the chisel bevel from the manufacturer is probably the angle that the manufacturer intended the chisel to be used.
The more acute the angle of the bevel the sharper the chisel HOWEVER the quicker the chisel will dull from use.

Think of corrugated cardboard. Cut it on an angle so that you can look into the corrugations. That is what your sharpened chisel is going to look, only much finer in scale. The point is that the higher number of the grit of the stone, the finer the space between the grooves. The finer this space between the grooves the better the chisel cuts.

The reason that the back of the chisel is flattened is so that the bevel edge straight across the entire bevel.

All grooves from sharpening should be perpendicular to the bevel and keen edge. If the groove is parallel to the keen edge it will break off and the chisel will dull quicker.

OH! Thank you! Some kind woodworker is now leading me out of the desert.

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post #10 of 24 Old 01-11-2019, 08:30 PM
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Hello Acient Termite,

I agreed (and laughed loudly) at your opening comments. Sharpening is a very personal and selective process for most...and more so the longer you do the crafts that require "something" to be sharp...

I do have to challenge your perspective on some points as being perhaps more opinion than any form of actuality...



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...If there are three dimples in the steel of the chisel near the handle, it means that a Rockwell hardness test was performed. These won't be on every chisel of the brand but it means that the brand cares about quality of the steel ...
I agree that "dimples" represent a test, but it is not always Rockwell and it actually seldom shows in my experience.

I would also suggest that none of the literally "world class" Edge Smiths that I know of do any testing on there chisels at all. They may "sample" but after decades of making thousands of chisels they need not test to know they are getting a n excellent chisel...Be it Jeske, Barr, Neilsen or any number of Japanese smiths I know and have chisels from...

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Originally Posted by NoThankyou View Post
..The angle of the chisel bevel from the manufacturer is probably the angle that the manufacturer intended the chisel to be used. ...
Sorry, that simple is not even close to accurate...???!!!

If a Master Smith is sending a chisel to me or one my collegues, they will often ask if we even want the chisel ground at all or which bevel (and micro) we want on it to begin with...

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Originally Posted by NoThankyou View Post
..The reason that the back of the chisel is flattened is so that the bevel edge straight across the entire bevel...
I might be misunderstanding this one...Not quite sure of what you are meaning here.

I can share that not all chisels have a perfectly flat "back" or and some (Japanese) are hollowed with a Sen (metal drawknife). Many Slicks have a slight curve and are not fully flat at all...

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Originally Posted by NoThankyou View Post
...All grooves from sharpening should be perpendicular to the bevel and keen edge. If the groove is parallel to the keen edge it will break off and the chisel will dull quicker...
Again, sorry...not true at all...

I would even go further to suggest in many a Temple Masters hand would be a chisel with exactly the opposite of what you just wrote. So, at best, this is only true in context and not an "always" best practice. It depends on the steel, the application and the style of work one is performing...as well as...the given modality of sharpening and honing a craftsperson is given to within there practice...
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post #11 of 24 Old 01-11-2019, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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I’m getting confused here,,, I have always been taught that turning chisels need to be very sharp///. I have been sharpening my wife’s knives on a very slow turning wheel,,, it is a Craftsman and was made just for sharpening knives, it has only one stone, water cooled. the stone is about two inches wide and four inches in diameter. It doesn’t get knives sharp enough for either one of us.
So again....1. Her kitchen knives, which are very good quality,, mostly Olsen’s
2. My pocket knives,,,,,folding knives of all types,, mostly over twenty years old.
3. My turning chisels. I have been sending them to a lady to sharpen and she brings them back ‘razor’ sharp, which is good.
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post #12 of 24 Old 01-11-2019, 10:07 PM
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sharp is relative ....

Kitchen knives have a much sharper edge angle than a plane blade, so the process is different. I have a 4 side diamond stone that sits right on my counter top above the knife rack and drawer and I will touch up the edges on the paring knives every week or so OR if I find one that won't cut my apple. They are typically made from pretty good steel so that will take and edge but not keep it all that long.



I only use a belt grinder/sander to sharpen an edge that's too far gone for the touch up stone. Belts run cooler than wheels and with years of practice, I can get the proper angle on both sides of a knife or on the bevel side of a plane or chisel. I can do axes, mower blades, hammer faces, screwdrivers which need a squared edge, crow bars and all sorts of edged tools and weapons. I change the belts from coarse to fine if necessary. I'd be lost without it. Dipping the tool in water to cool it is still needed.



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post #13 of 24 Old 01-12-2019, 12:42 AM
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Laughing, really laughing. . . .

Jay, I thought that you would be the one to lead me out of the desert. LOL
Obviously, if your method of sharpening works for you, I am not one to argue. Again, LOL.

I should have clarified by saying bench chisels. Ditto, LOL.

I think that it would be extremely interesting to perform a test with two chisels and a single user cutting mortises. One chisel with the scratch marks parallel to the keen edge and another with the scratch marks perpendicular to the keen edge. Both chisels sharpened properly down to 8000 grit.

All I know is that I spent a full semester learning to sharpen. What I learned is basically what I posted. I also managed to buy a Tormek through the school for about $280. In spite of what I was taught, I do use the strop wheel on the Tormek.

When I am chopping mortises I keep the Tormek on the bench. As the chisel starts to get dull, I'll go to the strop wheel. Generally I can use the strop wheel 8 or 10 times. Then I'll have to do a few strokes across the water stones, 6000 and then 8000. After a dozen or so iterations over the water stones the hollow grind is gone, so it is back to the Tormek to basically start over.

BTW - There are shallow baking sheets that are non stick coated. These baking sheets are about ˝ inch deep. The Tormek is placed in one of these baking sheets. Any drippings from a water cooled stone are left in the sheet. Ones with nonstick a coating don't rust either.

Rich
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post #14 of 24 Old 01-12-2019, 02:00 AM
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...Jay, I thought that you would be the one to lead me out of the desert. LOL
Obviously, if your method of sharpening works for you, I am not one to argue. Again, LOL. ...
Hello Rich,

First let me apologize for not seeing your name at the bottom of your posts. When someone takes the time to create a signature line with their real name, I think the polite thing to do is address them by the name offered. I realy am sorry for missing that...

As you can see from my professional title under my name...I am also a Wilderness Guide, so have actually lead folks out of deserts before...and not just metaphorically...(LMAO!!)

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...I should have clarified by saying bench chisels...
I figured there was more to it than I was taking from it...

I will also presume you are speaking of a certain class or area of "bench chisels," and from a more contemporary American manufacture?

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...I think that it would be extremely interesting to perform a test with two chisels and a single user cutting mortises. One chisel with the scratch marks parallel to the keen edge and another with the scratch marks perpendicular to the keen edge. Both chisels sharpened properly down to 8000 grit...
I would say a very good idea!!!...and it is...however:

their actually (I will see if I can find a link this weekend) has been a number of such examinations and not just hobbyist types, but actual "in lab" testing by manufactures. Alas, all the pertinent studies examining such is mostly in Japanese from metallurgists, and related that work for manufactures of "edged tools" and/or sharpening stone companies. These are, I should say, mostly funded by same but done at Universities for the most part (but not all) as some are done routinely by the companies themselves.

Japanese White Steel (as just one example) within not only butt-bench chisels, but also within the more robust timber framing firmer, slicks, paring, mortise (etc) chisels, behaves more like glass than metal when of a altra fine grain (and grade) hand forged variety. To say it a "brittle metal" would be an understatement...and these are almost always sharpened with the bevel...seldom perpendicular...

Does this lead to a more fragile edge...???

That is a possibility from a parochial perspective. I know that it lends itself to a much finer edge, and what will be found on Katana and surgical instruments (at least those not napped from glass) as well as fine chisels and plane blades...

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoThankyou View Post
...All I know is that I spent a full semester learning to sharpen...
Rich, I can more than respect that you have some knowledge about sharpening...with valid questions about the subject...and...your own views of what you have observed thus far with this most necessary of skill set...

However, perhaps think about what I am sharing...from a very different perspective...and why I might think that what I am sharing may just have some value?

I'm not presenting "theory" of something I learned in a..."full semester"...of some class someplace...

I am pulling my information from:

An upbringing within a family of traditional practicing (and professional) woodcarvers and craftspeople...

A traditional apprenticeship under a group of very old Amish Barnwrights from the age of 13 til 23 when I joined the Marines and got to travel...

Countless hours watching and studying under several cultural groups from Chinese, Korean, to Japanese, Middle Eastern and other master craftspeople, as well as, working (and very old) Edge Smiths both in person and through correspondence...

Countless (at this time) academic papers on the subject from metallurgy to traditional black smithing cultural knowledge within several cultures context...

And...to punctuated it...40 plus years as a working professional Timberwright and woodworker within several craft disciplines...including being a somewhat descent (when I get the time to fire the charcoal) Edge Smith myself...and actually getting paid to sharpen everything from glass surgical instruments on to high end cutlery at the professional (aka paid) level...

So, with respect to what you are sharing...I personally feel that what I might just be trying to share is a wee bit more in-depth in understanding...and...that it could just have some merit and value that a "full semester" on the subject of sharpening didn't reveal???

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Originally Posted by NoThankyou View Post
...When I am chopping mortises I keep the Tormek on the bench. As the chisel starts to get dull, I'll go to the strop wheel. Generally I can use the strop wheel 8 or 10 times...
Your "power sharpening" practices sound valid and seem to serve you well...That is good!!!

However, if you are basing your perspectives on just "power sharping" and from your class, I might suggest (as a teacher myself) that you expand your skills sets with not only other modalities of sharpening, (both power and free hand without jig) but also learn all you can about the plethora of "edge geometries" that can be put to use...when...and what types of tools...from draw-knives to hunting knife on to all the different carving chisels (both wood and stone) and then perhaps something actually challenging like ceramic, and glass edged tools for wood and other applications. The list here of "sharpening skills" (when truly accomplished at it) should included the ability to sharpen anything at a professional level...

Then we can have a seriously deep discussion about technique, modality as well as, mean and material applications within different contexts...

I look forward to that time...

j

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post #15 of 24 Old 01-12-2019, 05:57 PM
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Leonard Lee revealed that steels cannot be sharpened to an edge like flint or ceramic.
I concluded that a final was 1,500 grit then honing was as good a technique as anything.
That is how my comments are tied to all the SEM pictures in the LL book.


Porsche recommends 20 degrees total included bevel angle for their kitchen knives. Works for me.
I have a tool to measure bevel angles on most kinds of edges. Useful thing to be able to replicate for years.



Freehand, I was taught to sharpen and hone crooked knives and also carver's adzes.
Not quite the sort of freehand techniques needed for chisels and plane blades.
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post #16 of 24 Old 01-12-2019, 08:01 PM
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Do you Knapp?

Quote:
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Leonard Lee revealed that steels cannot be sharpened to an edge like flint or ceramic.
I concluded that a final was 1,500 grit then honing was as good a technique as anything.
That is how my comments are tied to all the SEM pictures in the LL book...Porsche recommends 20 degrees total included bevel angle for their kitchen knives...Works for me...I have a tool to measure bevel angles on most kinds of edges. Useful thing to be able to replicate for years...Freehand, I was taught to sharpen and hone crooked knives and also carver's adzes...Not quite the sort of freehand techniques needed for chisels and plane blades.
Hi Brian,

I'm not sure if you know how to "knap?" Your comments reflects that you might...

I agree with your comment about glass, and ceramic to a point...

The edges of glass, flint and ceramic aren't thought of the same way as a metal edge. Ceramic Knives can be sharpened, but again its not in the same context as a metal edge would be dealt with per se. These all take an edge that (for all practicality) can go to a single molecule in width and/or crystal so the methods I use to sharpen them follow accordingly. This is why scrapers, edges and neurosurgical instruments (etc) are made with them. They don't "cut" (per se) but separate tissue and whatever they are cutting at virtually a molecular or cellular level...

I don't disagree at all that most work (not all) can be achieved without going to ridiculous grits of finer and finer µ size. I also don't think (nor practice) always keeping the grit sizes closer together. I will often take a supper course grind (e.g. 120µ) on a hard working edge with steep bevel all the way from this course grit to hone (0.5µ) in a single going. Its a fast method to sharpen and get back to work...and...it can (in good steels) produce a "razor edge" that will shave hair. This alone can illustrate that "razor sharp" is on a spectrum and is relative to the work at hand...

Is there a time for keeping grits (aka µ size) closer together in size and progressively move to finer and finer...with the final being as fine as you can get (0.1 or less µ for me) with very specific geometry???

YES!!! There are many examples when this is not only warranted but absolutely necessary to achieve good work...or even get the job done properly...
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post #17 of 24 Old 01-12-2019, 11:20 PM
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The edges are what surprised me in LL's book. Going beyond 1500 grit didn't add very much.
Honing with CrOx or AlOx or a mix of both leaves a very finely scratched and shredded edge.
Just can't be seen with the plain human eye.
I had been taught that 4,000 and 8,000 were important before honing. Retrograde steps.



With a 10X magnifier and a very bright LED light, I can judge whether to start with 600 or with 800 grit.
I forget the nominal particle sizes but it's measured data from 3M that make the sandpapers.
Then 1,000, then 1,200, then 1500 and stop. Next is honing with CrOx/AlOx as a finish.
The honing step seems to make quite a difference in the "push pressure" for hand work.


This seems a repertoire for sharpening all the steel edges that I use in very soft conifer woods,
western red cedar in particular.
Clearly the nature of the steel and the total included bevel angles shows up very quickly.
Some steels are very soft and others are actually brittle and chip like a ceramic.


I can make 30 degrees just as "sharp" as 15 degrees. However, 30 is a big angle to push wood open in carving.
Even Narex skews come at 25 degrees and that's a lot of effort. I scrub them down to 20 degrees for a huge difference.


I've used diamond knives in a past life. $1,500/mm edge length and the same for sharpening.
For electron microscopy of epoxy-embedded specimens, they hold up really well.

Opthalmic and neurological diamond scalpels are things of beauty. Good for 100 cuts, I'm told.
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post #18 of 24 Old 01-12-2019, 11:56 PM
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...I've used diamond knives in a past life. $1,500/mm edge length and the same for sharpening.
For electron microscopy of epoxy-embedded specimens, they hold up really well.

Opthalmic and neurological diamond scalpels are things of beauty. Good for 100 cuts, I'm told.
Alas...I do miss that world of work...Not often I see those terms used in a sentence these days...!!!...Thanks for that...

I learned Knapping from several folks including a fellow that made surgical instruments. I only helped now and then while I learned, and I still don't consider myself that good at knapping at all. Dr. Callahan was (is) one of the most impressive in the world (to me at least) and really open up some deep understanding to this lithic alchemy...

For the work you do, your system sound spot on and very efficient in application...

I also agree that much beyond 1000 grit (~20µ) the stoke pattern is usually as much a "honing" stroke vs a "sharpening" stroke form for the most part in my experience and practice of use...

Thank's again...

j
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post #19 of 24 Old 01-13-2019, 12:55 AM
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Hello Rich,

Then we can have a seriously deep discussion about technique, modality as well as, mean and material applications within different contexts...

I look forward to that time...

j
Jay, You can call me almost anything except late for dinner. No apologies necessary.

Actually . . . .

After flattening the back to about 8000 and it only has to be done once.
My sharpening system starts with Scary Sharp or wet or dry on glass. Usually to about 600 or 800 grit. Then onto the Tormek to get the angle desired and hollow grind the bevel. The wheel on the Tormek is graded and the hollow grind is completed. The bench chisel then is sharpened using water stones using a heel and toe method. Heel on the stone, rock forward to the toe touching and drag the chisel back away from the keen edge. Three times is usually enough to get a thin wire rolled onto the back of the chisel. Because I'm lazy, the back is placed against the water stone and dragged backward to remove the wire. This is done across the water stones to 8000 grit.

During use, when it becomes necessary to return to the Tormek, the full water stone process is followed.

My instructor wanted the students to go through the full water stone process rather than use the strop wheel of the Tormek as a delaying tactic. I really irritated him after he used one of my chisels as part of his demo and I told him about the Tormek strop. LOL.

As for meeting up???? AWFS in Las Vegas, July 17-19, this year?

Rich
In furniture 1/32" is a Grand Canyon
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post #20 of 24 Old 01-13-2019, 01:44 AM
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So many ways to the top of the mountain...

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Originally Posted by NoThankyou View Post
Jay, You can call me almost anything except late for dinner. No apologies necessary...As for meeting up???? AWFS in Las Vegas, July 17-19, this year?
Hi Rich,

I would never "call you late for dinner"...I'm too dam skinny and huger usually to wait myself, so would want you their early for the conversation and to "feed the worm,"...LMAO!!!

It strikes me the more I learn about sharpening modalities over the decades from actual practical application (my own and others) all the way to scanning electron microscopy of edge development in alloys...just how much we don't know...(and/or relearn)... about this most necessary of skill sets so important to our collective woodworking...

Even in this conversation the "do not" and "does" that one of us "does" and the other would never dream of doing to an edged tool...YET!!...we get to the top of the mountain with edges that would scar many "outsiders and novice" just to look at them let alone use...LOL!!!

In July (alas) I will be deep in stone and saw dust finishing a huge traditional farm house and barn building project in Vermont, and the other building season antics that are pilling up each day...2019 looks (thus far) like a good year, and very busy...

If you ever get wind of something more in the "traditional woodworking world" of that you fancy and might go to, drop me an email please...I would love to meet in person!!!...Please drop me a note anyway, I would love to add you to my contact list of friends I have from this forum any way. Its, collectively a great group!!!

Blessings,

j
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