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post #1 of 62 Old 03-03-2019, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Tool sharpening

Hi. I am looking for a faster way to sharpen gouges, chisels and knives. I currently hand sharpen with stones and sandpaper. I am getting pretty good with that, but it is time consuming.

I am considering the Tormek 8 or 10 inch sharpener. not cheap, but looks like it will do the job, and last a lifetime.

My question about that tool, is will it sharpen to a very fine edge, or will I still have to finish the tools with sandpaper? My other question is, are any of the other wet stone slow grinders as good?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 62 Old 03-03-2019, 10:02 PM
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A seldom mentioned technique ...

Using a buffing wheel charged with a fine abrasive will polish the edge so that it's very sharp. What I noticed it that it's a hard MDF wheel, not a typical cotton sewn wheel which will round the edge, not sharpen it.


https://www.grizzly.com/products/Gri...g-System/G5937


Other choices;
https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...ool+sharpening

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 62 Old 03-03-2019, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanStuart View Post
Hi. I am looking for a faster way to sharpen gouges, chisels and knives. I currently hand sharpen with stones and sandpaper. I am getting pretty good with that, but it is time consuming.

I am considering the Tormek 8 or 10 inch sharpener. not cheap, but looks like it will do the job, and last a lifetime.

My question about that tool, is will it sharpen to a very fine edge, or will I still have to finish the tools with sandpaper? My other question is, are any of the other wet stone slow grinders as good?

Thanks!
I once considered getting something like that but I don't know if it would speed things up. Sharpening is a process of polishing an edge on the tools so with a unit like that you would constantly be changing wheels from finer and finer wheels. Then different shapes would be needed to take the place of a slip stone so you would need quite a number of wheels to do the job.

I think a device like that would be fine for common carpenters chisels where they just need to be sharp and not razor sharp like what is needed for woodcarving. Myself I will continue to hone chisels by hand. Perhaps if I were to see a machine in operation I might change my mind but I doubt if that will ever happen.
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post #4 of 62 Old 03-03-2019, 11:05 PM
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How many hours per day does your sharpening and honing process require?
I'm honing, freehand, a few licks every 30-45 minutes of carving.
If I have to deal with real damage and abuse, that will take far longer.
I was taught freehand. I do well at it with a lot of decades of practice.


Honestly, if I ever felt that I had enough physical challenges,

I'd buy a machine like a TomZ.
But, all machines are useless to sharpen adzes and crooked knives.
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post #5 of 62 Old 03-04-2019, 12:18 AM
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Tormek is the gold standard, but very expensive. Everything about it is top quality, including durability. If you buy a Tormek, get the T-8. The T-4 has a smaller diameter. It probably makes no difference, but I would prefer the larger diameter, considering the hollow grind.

I did not want to spend the money on a Tormek, so I bought this Grizzly instead:
https://www.grizzly.com/products/Gri...tion/T10010ANV

I bought Tormek jigs to use on it and they work well together. I bought them separately, but here is a kit that has what I bought:
https://www.rockler.com/tormek-woodt...ry-kit-tnt-708

In addition, I also use the following:
SVS-38 (for the roughing gouge)
TT-50
https://www.rockler.com/short-tool-j...pening-systems
https://www.rockler.com/diamond-ston...pening-systems

The Grizzly stone dishes, but the TT-50 flattens it well. When the stone wears out, I will probably replace it with a genuine Tormek stone.

Results are very sharp. Sharp enough that I am not concerned to use the newly sharpened HSS gouges on pen blanks where people say that they could only get the carbide scrapers to work. Those acrylester blanks are like turning cinder block, but the freshly sharpened HSS gouges and skew gave no problems.

Those wet grinders are quick and easy, which makes it so convenient to re-sharpen while turning.
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post #6 of 62 Old 03-04-2019, 02:20 AM
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I have used a Tormek T-7 for about ten years.

Its main advantages are jigs that provide precise control over the sharpening process, whether you are sharpening chisels, plane blades, scissors, knives, axes, turning tools, carving tools and plenty more. With the jigs you can write down your settings and get exact repeatability.

The Tormek really wont save you time over other sharpening methods, I dont consider speed one of its advantages. Ive seen craftsmen get really fine edges in a short time using a variety of methods.

I use the Tormek only periodically for sharpening my tools, most the time I touch up my tools with wet stones, using the Tormek when the hollow ground is gone or when they get really screwed up. I do use the leather stropping wheels to do a quick touch up of the edge.

Hollow grinding is considered desirable by some in that it saves time when you flat hone since you only hone the top of the bevel and the cutting edge, you dont have to sharpen the entire bevel.

The Tormek does ok getting a working edge on a tool. You can mount up to three different leather stropping wheels for final polishing and touching up of your edge. If that doesnt cut it, you can get the Japanese water stone. That will polish your edge to a
mirror finish.




In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.
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post #7 of 62 Old 03-04-2019, 12:04 PM
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Sean,

The Tormek is an excellent sharpening system, and as commented it is expensive, but in my opinion, worth it. I have had a T8 for about a year and a half. I have nearly all the jigs and have used them all, except the planer blade jig (I will, but my planer blades haven't dulled yet). I don't do wood turning, but I've sharpened turning tools for a friend. It works extremely well for the kind of sharpening you describe, as well as a plethora of other edge tools. I got mine initially for sharpening drill bits, which it does fantastically, much better than any other sharpening system I've used and I've used professional machines for it.

There is a user forum (of course) where you could learn a lot more. It is capable of putting as fine an edge as you care to, with the right stones and polishing compounds. I've sharpened knives to almost as sharp as a double-edged razor.

BTW, these wet grinder systems CAN be used to sharpen curved edges, with the right jigs and methods.

Knife Grinders is a commercial knife sharpening business in Australia and is one of the top experts. He sharpens convex and concave and recurved edged tools regularly. Be sure to watch some of his videos (links at the bottoms of these pages, and others on his site). I have not found where anyone is sharpening adzes, however.

Rick

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post #8 of 62 Old 03-04-2019, 01:29 PM
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I assemble and sharpen my wood carving adzes. I use a tennis ball as a mandrel.
My edges are "carving sharp" for clean cuts in soft conifer woods (red & yellow cedars).
I buy the blades from Kestrel Tool in the Pacific Northwest and do all the wood work myself.
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post #9 of 62 Old 03-04-2019, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanStuart View Post
..I am looking for a faster way to sharpen gouges, chisels and knives...I am considering the Tormek 8 or 10 inch sharpener...My question about that tool, is will it sharpen to a very fine edge, or will I still have to finish the tools with sandpaper? My other question is, are any of the other wet stone slow grinders as good
Hi Sean,

As you can see, there full range of perspectives on "sharpening systems" that cover a spectrum of methods (and understanding.) Sharpening and honing methods are strongly held by those that practice them, with each having (often) very strong opinions about a given system. Bottom line is whether a tool gets sharp enough to do the work needed efficiently...

My world tends to revolve around being near the "sharpening station" at least an hour or more (collectively) each and every day that I am working with wood...Today was no exception as I had to restore several very old incannal pattern chisels. Then sharpen and hone several "Tea House Scribing Gouge Chisels (外丸鑿 -Soto maru nomi) a clapboard slick with incanal full rondel bevel, a Japanese Paring chisel, gouge chisels of several kind, and a full range of plane blades...and our timber framing chisels as well...PLUS...several stone carving chisels as well...!!!...Tomorrow will be similar...

We..."owned"...a Tormek and another brand of "wet system" and the Tormek was gotten rid of and the old "wet system" will be repurposed soon for something (?) not sure what yet...Not because they are bad, but because they just don't work fast enough compared to other powered systems...


As you know (or are learning) hand sharpening and honing is quite time consuming to say the least. With practice speed is increased. I had to do a fare amount of it today because certain type of tools demand it. For this I use large diamond plates (4"x10") various ceramic rods and files, different grits of sand paper/Emory cloth/diamond cloth on wood forms made to fit the tool's geometry, and a full range of Japanese water stones and slips both flat and hand shaped to fit tool geometry ranging from 197 down to 0.1 and then honing compounds that run from 0.5 to 0.1.

For the "meat and potato" of the work (90% of it) I need to take a chisel (flat or gouge) form a state of "getting dull" to "shaving sharp" (note: shaving sharp is a spectrum...not an absolute) in less than a minute, and (like today) if tools get chipped...!!!...I have to "joint" the edge and get in back into the game in under 5 to 10 minutes...or less.

I have used and/or owned most of the systems out there (including Tormek.) What I am currently using (last 10 years) the most (*and like the most) is the Work Sharp system of tools with the wide blade attachment. I own several of them and all the glass plates, DMT diamond plates (25 and 9) fitted to them, and then auto body 3M grits from 127 to 6, etc working in concert with 6" and 8" grinders fitted profiled grit stones, with Lee Valley Medium and Hard weight felt honing wheels (various geometries) for specialty sharpening. For knives its a mixed bag, of stones, belts and ceramic rods do the most work...

Standard practice during the day for most work...127 primary bevel of 20...25 working bevel at 25...followed by 9 bevel at 25...hone to 0.5 at 30...done in under 60 seconds usually...This will shave hair, gives an excellent working edge that is durable and only needs a few honings till the next day...


If any of this is helpful...great! If you need me to expand on something, just let me know?

Good Luck!

j

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post #10 of 62 Old 03-05-2019, 03:18 AM
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Nobody talks about it. The fastest way to sharpen a wood working edge is to examine it under a very bright light.
Figure out what is the minimum that needs to be done. Use your judgement = how bad is it?
Waste your time doing a whole lot of otherwise un necessary abrasive work for nothing.


I need a 10X magnifier and a nice LED light to have a good look. The regular 8-10 watt LED lights are just fine.
I'll tell you in 10 seconds which grit to start with. Learn that part. Big time saver.


Step 2, don't go up into a bazillion grits, believing the edge will be better.
Rubbish. And those fine stones don't come cheap.

Look at all the electron microscope pictures of edges in Leonard Lee's book.
That's fact, not opinion. Just facts.

1,500 is the end. Hone that with CrOx/AlOx and you are good to go.
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post #11 of 62 Old 03-05-2019, 11:44 AM
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Brian T, please describe/photo of the tennis ball method you are describing...just curious. And where/how is it applied to your sharpening.

Gary
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post #12 of 62 Old 03-05-2019, 12:33 PM
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There are 3 adzes in my avatar ( soon to be 4). The blue one is a Stubai 7/75 carver's adze that I bought second-hand.
The D adze and the elbow adze both have blades from Kestrel Tool. I did the wood from Kestrel patterns.
The bevels on every one of them is on the inside, not the outside.



To sharpen these things, the blade must be stationary and the abrasive moves.
Next puzzle was to find a short mandrel as you can see the working space is quite confined.
Of course, I could cut all the whipping, sharpen and hone the blade and rebuild the tool.
I don't feel like it.
I bought a can of cheap tennis balls. I wrap 1/4 sheets of 3M sandpapers around one of them.
Yes it wrinkles badly and crumples but that does not appear to matter at all.
Next, I scrubbed a lot of CrOx/AlOx into the fuzz on another ball to be my strop with honing compound.
The tennis balls match the Stubai 7/75 (at least that is the sweep & size, quoted from Stubai).
They rub quite a % of the Kestrel blades. Of course, I monitor that with scribbles with a black felt marker on the steel.
Wear heavy leather gloves. Clumsy but better than risking serious finger damage.
Hope that helps.
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post #13 of 62 Old 03-05-2019, 12:54 PM
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Brian T, How is the mandrel attached, the tennis balls I've seen are hollow.

Gary
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post #14 of 62 Old 03-05-2019, 01:33 PM
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I just hold them in my hand and sweep them out and across the bevel with a wrist action.
The back side gets a few wipes but no serious abrasive work ever.

So far, I have not done any serious damage to any of the edges. Clean wood is clean living, I guess!
I would not hesitate to cut a blade off (dry hafted) if there was big work to be done.
The tarred cord comes on 1,000'+ spools for about $10.00 each.
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post #15 of 62 Old 03-05-2019, 01:48 PM
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Brian T, I misunderstood. I thought you somehow attached the ball to a mandrill to attach to a drill. I understand now. Is CrOx/AlOx the green wax stick...used for lapping? Or is that something different?

Gary
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post #16 of 62 Old 03-05-2019, 02:43 PM
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The CrOx/AlOx compound stick is what I use for the final honing stage.
The wax wrecked a good leather strop by softening it.
Now, I use any old sort of box card/file folder and scribble the honing compound all over it.
No, it does not need to be uniform. No, slight lumpiness has no effect. No, no need to glue it down.

Maybe other people will claim differently.



I do have strops made up with denim cloth and straight AlOx but they don't do Pac NW tools at all.
I know the tennis ball idea sounds stupid but I can't think of another shape to do the adze blades.
They do work rather well for my needs.

I use dowels, old chainsaw files and pieces of pipe as mandrels to freehand sharpen and hone the crooked knives.
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post #17 of 62 Old 03-05-2019, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
...don't go up into a bazillion grits, believing the edge will be better.
Rubbish. And those fine stones don't come cheap...
Hi Brian,

We seem to have very similar philosophies to grits in the "day to day" applications of sharpening...

For the brunt of work I do..."day to day"...its just a primary bevel angle (which can very depending on wood and tool) set @ 197 ...then the secondary bevels at 25...6...0.5...Very quick sharpening/honing and I'm done and back to work cutting!!!

I presume you are mainly speaking of sharpening for the kind of carving your doing within your described method? What acceptations to this sharpening approach have you found in regards to grit sequence choice?

Have you done any sharpening with Japanese plane blades and the supper keen planning finish they go with? Outside the carving you do, have you looked at some of the other carving (Japanese as an example) that also seems to demand a much keener edge and attention to detail in edge geometry?

Have you ever used any of the supper fine waterstones @ 0.1 for plane blades and fine carving edges or diamond sprays (and related) that go to 0.025? Seems extreme, but there are applications for some "hair whittlers" (aka planes the surface of a hair like wood...) even in some woodworking tools and techniques.

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post #18 of 62 Old 03-05-2019, 08:21 PM
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The Perfect Edge by Ron Hock

Hi all,

I found it (finally...!!??)

Here is a link to: ***Link deleted due to copyright (Moderator)


Ron is a colleague and great fellow in general...

This PDF is a great "go to" document for experienced and novice alike that may want a good condensed document on sharpening and related info...and its "FREE!!"
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Stephen Covey:"Seek to understand, before seeking to be understood..."

Last edited by BigJim; 03-10-2019 at 08:54 PM.
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post #19 of 62 Old 03-05-2019, 09:50 PM
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I take my advice from the scanning electron microscope pictures of finished(?) steel edges. No opinions, just fact.
I don't see anybody else ever putting up SEM pictures to back up their opinions. Steels cannot be sharpened to perfect edges.
The diamond edge that I used for 4 years cost $1,500 per millimeter of edge. THAT is an edge. I had a 5mm knife.



I use very few straight edges. A couple of pairs of 1/2" skews for formline carving. Two good spokeshaves for spokes and handles.
Even my drawknife isn't really straight. Everything else has a sweep needing a different approach.


Using a 10X magnifier under a good LED light, I look for the actinic reflections caused by folded edges.
I guess it's just experience then , to decide which grit to begin with. 600? 800? Put-it-off-until-tomorrow?
1,000 then 1,200 then 1,500 then hone with CrOx/AlOx. A new 454g/1lb bar came in today's mail.


I have new adze and crooked knife blades. I should ducument their finishing and hafting.
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Last edited by Brian T; 03-05-2019 at 09:52 PM.
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post #20 of 62 Old 03-05-2019, 09:55 PM
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For those of us that don't have a microscope all you have to do is run the edge of you fingernail across the edge. If there is any burr on the edge you will be able to feel it.
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