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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,
I just finished up the week of sharpen. Every night instead of watching TV before bed I went out into the shop and worked on sharpening the plane irons. I think it worked out pretty good. I got all but on plane iron tuned up. I use sand paper for the sharpening up to 2500 grit. When an iron needs to be touched up what grit should I start with? It wouldn't take long to go through them all, but there also no point in wasting time.

Thanks
 

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I only use sandpaper for rough work. From there I use water stones. If I get a nick in a plane iron or chisel, I'll start with a 250 stone then move to a 1000, 4000 and then finish it with an 8000 for the secondary bevel.
 
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+1 on the water stones. I too only use sandpaper for really rough work. I skip the 4000 grit stone though. 1000 right to 8000 and ready to go. Oh and don't wait for your blades to get so dull that you have to take several days to sharpen them all. I freehand sharpen using a guide only to re-establish a primary bevel when needed, so 4-6 strokes on the 1000 grit, 4-6 strokes on the 8000 and then the ruler trick for the back and right back to work.
 

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It all depends on what you mean by "touch up". If you mean you've been planing a lot in a day and notice that either you are getting tired or the plane is not cutting as easily, then I'll touch up with a few strokes on a strop with green compound. If I think it needs it I'll go down to the 6000 stone and then strop.

I'm kind of like sawdustfactory. I use a guide for sharpening (working on bevel), but I freehand the final "honing".
 

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master sawdust maker
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Just FYI woodcraft has water stones on sale. the 1000/ 6000 grit combo stone is on sale for $29.99. with shipping it cost me like $37.27.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks. I have a combo 1000/6000 waterstone. Just haven't gotten around the learning how to use it. Plus it seems kinda messy with the water all all.
 

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I keep my waterstone in a Rubbermaid container filled with water. That way it's always ready to go - no pre-soaking required. I have to move it into the house for winter, but otherwise it's sitting on a shelf above my bench.

It can be a little messy, but a couple of paper towels to wipe up is all I ever need. The waterstone is much softer than you might think, so be very careful (especially with the 6000) not to gouge the surface with the edge of a blade.

Only other thing to remember is to keep the surface of the stone flat. Move the blade(s) around all parts of the surface when sharpening to lengthen the amount of time between flattening. I usually flatten my stone with some 400x wet/dry paper.
 

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I too keep my water stones in a Rubbermaid container. I set an old towel on my assembly table and then I set a bench hook sized to my stones on that. Keep a spray bottle for keeping the stones wet and a roll of paper towels handy and there's little to clean up after.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The stones are kinda narrow, so do you go at an angle for large irons, like a 7?

What are you alls opinion on hollow bevels? I don't have a grinder but have been thinking about making an investment. Seems like it could save a lot of time.
 

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"Touch-up." Have you looked at the plane edge to judge what it needs, if anything?
1500grit on a stone slab is every bit as good as a 1500 grit waterstone. I can have a new, fresh, flat abrasive surface, any time I like (no soaking, too.)

Judgement: maybe you have to take the blade out of the plane, maybe you don't. Hold the edge up to a very bright light. In my carving shop, that's an 18W/1200lm LED lamp, not some jackarse fluorescent.
If the edge is sharp, in theory, it has zero thickness, in theory, there's nothing there to reflect light back to your eye.
However, if you have hit a sand grain, whatever, a speck of the edge will get folded over. Now you have a flat spot, maybe you saw a scratch in the wood. That flat spot will reflect a spot of light, a real "spark" that's very easy to see.

Starting with something crude, like 320, is like frying eggs with dynamite = yes it will do the job.
I rarely ever have to fix damage with anything bigger than 600 or 800. I expect "carving sharp" which lasts about 30 minutes. 1K then 4K then hone.

Experience will teach you (from spark size) where you have to start to get a smooth edge.
 

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I have a Veritas stone pond and Norton water stones I keep in the pond. It keeps the mess down and the stones ready when I need them. I bought the stones as a kit that included a 220/1000, 4000/8000 and a flattening stone and cases for all three.


This video shows the stone pond in use
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Since the dmt stones were brought up. I inherited a set a few years ago before I knew anything about anything and used honing oil on them. Since, I've learned that oils shouldnt be used on the dmt stones. Any recommendations on removing the oil, or can I just continue to use oil with them?
 

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Since the dmt stones were brought up. I inherited a set a few years ago before I knew anything about anything and used honing oil on them. Since, I've learned that oils shouldnt be used on the dmt stones. Any recommendations on removing the oil, or can I just continue to use oil with them?

I may well be wrong, but since the instructions that came with mine said to rinse them off in water, I'd assume you can wash them off with dishsoap and dry them well to get rid of the oil. After that, just use them dry as usual.
 

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Old Methane Gas Cloud
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If you were to ask 10 woodworkers about sharpening methods you would get about 30 different answers.

So........ Without trying to inflame anyone and I'll discuss a chisel but this discussion can be applied to any keen edge.

Sharpening uses the same concepts as sanding a piece of wood. The coarser grits are used to obtain the desired shape and the finer grits are used to remove the scratch marks from the coarser grits.

Think of a piece of corrugated cardboard or the cardboard box that your table saw came in. If you were to peal off one of the outside layers of the cardboard what is visible are the ridges of the cardboard. Keep in mind those ridges. The ridges are similar to the "Scratch Marks" that we put into metal when we sharpen. The only difference is the depth of the scratch marks. The higher the grit number, the smaller the scratch marks.

The scratch marks of sharpening should be perpendicular to the keen edge of the chisel. If the scratch marks are parallel to the keen edge, there is a tendency for that last bit of the keen edge break off during use and dulling the keen edge. (We're talking measurements of micro meters that break off.)

The first thing about sharpening is flattening the back as it is called. The flattening process is really "removing the scratch marks" of manufacturing. Normally you only do this once and only for the first 25 or 30 mm of the chisel. The finest grit used on the back should be the finest grit used on the bevel. I usually start with 100 grit and progress through about 800 grit using wet or dry (silicone carbide) paper glued to a flat surface. I'll use paint thinner or mineral spirits as a lubricant to float the metal out of the paper. You can do this step dry but you'll use more paper.

The next step is water stones, 800, 1000, 2000, 8000 grits. And finally the back is flat with the minimum of scratch marks.

The bevel is then shaped to the desired angle using approximately the same process and up to about 400 grit paper. At this point your method may differ from mine. How? (Flat grinding, dry grinding, hollow grinding, wet grinding, sand paper, diamond paste, diamond plates and whatever) Bevel shape? (Hollow, hollow with a flat, dual or micro bevel and some that I've never heard of)

Typically I will use a wet wheel to put a hollow grind on the chisel. This is a two step process where the wheel is "graded" to be less abrasive for the second step. A leather wheel and honing compound may follow. My preference is skip the leather and go to water stones.

Rest the point and heel of the chisel on the water stone. Draw the chisel toward you 3 or 4 strokes. Then proceed to the next level of grit. The next grit will remove the wire edge formed by the higher grit. Again 3 or 4 strokes. When you finish the finest grit, a single stroke on the back of the chisel should remove any wire edge that remains.

When you look at the bevel you'll see two shiny lines across the chisel, one at the tip and the other at the heel. Some will call this a "Micro bevel" but the angle at the tip is the same as the entire bevel angle. What has happened is that hollow grinding has left two contact points when dragging the bevel across the water stones.

As the chisel gets dull during use there are two options. The first is to use the leather wheel and the second is to use the water stones. Think of using the chisel for 15 minutes or so and then either the leather wheel or water stones. I'll use the leather wheel for most of the day and then the water stones at the end of the day.

The two shiny lines are a very good usage indicator. As the chisel is dragged across the water stones, eventually the shiny lines meet or join. This is usually the time to go back to the wet wheel.

Is this the only method to sharpen a chisel? Of course not. This is the method that works for me. Will this method work for you? You won't know until you try.
 

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I guess I'm old school... when an edge is nicked or the hollow is flat from honing, I go to the grinding wheel and renew it. Then soft & hard Arkensas stones with oil. Touchup is with the hard stone.

This has worked for me for 30 years.

But as Rich said, "ask 10 woodworkers..."
 
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