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Discussion Starter #1
I have the Wolverine Lathe jigs for my 8" grinder with a 180 CBN wheel. I also have the jig that sharpens chisels and plane irons (see pic below). The CBN wheel leaves a pretty nice finish ands more than adequate for lathe tools, but for chisels and planes, I'd like to get a mirror finish. I was thinking of adding a 8" leather stropping wheel. Is this a workable idea?


424754
 

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You're asking for a polished mirror finish. I'll assume you get edges as sharp as you need already.
Certainly. Use some honing compound on the leather wheel if you need to.
Autosol, Chromium Oxide green, Aluminum Oxide white.
And GO EASY. Such fine, sub-micron abrasives can raise the friction heating very quickly at edges.
 

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I replaced the one grinding wheel on my variable speed grinder with a stack of cotton wheels for use with the compound sticks. I completely filled the shaft with cotton wheels and ended up with a 2" wide wheel.
 

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I prefer to hand sharpen chisels and planes with a diamond plates and a veritas jig. For a final mirror finish I do a few passes on a 6000 grit plate. Once you get the face and edge you want it only takes a few minutes to touch it up. People have asked me to fix their chisels that they sharpened, I decline because I know it takes a lot of work to fix the wrong angle on the entire face by hand.
 

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I prefer to hand sharpen chisels and planes with a diamond plates and a veritas jig. For a final mirror finish I do a few passes on a 6000 grit plate. Once you get the face and edge you want it only takes a few minutes to touch it up. People have asked me to fix their chisels that they sharpened, I decline because I know it takes a lot of work to fix the wrong angle on the entire face by hand.
Can you be specific? How much time does it take for you to "fix' the wrong angle of an entire chisel face by hand on diamond stones? Say, with a 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch or 1 inch chisel?

I am trying to gauge my own work, and it would be helpful to know what it takes others to do the same. Do you have a sense that you can wear out your diamond stones doing that?
 

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I am happy for you fellows who can sharpen a blade, knife or iron freehand, that is one thing in all my years I have yet to master. I have tried repeatedly with no luck, it is either a guide or it isn't sharp enough for me. I have leather and hard felt wheels as well as a couple of hand strops. I can strop freehand with good results.

Carving knives on the other hand I can sharpen well freehand. My carving knives (not gouges) are of a very steep angle. I don't use soft wheels as they will roll the edge of the blade or iron and I always keep my finger right at the edge of the blade when sharpening, that way if it is too hot for my finger, it is too hot for the blade.
 

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Essentially you are rough grinding a hollow bevel. You need to take the honing much further from there. For me 8000 grit is the minimum (16K on plane irons). You can’t get there without stones. The exception might be a Tormek or Worksharp,

A leather strop is not going to make up for an inadequately honed edge.

I also leaned to sharpen freehand and never looked back. If a damaged edge needs fixing I go to the grinder, but for normal re-hones, it’s a 2 minute process.

My thinking is it’s just another skill we have to learn in ww’ing.
 

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I hone molding knives on leather faced wheels charged with Clover Compound. These are made in pairs and sometimes left/right matched sets, so hand guiding them isn't accurate enough. The tool rest transfers from the grinder to the honing setup. I grind with an 80 grit wheel, and I've found that really fine polishing abrasives like Tripoli or rouge aren't aggressive enough to take out the grinding scratches. I think this is 600 grit Clover Compound. There is a bullnose wheel on the left for concave edges and a straight wheel on the right for convex edges.
424803


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It's hard to compare machine knives with hand tools edges. I much prefer plane irons sharpened freehand on Arkansas stones.
 

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Can you be specific? How much time does it take for you to "fix' the wrong angle of an entire chisel face by hand on diamond stones? Say, with a 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch or 1 inch chisel?

I am trying to gauge my own work, and it would be helpful to know what it takes others to do the same. Do you have a sense that you can wear out your diamond stones doing that?
That is hard to say if it is really bad I may start with 80 grit wet/dry sheets and then to 100 grit to remove more material faster as I can take longer strokes, width doesn't really matter much then. Once the face is dressed I then go to the diamonds 300 grit and on up to remove the scratches. Never really timed it maybe an hour on a bad one.
 

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That is hard to say if it is really bad I may start with 80 grit wet/dry sheets and then to 100 grit to remove more material faster as I can take longer strokes, width doesn't really matter much then. Once the face is dressed I then go to the diamonds 300 grit and on up to remove the scratches. Never really timed it maybe an hour on a bad one.
That's very helpful. I have spent many hours each on multiple chisels. Obviously I am not doing something right. I will give the sandpaper a try. Thanks!
 

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Essentially you are rough grinding a hollow bevel. You need to take the honing much further from there. For me 8000 grit is the minimum (16K on plane irons). You can’t get there without stones. The exception might be a Tormek or Worksharp,

A leather strop is not going to make up for an inadequately honed edge.

I also leaned to sharpen freehand and never looked back. If a damaged edge needs fixing I go to the grinder, but for normal re-hones, it’s a 2 minute process.

My thinking is it’s just another skill we have to learn in ww’ing.
I just recently learned from watching some of Rob Cosman's Youtube video's that you learn to sharpen by hand to maintain sharp. I don't have super quality hand tools so I generally sharpening planes and chisels before most uses. It only takes a couple of minutes to restore the edge to what I find reasonably/serviceable sharp.

I'm pretty new to the "pride in sharpening" thing, I'm more of a machine woodworker so I have yet to invest or found the need to buy 8000 grit + equipment. Most times, I've found my Stanley chisels sharpened with 3000 grid wet/dry sandpaper on a piece of glass works for me.

I find Rob can be a little annoying (OCD kind of guy) but has tons of knowledge. Sharpening video:
 

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Read the late Leonard Lee's book on sharpening. Available through the company he set up. Lee Valley.
You will find two pages of photographs made with a scanning electron microscope (SEM). There is no better way to examine a metal edge at any magnification.

I'm always carving in very softwoods (red & yellow cedar) so "carving sharp" can't be pounded in with a mallet.

What I learned is that steels are so soft and plastic when thinned to an edge that 1,500 grit (3 micron nominal particle size) is as far as you need to go. Then hone on some sort of a strop with CrOx (0.5 micron) mixed with AlOx (0.25 micron) to finish with a nicely polished surface. I put all my water stones and expensive diamond plates away. I use 3m fine finishing wet&dry silicon carbide sandpapers. The strop is an office file card with honing compound scribbled on it.
For my carving adzes, I use a tennis ball as a mandrel.

Don't forget to always paint the bevel with black felt marker to follow your progress.
 

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That's very helpful. I have spent many hours each on multiple chisels. Obviously I am not doing something right. I will give the sandpaper a try. Thanks!
TA, if I may butt in, hollow grinding is really key to restoring a bevel angle. If not you’re in for quite a session establishing a new primary bevel. If you hollow grind almost to the edge you’ll be done in 10-15 minutes.

But either way you have to be aggressive and not be afraid to start with very coarse grits.

Not a big fan of sandpaper for something like this, but it works for a lot of people.

Cosman has a good system for sharpening but I disagree on going to 30K.
 

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I prefer to hand sharpen chisels and planes with a diamond plates and a veritas jig. For a final mirror finish I do a few passes on a 6000 grit plate. Once you get the face and edge you want it only takes a few minutes to touch it up. People have asked me to fix their chisels that they sharpened, I decline because I know it takes a lot of work to fix the wrong angle on the entire face by hand.
Same here. Veritas jig and DMT Diamond plates.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Part of what lead me to a machine based solution was my frustration with wet stones. I have a set of Norton wet stones - 220, 1000, 4000, 8000. The 220 obviously cuts pretty quickly and the 1000 isn't bad, but the 1000 can take a while to remove the scratches from the 220. The 4000 and 8000 clog like nuts. All of them tend to dish, requiring frequent flattening. Sometimes I use the flattening stone to remove the clogging. I spend more time futzing with the flattening stone than I spend sharpening.

I was trying to see what I can do with what I have before spending on diamond stones or something like a Tormek.

I mostly do machine work, but when I do use a hand tool, it would be really nice for it to work. I've never developed the skill to sharpen by hand.
 

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Part of what lead me to a machine based solution was my frustration with wet stones. I have a set of Norton wet stones - 220, 1000, 4000, 8000. The 220 obviously cuts pretty quickly and the 1000 isn't bad, but the 1000 can take a while to remove the scratches from the 220. The 4000 and 8000 clog like nuts. All of them tend to dish, requiring frequent flattening. Sometimes I use the flattening stone to remove the clogging. I spend more time futzing with the flattening stone than I spend sharpening.

I was trying to see what I can do with what I have before spending on diamond stones or something like a Tormek.

I mostly do machine work, but when I do use a hand tool, it would be really nice for it to work. I've never developed the skill to sharpen by hand.
I'm just beginning to learn "real" sharpening but I gave up on the very fine 4000+ stones in exchange for paper for the reasons you describe. When the paper stops doing it's job I just throw it away.

It's rare for me to have a need to start with 220, if the tool gets that bad it goes on the grinder or belt sander and becomes a truck tool. The most course I start out with is 400 if I have a small nick, then 600, then a 1000 stone and then polish with 2000 then 3000 paper. Since I sharpen often, worst case I start with the 1000 stone. I may one day decide to spend the $$ for an extra fine (8000 grit) diamond since they don't have the issues of the water stones. Also if I buy a new chisel or plane iron, the first thing I started doing is sharpen it. I just recently learned that factory sharp really isn't all that sharp, the tools I buy anyway. I also use a very basic honing guide

I'm not sure this has been made very clear in previous posts. I don't sharpen the entire bevel, only about 1/16" of the leading edge.
 

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Part of what lead me to a machine based solution was my frustration with wet stones. I have a set of Norton wet stones - 220, 1000, 4000, 8000. The 220 obviously cuts pretty quickly and the 1000 isn't bad, but the 1000 can take a while to remove the scratches from the 220. The 4000 and 8000 clog like nuts. All of them tend to dish, requiring frequent flattening. Sometimes I use the flattening stone to remove the clogging. I spend more time futzing with the flattening stone than I spend sharpening.

I was trying to see what I can do with what I have before spending on diamond stones or something like a Tormek.

I mostly do machine work, but when I do use a hand tool, it would be really nice for it to work. I've never developed the skill to sharpen by hand.
I understand the frustration I was there once. With those stones you should be able to get a good edge. It would help to know exactly how you’re doing it.

Before you spend the bucks on a Tormek—-

So much of sharpening is about technique. If I could offer some suggestions, for general honing, you would never start with 220 unless you are correcting something. But if you did, you need to step thru 2-3 grits, not go straight to 1000 (for me that’s 320, 600 then 800). VERY IMPORTANT — do not go to the next grit until you feel a burr.

For touching up an edge, I typically start at 1250. If I can’t get a burr in 20 strokes I back to 800. Then 4000, but more often than not I go straight to 8000, then 12000, 16000 on a plane iron. If I’m lazy and let the edge get bad or it’s damaged I start with 800. I follow everything with 10 strokes on a leather strop. Grits up to 1250 are diamond plates, the rest are water stones.

I hollow grind everything and sharpen to a secondary edge - just the last 32nd or so is actually honed.

On water stones - they really aren’t that big a hassle. I don’t leave the 4, 8, 12 or 16k in water. I think it shortens their life and isn’t necessary. I soak them for a minute or two just prior to using, and remoisten as needed during honing. Also when you move from one grit to the next wipe or rinse the tool to avoid transferring grit to the next stone. I use a 320 diamond plate to flatten the water stones. If you do it after every sharpening it’s 1 minute or less. I use a Nagura stone on the grits above 8000.

Since you don’t sharpen regularly I would use a jig. It’s all about the burr and stepping through the grits.

Also when talking about grits, diamond, water and paper are all different.

Hope this helps.





Also if you sharpen infrequently I recommend you use a jig because freehand is all about muscle memory and practice.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for that descriptive outline. I forgot to mention, I'm using a Veritas MK 2 guide when using just the flat stones. Sounds like I need some intermediate grits.
 
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