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Alternatives for sharpening

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Gerard Scanlan

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I have been recently trying to decide how to improve my sharpening. I presently use an oilstone bought from a chinese supermarket for 2 quid (but with water) and a honing guide. I follow this with various grades of wet and dry sand paper glued to mdf 320 through to 880 (it was what I could get at the store). Although I am getting very sharp edges on my chisels and planes I have to resharpen with 15 minutes or so of using a tool which would suggest to me that they are not as sharp as I think they are.

I have looked at scary sharpening, Japanese water stones and diamond stones.
I considered using a combination of a coarse diamond stone and a Japanese water stone (perhaps even a combination stone). I reckoned that the problem with coarse Japanese stones wearing too fast and requiring truing was another factor I could do without but a complete set of good diamond stones is very expensive.
I looked at a Tormek and decided I would rather have a couple of nice chisels and a sharpening system.
Then along came the worksharp that looks like a lot of kit for the money, but that is scary sharpening with a motor.
I reckoned that 100 quid is plenty of money to be spending on sharpening but perhaps I am wrong.
Then today I stumbed across the Gsharp but I cannot find an independent review for it.
Anyone got one? Is it worth considering


Thanks for your input.
 

Harbo

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Sadly this question opens up a can of worms quite frequently on this Forum!
You could try a Search - there's plenty of stuff there?

Personally having tried most methods, I use a Tormek or Norton3X stone for grinding followed by 3M SS papers on plate glass for honing.

Rod
 

Fromey

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Interesting. A while back when I was even more naive than I am now, I bought the Trend "fast track" sharpener which is a similar concept to the "chiselsharpener". Biggest piece of junk eva! Avoid it like the plague. Although the "chiselsharpener" is made of plastic, it actually looks like it might be a better system and certainly more versatile.
 

Gerard Scanlan

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If you need to sharpen a 2 inch plane iron is it a problem that the stone is only 2 inches wide? I currently sharpen at a slight angle on a rubbish 2 inch stone and so the blade protrudes a quarter of an inch on one side at the beginning of the stroke and the same at the otherside at the end of the stroke. Obviously the 2 inch wide stones are a lot cheaper. I was thinking it did not really matter as when you sharpen on a tormek the wheel isn't wide enough either.
Perhaps this is obvious to everyone else reading this post.
Whenever you see a video about sharpening they always have big paving slab size stones on show. So no one ever discusses a poorman's alternative. :ho2
 

Jacob

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Gerard Scanlan":3s7nw18q said:
..... no one ever discusses a poorman's alternative. :ho2
Oh yes we do! Given half a chance we go on and on and on about it. :shock:
2" stone is fine if you dump your honing jig and do it freehand but (45º?) sideways at an angle. It's been done like that for years by almost everybody until jigs became fashionable. Grinding is also possible on a coarse stone but slow. If you buy a machine a belt sander is best value - and you can also use it for sanding.
That's all you need, grinding facility (stone or machine) and a fine (ish) stone for honing.
Trad double sided oil stone is the cheapest option and one stone will last for life. That's probably why they don't feature in many catalogues, e.g. Axminster's, which has 16 densely packed pages of other sharpening stuff which nobody really needs.
 

Gerard Scanlan

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Thanks Jacob,
As far as I can see Rutlands have the best priced oilstones but only the smaller size are double sided.
You are right about the dozens of more expensive alternatives being easier to find than traditional oilstones.
Yes I did mean at a 45 degree angle.
However I have to admit I find it tricky honing without a jig.
 

Jacob

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Gerard Scanlan":1zao1nu9 said:
....
However I have to admit I find it tricky honing without a jig.
Worth persisting - it doesn't take long to get it and virtually all the complexities of modern sharpening are due to the honing jig fashion. It's so much easier without!
Rutlands have a trad stone here This'll do for all the sharpening you will ever need for chisels and planes. 8x2 is the standard size.
 

fluffflinger

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Something you mentioned in your initial post that others seem to have missed is that your edge isn't lasting and your conclusion was that it wasn't sharp to start with.

Well that maybe more to do with the tools you are sharpening, or more correctly the steel your tools/blades are made from. I have always been able to achieve a sharp edge but would say that the life of that sharp edge is more related to the hardness of the steel (as well as the work you are doing) as much as how you sharpen and as the quality of the tools I own improves so does their edge retention.

I've always preferred to spend my money on tools and wood rather than fancy sharpening systems. So if I were you I'd go with Jacobs advice and use an inverted belt sander for grinding your primary bevel only. Use a coarse belt 40grit, moving towards you, this will minimise the chances of over heating the edge. I built a very simple stand and jig to help control the process.

In terms of honing stay with what you are doing (Scary Sharp) just change the mdf for a piece of 10mm float glass (mine cost £15 from a local merchant) and the sand paper for 3m lapping film (Matthew @ Workshop Heaven). Why? The glass is as flat a surface as you can get for a few pounds and the lapping film cuts fast and lasts for ages, plus it's self adhesive. This system gives you the most bang for your buck IMHO. Sorry you will also need a lubricant I use Johnsons Baby Oil, again cheap but effective.

I mainly use a Richard Kell jig for chisels and plane irons but I'm happy to touch up by hand if necessary. Yes the jig was expensive and I'm sure Jacob will tell you totally unnecessary but I like it and most importantly it works very well for me.
 

Gerard Scanlan

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Thanks Richard.

I think I need to get my plane a better blade and a few nice chisels while I am picking up some lapping film.
I have been using the stanley chisels I bought in the late 1980's and a Stanley bailey No. 4 plane I got for Christmas 30 years ago. If the steel is just a tad to soft it could explain why the razor sharp edge is dissappearing so fast.
 

bobbybirds

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If you are getting a course diamond plate, flattening your waterstones is a breeze and takes no time at all.

I like waterstones and I use a Veritas MKII Jig. Works very well an gets me a razor sharp edge every time...

That being said, my one buddy prefers a cheap eclipse style jig. He tunes it up a bit but he gets just as sharp an edge without issue.

Then lastly I have another friend who is a freehand sharpening star! He only ever uses a jig when he is re-establishing a bevel due to whatever reason, but other than that he does everything else freehand. His edges are also second to none.

If I could, I would freehand like my friend does. I tried and tried and tried for the better part of a summer but apparently I am just not wired that way because I just seemed to not get quite as sharp an edge and it honestly takes me longer freehanding than it does with my MKII jig. I just gave up and went back to my old method and I again am happy.

Much respect the freehanders though...
 

Jacob

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Gerard Scanlan":8prbv6kq said:
.... If the steel is just a tad to soft it could explain why the razor sharp edge is dissappearing so fast.
You said "after 15 minutes of use" but that'd be about right for a typical plane if you were working it quite hard for all of the 15 minutes.
If it really is "razor" sharp it will stay that way for even less time. Razor sharp is for barbers not woodworkers.
Harder steel might keep an edge longer but at the cost of slower sharpening and more brittleness; crumbly edges are reported often for A2 steel. "too soft" is a difficult one. It's all a compromise.
I would stick with the tools you have got and some simple sharpening kit and just work at getting it as good as you can.
nb Double sided oil stones have served millions of woodworkers over 100s of years with little complaint.
You will get endless advice about ways to spend money!
 

bugbear

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Jacob":3jnejx0j said:
nb Double sided oil stones have served millions of woodworkers over 100s of years with little complaint.
"100s of years"?

Fascinating as ever - so what date would you put on the first double sided india stone of the type you so frequently recommend?

BugBear
 

Doug B

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bugbear":zkgmya91 said:
Jacob":zkgmya91 said:
nb Double sided oil stones have served millions of woodworkers over 100s of years with little complaint.
"100s of years"?

Fascinating as ever - so what date would you put on the first double sided india stone of the type you so frequently recommend?

BugBear

That`s cheating changing the question so quickly :lol: :lol:

In answer to the first question (no longer there :lol: ) Arkansas had mines in the early 1800s so the best part of 200 years.
 

Jacob

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bugbear":12vnzbv3 said:
Jacob":12vnzbv3 said:
nb Double sided oil stones have served millions of woodworkers over 100s of years with little complaint.
"100s of years"?

Fascinating as ever - so what date would you put on the first double sided india stone of the type you so frequently recommend?

BugBear
Dunno you tell me. A long time whatever it is. My first encounter was about 55 years ago and I don't think they were a novelty even then.
In terms of "man years" of use it must be in the millions.
If you are talking about natural stone, double sided or not, then I suspect they would have been in use since the the Paleolithic era, 2 or more million years ago.

Odd that sharpening has become so difficult just within the last 30 years or so.
 

bugbear

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Jacob":10wy4xdg said:
bugbear":10wy4xdg said:
Jacob":10wy4xdg said:
nb Double sided oil stones have served millions of woodworkers over 100s of years with little complaint.
"100s of years"?

Fascinating as ever - so what date would you put on the first double sided india stone of the type you so frequently recommend?

BugBear
Dunno you tell me. A long time whatever it is. My first encounter was about 55 years ago and I don't think they were a novelty even then.
In terms of "man years" of use it must be in the millions.
If you are talking about natural stone, double sided or not, then I suspect they would have been in use since the the Paleolithic era, 2 or more million years ago.

Odd that sharpening has become so difficult just within the last 30 years or so.
So, Jacob Butler - is "Double sided oil stones have served millions of woodworkers over 100s of years" right or not? You sort of ... wriggled.

Perhaps you meant to say "as long as I can remember", and just exaggerated a bit.

BugBear
 

Jacob

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bugbear":1tua5idl said:
Jacob":1tua5idl said:
bugbear":1tua5idl said:
"100s of years"?

Fascinating as ever - so what date would you put on the first double sided india stone of the type you so frequently recommend?

BugBear
Dunno you tell me. A long time whatever it is. My first encounter was about 55 years ago and I don't think they were a novelty even then.
In terms of "man years" of use it must be in the millions.
If you are talking about natural stone, double sided or not, then I suspect they would have been in use since the the Paleolithic era, 2 or more million years ago.

Odd that sharpening has become so difficult just within the last 30 years or so.
So, Jacob Butler - is "Double sided oil stones have served millions of woodworkers over 100s of years" right or not? You sort of ... wriggled.

Perhaps you meant to say "as long as I can remember", and just exaggerated a bit.

BugBear
Yawn.
 

Gerard Scanlan

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Thanks to you all for your input and advice. Especially Jacob who has a brilliant no nonesense way of getting to the root of the matter even if it is not appreciated by everyone.
 
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