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Daily sharpening (blade/iron maintenance)

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dodi

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Hello to everybody!
I am from Romania and I am hobbyist woodworker, working mainly in the evenings, after I get back from work.
I have a small workshop, in an unheated garage, so due to to the arrival of the winter I will stop working until the next spring.

This is what I would like to ask you.
Let's presume that you have a big quantity of wood boards, some king of hard wood, let's say oak.
The quantity it is pretty big, a few days worth of planning.
The boards are pretty straight, so you can start preparing/flattening/smoothing them with a jointer plane and then a smoothing plane.
Let's presume that you have some kind of sharpening system, consisting of a coarse grit, around 1000, a medium grit, around 4000, a fine grit around 8000 and a strop.
It can be waterstones, oilstones, diamond plates, sandpaper on glass, and the strop, green compound on leather, Polisol on MDF, diamond on leather etc.
It does not matter the system, only that it has a coarse, medium, fine and stropping elements.

You have two jointer planes, No. 7, one with a blade with a micro bevel and one with a blade without micro bevel. It does not matter the angles or the number of micro bevels.
You start planning in the morning, with freshly sharpened blades on both jointers, and after a few hours of work, with the both jointers your blades get dull.
Not nicked, not anything else, just dull because of planning the hard wood.

I would like to ask you how do you proceed next.
You go back through all the grits, you go to the 4000, 8000 and strop, 8000 and strop, you just only strop?

For the blade with the micro bevel you only work on the micro bevel until it grows too large and after that you regrind your blade?
What about the blade without the micro bevel?

Thank you very much for your time and answers!
 

Jacob

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A few hours of planing between sharpening is far too long. If it's oak then after only 15 minutes (or less) of hard work you need to touch up the blade. If you do crazy sharpening techniques the job becomes very slow - instead you need to freehand often and a little at a time, using only two grits and strop on your hand. Back off with the coarse grit, edge with the fine.
If you have to stop and regrind your edges you are doing it wrongly and leaving it too long between honing. You should keep the edge in good nick and not have to do remedial work unless you hit a nail or something.
Working on the "micro" bevel until it is too large and needs regrinding is a popular method but very clumsy and inefficient.
Forget "micro" bevels, its just edge and backed off bevel which count.

PS Never plane anything until it has been cut to size according to your cutting list, plus planing allowance and slightly extra length to be on the safe side. Unless you are making very small components - then you might plane a board first before cutting to length.
The main reason for "little and often" sharpening is that your blade is going to be sharper for more of the time and the work will be easier. If you leave it for an hour you will be working with a blunt blade for 3/4 of the time!
 

dodi

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I should have written "after a while" instead of a few hours, because the time until it gets dull depends on the type of steel, thickness of shaving and other factors, so please read "after a while" instead of "after a few hours of work".

I am doing mostly hand sharpening, except when I have to regrind a big bevel on a thick blade like for example LN or veritas blades, which being more work it is easier for me to do it with a simple side clamping jig, I think it is an "Eclipse"type, than by hand. But I do most of my sharpening by hand.

The way that I do it is the following:
dull blade - 8000 grit 1-2 minutes - strop on leather - planning, which I repeat for about 2-3 times
after that
dull blade - 4000 grit 1-2 minutes - 8000 grit 1-2 minutes - strop - planning
after which i go back to
dull blade - 8000 grit 1-2 minutes - strop on leather - planning, which I repeat for about 2-3 times
and again
dull blade - 4000 grit 1-2 minutes - 8000 grit 1-2 minutes - strop - planning

sometimes I do an another cycle with the 4000 grit, and usually after that I go back and spend some time doing some more thorough sharpening beginning with the 1000 grit and up.

this is of course if I don't nick the blade in a nail or some strong ugly knot.

I use micro bevels on thick blades like LN, hock or veritas, and I don't use micro bevels on thin Stanley blades, Japanese blades, or old laminated European blades like the Peugeot blades.

The main idea in my post is that I would like to find out how other people are doing their daily sharpening/maintenance sharpening taking in consideration only the grit used and the steps involved, and not taking in consideration the system used for sharpening, water, oil, hand, jig, micro bevel or not micro bevel.

Thank you.
 

Corneel

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When an edge gets merely dull, no damage, then I just do a quick touchup on the 8000 stone (Naniwa superstone). Any nick, even a tiny one, and I change to the 1000 stone first. All that on the so called microbevel. A big nick, and it's back to the grinder.

Jacob, I feel that you shouldn't call any other sharpening regime then the one you personally use, "crazy". That's just annoying, offending and not even true. There can be very good reasons to use a jig for example, and it is not really much slower then going freehand either. I like a good sharpening discussion as much as everyone, but there is no reason to offend people, just like you don't have any real arguments.
 

Jacob

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Corneel":31eczxy5 said:
...
Jacob, I feel that you shouldn't call any other sharpening regime then the one you personally use, "crazy". That's just annoying, offending and not even true.....
It's just my shorthand for the very elaborate and precise techniques involving several phases and very fine grits, which seem so popular. OK for scalpels and lab work, a bit excessive for woodwork tools IMHO. Perhaps I should call them laboratory standard techniques or something. Any suggestions for a simple term other than "crazy"? OTT?
 

dunbarhamlin

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cra·zy
adj. cra·zi·er, cra·zi·est
1. Affected with madness; insane.
2. Informal Departing from proportion or moderation, especially:
a. Possessed by enthusiasm or excitement: The crowd at the game went crazy.
b. Immoderately fond; infatuated: was crazy about boys.
c. Intensely involved or preoccupied: is crazy about cars and racing.
d. Foolish or impractical; senseless: a crazy scheme for making quick money.
If the objective is to get the job done quickly and efficiently, in cases where precise angles don't matter, then by definition it is an appropriate adjective to use; by the time you have the iron in the jig, mine's back working.
Following an involved honing procedure can break the workflow and discourage frequent touch up.
 

Jacob

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dunbarhamlin":24uvzis7 said:
........
Following an involved honing procedure can break the workflow and discourage frequent touch up.
That's it. Frequent touching up like a butcher with a knife and a steel, keeps you going for a long time. Though butchers do have their knives serviced at intervals, I'm told. I bet they mostly do it themselves.
What's NJB? Whatever it is, NJB sharpening is a mixed blessing (he said discretely :shock: ).
 

dodi

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Hello!
Well, it looks like we are way off the topic.
I would really appreciate if your posts would be related to the initial idea from my original post.

Thank you very much and waiting for your opinions regarding the subject!
 

beech1948

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Dodi,

I think you have been answered although you may not have realised it. The answer takes the form of:-

1) You have a lot, a lot of planing to do.
2) You have a sharpening method and you have an adequate set of tools to sharpen
3) You said you were sharpening oak. If so Oak will blunt a blade in 15 to 20 minutes. That is the blade will be at much less than optimal sharpness, effort will increase and accuracy will decrease
4) The sharpening time for a full tour through all your stones and jigs will add significant time to your planing efforts. Time is the essential ingredient here.
5) IF you want to work close to a professional manner and style then Jacobs advice is sound. Learn to sharpen by hand with no jigs, and do it frequently say 3 times per hour or there about. Use the 8000 grit stone for a touch up and if you get a bit duller then use a 4000, follow up with 8000 and a quick strop. Your objective is to create a small ridge of metal on the underside of the blade, stone it off and then get back to work. You should be aiming at say 2 minutes per session.
6) IF you want to work like the amateur I am then you could use a jig. You will still have to sharpen every 15 -20 minutes. This time you should be aiming to do it in say 4 - 5 minutes. You can see that this will "cost" you 15 minutes at least every hour; approximately. If you are as unfit as I am then you will be glad of the time to catch your breath. TRhe mechanics of the sequence of stones are as above.

I think the discussion on this thread has again gone over the mechanics of sharpening and not focussed on the objectives: that is to try to keep the sharpest blade possible in use at all times.

Things to read:-
Hock Tools; read closely and you will need to focus on the words.
http://www.hocktools.com/sharpen.htm
Brent Beach: a good view
http://www3.telus.net/BrentBeach/Sharpen/sharpen.html
Finally a sound set of objectives and a test
http://www.mwells.org/woodworking/sharpening/is-that-edge-sharp

How to teach yourself sharpening:-
http://www.mwells.org/woodworking/sharpening/teaching-yourself-to-sharpen

Hope this helps.

Al
 

Corneel

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dunbarhamlinIf the objective is to get the job done quickly and efficiently said:
Calling jigged sharpening "crazy" is just condescending.

Like I said other people can have perfectly good reasons to use a jig. And the loss of time with a jig is really minimal. After planing oak for 15 minutes, nobody is going to worry about a 3 minute or a 3.5 minute sharpening job (including the time to dismantle, assemble and resetting the blad).
 

Fromey

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Ah, the usual crop of sharpening opinion......

My 2 pence worth:

Just the other day I noticed dull blades and couldn't be bothered to get out the jig/etc. Instead I oiled up a small piece of MDF with camelia oil (3 in 1 will do just as well), applied a bit of Tomek stropping paste to it (Autosol will do just as well) and hand 'stropped' the blades about 5 times. It made all the difference. Quick, easy, good enough to 'rejuvenate' a blade.

A question to all. If you are just stropping a blade (by what ever means) would you still attempt to take off any minute bur on the back side of the blade. In the above, I couldn't decide if I should rub the back of the blades on the MDF just a few times or not. I decided to do so, as it probably wouldn't hurt.
 

studders

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Fromey":11huw6ui said:
Ah, the usual crop of sharpening opinion......

My 2 pence worth: Quick, easy, good enough to 'rejuvenate' a blade.
I do similar, except I use a leather strop freehand, several times if needed, works well enough to carry on working without having to do a full re-sharpen. I do give the back a few rubs as well, don't know if it's really needed?
 

dodi

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The idea behind my post was to find out how people are maintaining the sharpness of their blades during daily use.
I have spent a lot of time on the internet and reading books about sharpening, because I like sharpening and I am interested in metals and sharpening media, and on different levels I have experimented with all kinds of sharpening media and techniques, mostly because of curiosity about what is happening, and not necessarily because of the relationship between sharpening and woodworking.

What it looks to me is that almost all the tutorials and guides on the internet regarding sharpening are missing the daily maintenance of the blade, maybe maintenance it is not the right word (I am not an English native speaker) but I mean the frequent sharpening during work (maybe the right term would be honing) I tried to use unambiguous words in order to avoid the thread going off topic.

Most of the tutorials and guides on the internet (at least in my impression and understanding) are for the moment when you start with either an old blade, rusted, nicked or very out of shape or in very bad shape.
I have either not found or missed a guide which details the steps involved in the let's name it "maintenance sharpening".

So, it does not matter the system which you are using water, oil, sandpaper, diamond, freehand or with jigs, just please post a short description of the steps which you take in the "maintenance sharpening" of your blades.

Thank you!
 

Jacob

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dodi":1tou3efh said:
.......
What it looks to me is that almost all the tutorials and guides on the internet regarding sharpening are missing the daily maintenance of the blade, maybe maintenance it is not the right word (I am not an English native speaker) but I mean the frequent sharpening during work (maybe the right term would be honing) .....
I agree - if you mean routine working maintenance as distinct from remedial work. Described it already above, but basically it's a little but often, without letting the edge get progressively worse (i.e.longer bevel) so it's stays the same.
... let's name it "maintenance sharpening...........it does not matter the system which you are using water, oil, sandpaper, diamond, freehand or with jigs,....
It does matter though. If you do a fancy complicated system it can be a deterrent from proper maintenance and efficient working. So 2 grits max, hand strop, keeps you working forever!
 

custard

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Jacob said:
A few hours of planing between sharpening is far too long. If it's oak then after only 15 minutes (or less) of hard work you need to touch up the blade. quote]

I agree. I think is one of the key points where newcomers to woodwork go wrong. They don't realise just how frequently you should be sharpening your tools.

I find with a traditional high carbon O1 type iron and a 45 to 50 degree pitch I'll likely be re-sharpening every ten to fifteen minutes with hardwood. If it's something especially difficult like rosewood or teak, or if I'm using an iron at 55 degree or steeper pitch, then I might be resharpening every five to ten minutes.

So, at say 20 strokes a minute, resharpening could be needed as frequently as every 100 strokes. Actually "resharpening" is too strong a word, if I can keep the discipline of frequent honing then literally two or three swipes on a fine stone keeps it all sweet. My carving tools hardly ever see a stone, but they're getting very regular freehand swipes on a strop.

With an A2 plane iron I find I can go about twice as long between resharpening, say about 30 minutes with most hardwood, which is the longest I'd like to manually plane without a break, but then the act of resharpening A2 steel becomes more difficult in itself.

I occasionally use an S53 Holtey iron, that seems to last about twice as long as even A2 or four times as long as O1, but it's a real pig to sharpen so I end up reserving it for really punishing jobs like teak or trimming the edges of plywood.

I suspect that this is may lie behind much of the acrimonious debate about honing guides versus freehand. If you're a "sharpen every fifteen minutes" kind of woodworker, then honing guides become a bigger burden. But if you're a "sharpen once a day before closing up the workshop" woodworker, then honing guides and A2 are less of an imposition.

Personally I fall inbetween. With most planes I use multiple irons, and as they become blunt I pile them up on the sharpening bench. Then at the end of the day I sharpen them all, generally using a honing guide.
 

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