Diamond or oilstone/wetstone for sharpening hand planes etc and what grade.

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Alasdair

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Come to think of it I use my hand automatically as well with my pruning knives. I own a garden nursery and my hands are like leather/Asbestos. Probably too rough for a decent edge though but also pretty near splinter proof.
Alasdair
 

J-G

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Incidentally, regarding stropping what's wrong with your hand? After putting on the ground angle - usually after a kid had hit a nail! - I would strop on the palm of my hand without even looking at what I was doing.
That's exactly what my father taught me! First time I saw him do it I did 'cringe' though. Now it is second nature.
 

D_W

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The only thing wrong with stropping on your hand is that you have to have no dirt on your hand and you also need to make sure any filth that comes off of the iron (swarf, etc) doesn't end up on a project because you stropped it onto your hand.

To that end, having hard oiled leather on a hard board might be better (but then you have to keep that clean).

I doubt anyone on here has bought more sharpening media to play with than I have. It doesn't really matter what you use - you can have expensive coarse and fine media or cheap coarse and fine media and they all work about equally as well. For $10, you can match a shapton 30k and not worry about breaking it and for about $30, you can get the best bevel grinding stone ever made (the norton medium crystolon) and install it in some makeshift oilbath to be used with light mineral oil.

But, what's not often given as advice is to spend $15 on a cheap USB hand held microscope and see what's happening at the very edge of your tool. It's as cheap as a loupe, far more useful, and you'll only need to use it a couple of times to sort things out. In all of the stuff people will tell you about steels or sharpening media or burrs or whatever else, you'll find almost without exception that if you have a problem with sharpness, you didn't get the fine stuff to the very edge of the tool and finish the job.

Here's why the $15 is worth it - it takes very little effort to finish the job, but you can find yourself methods where you do a whole bunch of work to get close to the edge and then manage to do a little working the edge itself and start to think that all of it was important. It's not. There's setup work (which never needs to be done by the fine media) and finishing the very edge. Literally thousandths of it and no more. Understanding this will make sharpening all kinds of things freehand a lot easier.
 

Sean Hellman

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Atoma 120 grit diamond plate, its about the fastest bench stone to remove metal. I have always needed coarser stones as I do not want to spend for ever rubbing away with a 800grit or whatever stone. Big tip, do not go right to the edge but just back from it, that way you will not have to worry about removing the deep scratches which it will leave. I have only had the Atoma for a year or so, but it still seems to be holding up well, I never have been particularly careful with my diamond stones, and please do not ever buy the cheep ones, they are not worth it. Another bonus with this stone it can easily be used as a flattening plate on any other stone and will not get stuck onto waterstones. Again as mentioned I bought from Mathew at Workshop Heaven.
To flatten your oilstone, which these days are often underrated, use a 40 grit loose abrasive on a piece of glass. Use dry without any cutting fluid, which I find makes life more difficult.
 

mikej460

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Is your brain hurting yet? That's nothing, let this run for another few weeks and then find yourself saying 'so what is the soddin' answer?' We've all been where you are and found a myriad of techniques that individually suit one of us.

I use a 300, 600 and 1200 grit Vaunt diamond stones with window cleaner spray and a leather strop with autosol because it's easy (I embedded them into bench hook board) and gives very good results. I use a guide for primary bevel and free hand for secondary.
 

matkinitice

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(its so worn its very dipped in the middle although still flat accross the stone)with angle guide for plane. Getting pretty good results but its taking ages as the blades have been sharpened by hand for years without checking the correct angle.

I started out with an oilstone from Wickes. A few quid. Not long into using it I started to get the dish shape you mention. Plane blades were fine as they covered nearly the full width, but chisels were problematic. As they are much thiner the wear occurs more in the center. You can move these around to reduce it but over time it will dish.

I was close to chucking it and switching but I found an Aussie showing a really quick and cheap way to flatten it. From what I remember the stone came with no instructions nor does any of my my woodworking books mention how to flatten an oil stone.

Turns out, it's really easy. Pop a bit of sand on a slab and wet it slightly to form a paste like substance. Rub the stone back and forth a bit. A few mins later it will look brand new. The only downside is the slab you do this on will look brand new as if you've jet washed it. I did this down the side of my old workshop patio.

Doing this meant I got another good few months out of it. I still have it in fact but have since migrated to diamond stones. Still - I'd recommend you give it a go as it's essentially free (if you have some sand) and takes so little time.

Had a quick search and I'm sure this is the video:
 
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