Lol, but in his defence, he did post some nice pictures of his kitchen that he made, and his chisel handles are beautiful. Ian
My apologies to you on the exchange, as I know you do this for a living, and it's more the point that I'm pushing and not you. I am not a fine worker, but like a lot of amateurs, try to do well. The only thing that I've ever managed to do that's bucked book knowledge (which seems to me to be errant) is better hardness and toughness of commercial steel for a couple of alloys just using cheap heat treatment equipment. This isn't going to be that much interest on a woodworking forum, and I can't stomach the knife making and metal work forum, so it's just a fluke that I backed into experimenting with heat treatment processes to try to match commercial results (this isn't an exotic thing, it's a thrift thing - I just don't think hobbyists should have to spend a lot of money to do much, and the idea that a hobbyist should just give up and use a commercial heat treat service at great cost rubs me the wrong way).
Somewhere, the fact that I will experiment with steel, sharpening time, results, etc (which is more of a toolmaker's focus) gives way to the idea that the process is exotic. I can pretty much list out the things that I'd use:
* oilstones in an oil bath
* a $19 diamond hone from ebay
* washita outside the oil bath
* autosol (or a buffing bar from clearance in a hardware store - any of the white buffing bars are very very fine).
* I use a cheap chinese buffer from harbor freight here fairly often
I do use a dry grinder, but one can do that by hand with oilstones, and I don't think an expensive grinder makes any difference.
The list above could be trimmed for relatively minimal to moderate hand tool use to the diamond stone, a washita (which could really be any mid natural oilstone and autosol).
There is a lot of gain to be had chasing fine (cheaply) and fast. If a very fine edge were expensive or slow (and it can be if the gurus who sell stuff are relied upon), then it's a no go.
I think you said you might be moving to the states - maybe PA. If you're near Pittsburgh, by all means, stop in. I won't be able to teach any good woodworkers about woodworking, but you might find the sharpening stuff interesting. It's not a threat or a contest, it's just something that I've run actual A/B comparisons and moved one way or another. I had no teacher - the only person who has ever really impressed anything upon me is George Wilson. He can't lend me his talent, but it's more an obligation to discern (and he is an expert maker of the highest degree, but starting from a pure ability to design and do things freehand that most people cannot -I'd never be able to - like visualize a classical design and draw curves that look like they came from a template). Because I had no teacher, I had no reason not to experiment. How dumb is it that someone would make chisels? Let's be honest, it's stupid. You can find them on the rack in any retail corridor. But I'm not a pro, so I can spend 10% or so of my time experimenting if I'd like to try to chase the buzz of doing everything by hand (as much as possible) with the other 90%.
And having spent enormous amounts of money in the past trialing things gives me some A/B comparisons - I can tell when things are starkly different, and when they're not. To go a step finer (following the oilstone with something like autosol) at first is minimally "well, that's sharper". When you do an A/B comparison, you find out things (these comparisons take a lot of work) like difference in edge longevity. The A/B comparison lets you feel things and see effort that you're expending that you can't notice with a time gap between trying things. (longevity in a test, for example, with 1 micron diamond vs. 5 - and 5 sounds like tiny diamonds, but they're brash and that's not a very good edge - is a 50% difference 3 feet planed per 2 from 1 micron to 5. The sharpening process with either is the same and the diamonds can be replaced with autosol, but neither really costs anything - years' of lapidary diamonds to finish hone would be $10).
I don't have much tolerance for Jacob because he speaks in hypotheticals, I've never seen a single thing that he's made that matches anything that you've shown, and his responses are nonsensical - one he often responds to my comments is that "if I ever made anything", I'd know more like he does. It's nonsense.
Adam seems to have taken offense early on when I had no clue who he was and mentioned a scrub plane having nothing to do with hand tool working if productivity is an issue unless someone is working wet wood. When he asserted that he was using a scrub plane and sung its praises, I asked him what kind of work he did. He told me he has a B.A. and that asking questions was grilling. I gave him grief for using "I.Have.A B.A.!" as a response, and tracked down some of his posts to find out that.....he was working a lot of green wood. As I expected. I don't know if his fighting answering was because he was upset that his eminence wasn't just believed or if he was mad that I guessed what he was working on from experience having done the same thing (Finding no use for a wood chunking scrub plane instead of a jack, except in cases of chunking green wood).
I stopped responding to this thread yesterday because it became a bicker between me and you and you're a pro. If you posted relatively plain work because that's what your market wants, and you do it well, then things are getting out of bounds - even for me - I'm not here for that (to belittle people -there's nothing special about what I've made and I can readily admit it - it's the actual proven points that I like, and I get not everyone else is into routine experimenting). It's fingernails on a chalk board to me for some of the things I've compared just because I've quantified them and was surprised in some cases at things I couldn't feel.
And there are further nutter things like Richard mentioning to me at one point that silica in mahogany can spoil a planed surface (Richard has long told me what customers actually care about - not repeatedly the same thing - but once in a while when we've had the occasion to discuss things). I've figured out how to sharpen plane irons (no cost, quick, just simple alterations without buying anything) so that wood with silica can be planed without the silica nicking a plane iron. That's a little more nutty because the average pro would already be finishing the surface by sanding.
All of these bits are detail heavy. I guess I get sort of a reputation when one piece of sharpening gear after another comes up and I can say "I had that, and....".
I also have some really expensive sharpening stones still - it's a side hobby. It has nothing to do with making and I don't talk about those at great length because the reality is they don't do anything different (these are natural stones - the expensive synthetic stones are nonsense - at least there is some rarity to the natural types). $20 of sharpening equipment can match $2000 in speed and results, and generally is nicer to use (what happens if you drop an india stone that you got at a flea market? what happens if you drop a shapton 30k that a guru recommends everyone should have?)
At any rate, if you're the fellow who is moving to PA, hit me up when you get here. I'll send you some chisels.