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Plane sharpening advice needed

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tibi

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Hello,

I am now working on improving my sharpening system, as I can sharpening my plane blades to cut wood, but it is still not sharp enough to slice paper or cut all the hair from my forearm (it cuts some, but not all). I would not be bothered with it, but I have a lot of oak wood from an elevated garden bed, which I had outside for 3 years and than I disassembled it. The wood is very hard and unless the blade is extremely sharp, it just slides over the top without taking any shavings. I would like to reuse this oak wood, so I need to have a really sharp iron to get any shavings. When I plane this oak wood, I take just a few shavings after sharpening and the plane stops cutting and just glides on the top.

This is my sharpening station. Those are cheap 240,600 and 1200 grit chinese diamond stones, 10 000 grid natural chinese oil stone, all glued to a cutting board and a leather strop. I have classic Stanley blades ( for no.4 and no.5 hand planes). The whole system cost around 30 EUR, but it does the job.
IMG_0873.JPG

My freehand procedure is this:

0. Hollow grind primary bevel on the bench grinder. I have made 25 degree non adjustable wooden support for sliding the blade to the sides, so that the angle is always accurate.
1. I register the primary bevel on the coarse stone and sharpen until I get the burr all the way across the blade. I have found out that just pulling the blade from back to front of the stone creates the burr faster than going back and forth or in circular motion. I use window cleaner for the diamond stones. I make sure to lock my wrist so that I do not round the bevel.
2. I remove the burr on the fine stone and then I sharpen on the medium stone, remove the burr and then sharpen on the fine stone and remove the burr.
3. Finally, I apply oil to the green 10 000 grit oil stone and I sharpen the bevel with just a little bit higher angle than on the diamond stones to create a micro bevel. I can feel no burr at that step, no matter how long I sharpen. It might be too small
4. I use the ruler trick to remove the burr and create a micro back bevel, so that I don't need to have the whole back perfectly flat.
5. Optionally, I use the strop (I tried pulling back 5 - 30 times and also pulling the flat face), but many times the result is less sharp than just using the green stone without the strop.

I have seen maybe all the videos available freely on youtube, and they all get better results, even with similar sharpening setups, so I must be still missing something.
I had a jig before, but it was out of square a lot and it made grooves in my previous water stone with the wheel, so I thrown it away.

I have ordered a 30 - 60 x loupe to further inspect my sharpening, but it did not arrive yet.

Can you please give me some advice (best with my current setup). I also have 1000/4000 water stone, but I am not using it, because diamond method is faster for me and I can get the burr all the way across the blade on all three stones.

Do you also have some sound advice/videos for sharpening knives? I have watched many videos, but I have the same problems with sharpening knives. I cannot slice paper, just tear it.

Thank you.
 

tibi

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We can also combine this thread with the question if it is safe to get vaccinated, to get even more explosive comments :)
 

Jacob

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erewego!
Easy one first. Sharpen knives with a steel. A little and often. Dead simple and takes seconds.
It's all I've ever done and I just checked - yes I can slice paper absolutely no prob!

PS re "locked wrists". Mine don't lock! How do you do it?
 
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paulrbarnard

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You have all the right bits so if you are not getting to the point of splitting atoms when you wave the iron about then it is technique and practice that is needed.

One point I will make is your two course stones might be part of the problem. Coming off of a hollow grind on a wheel you only need to go a few passes on the 1200 and a final few passes at a small additional angle on the 10000.

If you want to extend the threads life ask about sharpening jigs and aids.
 

tibi

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erewego!
Easy one first. Sharpen knives with a steel. A little and often. Dead simple and takes seconds.
It's all I've ever done and I just checked - yes I can slice paper absolutely no prob!

PS re "locked wrists". Mine don't lock! How do you do it?
Jacob,

I do sharpen knives with a steel, but I have read that from time to time, it is good to sharpen on the stones too, because sharpening on the steel just realigns the edge (might be a myth though). In my terms, locking the wrists means to remove any rotational motion of the wrist joint during the process of sharpening by mere use of willpower.
 

tibi

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You have all the right bits so if you are not getting to the point of splitting atoms when you wave the iron about then it is technique and practice that is needed.

One point I will make is your two course stones might be part of the problem. Coming off of a hollow grind on a wheel you only need to go a few passes on the 1200 and a final few passes at a small additional angle on the 10000.

If you want to extend the threads life ask about sharpening jigs and aids.
I will try to skip the coarse and medium stone next time I sharpen the edge. I always though that getting the burr on the finer stone will automatically refine the edge to the fineness of the particular stone. But it might be the case that I get the burr quicker and the edge has some micro scratches that were not removed yet. I always sharpened on a particular stone just only until I got the burr and no more.
 

Jacob

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..... sharpening on the steel just realigns the edge (might be a myth though).
I've been told numbers of times that you can't sharpen with a steel. It's nonsense I've been doing it for 60 years or more and have sharp knives.
 

tibi

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I've been told numbers of times that you can't sharpen with a steel. It's nonsense I've been doing it for 60 years or more and have sharp knives.
I do the same, as it takes only a few seconds. But I also wanted to learn to sharpen on stones, as it is a nice skill to have.
 

Woody2Shoes

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Hello,

I am now working on improving my sharpening system, as I can sharpening my plane blades to cut wood, but it is still not sharp enough to slice paper or cut all the hair from my forearm (it cuts some, but not all). I would not be bothered with it, but I have a lot of oak wood from an elevated garden bed, which I had outside for 3 years and than I disassembled it. The wood is very hard and unless the blade is extremely sharp, it just slides over the top without taking any shavings. I would like to reuse this oak wood, so I need to have a really sharp iron to get any shavings. When I plane this oak wood, I take just a few shavings after sharpening and the plane stops cutting and just glides on the top.

This is my sharpening station. Those are cheap 240,600 and 1200 grit chinese diamond stones, 10 000 grid natural chinese oil stone, all glued to a cutting board and a leather strop. I have classic Stanley blades ( for no.4 and no.5 hand planes). The whole system cost around 30 EUR, but it does the job.
View attachment 122420
My freehand procedure is this:

0. Hollow grind primary bevel on the bench grinder. I have made 25 degree non adjustable wooden support for sliding the blade to the sides, so that the angle is always accurate.
1. I register the primary bevel on the coarse stone and sharpen until I get the burr all the way across the blade. I have found out that just pulling the blade from back to front of the stone creates the burr faster than going back and forth or in circular motion. I use window cleaner for the diamond stones. I make sure to lock my wrist so that I do not round the bevel.
2. I remove the burr on the fine stone and then I sharpen on the medium stone, remove the burr and then sharpen on the fine stone and remove the burr.
3. Finally, I apply oil to the green 10 000 grit oil stone and I sharpen the bevel with just a little bit higher angle than on the diamond stones to create a micro bevel. I can feel no burr at that step, no matter how long I sharpen. It might be too small
4. I use the ruler trick to remove the burr and create a micro back bevel, so that I don't need to have the whole back perfectly flat.
5. Optionally, I use the strop (I tried pulling back 5 - 30 times and also pulling the flat face), but many times the result is less sharp than just using the green stone without the strop.

I have seen maybe all the videos available freely on youtube, and they all get better results, even with similar sharpening setups, so I must be still missing something.
I had a jig before, but it was out of square a lot and it made grooves in my previous water stone with the wheel, so I thrown it away.

I have ordered a 30 - 60 x loupe to further inspect my sharpening, but it did not arrive yet.

Can you please give me some advice (best with my current setup). I also have 1000/4000 water stone, but I am not using it, because diamond method is faster for me and I can get the burr all the way across the blade on all three stones.

Do you also have some sound advice/videos for sharpening knives? I have watched many videos, but I have the same problems with sharpening knives. I cannot slice paper, just tear it.

Thank you.
I suspect than your problem is not so much "sharpening" as "bluntening". Any timber that has been in close contact with the soil is very likely to have sand/rock particles embedded in it. Hope that helps to prevent any further sharpening discussion !!!
 

Jacob

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I suspect than your problem is not so much "sharpening" as "bluntening". Any timber that has been in close contact with the soil is very likely to have sand/rock particles embedded in it. Hope that helps to prevent any further sharpening discussion !!!
Oh right I hadn't read the bit about old oak!
Yes difficult. I'd start with a scrub plane - to take off the weathered surface including grit. Might be easier then to use a jack plane.
 

tibi

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I suspect than your problem is not so much "sharpening" as "bluntening". Any timber that has been in close contact with the soil is very likely to have sand/rock particles embedded in it. Hope that helps to prevent any further sharpening discussion !!!
I brushed away most of the particles, but that might be the case, as I can never get it perfectly clean. But nevertheless,, improving my sharpening technique will help me in other endeavours too.
 

Ttrees

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3. Finally, I apply oil to the green 10 000 grit oil stone and I sharpen the bevel with just a little bit higher angle than on the diamond stones to create a micro bevel. I can feel no burr at that step, no matter how long I sharpen. It might be too small
If I were to take a guess, it might be an issue with consistency regarding the higher angle
or even polishing the existing edge gemoetery as the hone is quite a bit taller than the diamonds.
I have things the opposite way just by chance, and go from diamonds adhered to say 1" granite bits,
to a fancy diamond finishing hone, (say 8mm thick)

Maybe try lowering where you are honing, not suggesting Cosman height, but worth noting, and worth messing about with in that regards.

Good luck
Tom
 

tibi

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If I were to take a guess, it might be an issue with consistency regarding the higher angle
or even polishing the existing edge gemoetery as the hone is quite a bit taller than the diamonds.
I have things the opposite way just by chance, and go from diamonds adhered to say 1" granite bits,
to a fancy diamond finishing hone, (say 8mm thick)

Maybe try lowering where you are honing, not suggesting Cosman height, but worth noting, and worth messing about with in that regards.

Good luck
Tom
Thank you Tom for your advice. I just got it from Rob Cosman to go a few degrees more for the microbevel on the polishing stone. However, I would try to get maximum from my current setup just by increasing my skill points,before buying 140 USD 16000 grit Shapton stone as he has.
 

Ttrees

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I think you definitely have enough to get by, just making the point that it might be worth seeing how you get on honing at somewhat of a lower height.

Edit:
If this was the case that having that seems easier, then it might be worth seeing if you can get used to that height, and maybe raising your other hones to an equal height as the green, or even above it.
SAM_4912.JPG

Tom
 
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tibi

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I think you definitely have enough to get by, just making the point that it might be worth seeing how you get on honing at somewhat of a lower height.

Edit:
If this was the case that having that seems easier, then it might be worth seeing if you can get used to that height, and maybe raising your other hones to an equal height as the green, or even above it.
View attachment 122427
Tom
Maybe I misunderstood you, but I was thinking that you are talking about lowering the honing angle on the green stone, not having the stones of equal height. What benefit would give me having the stones of equal height with the green stone?
 

D_W

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Assuming you do the grind at 240 and 25 degrees, add a secondary bevel at 27 with the finest diamond hone - just a small one - skip the rest of the hones except for the finish hone - the others are a waste of your time.

Use a guide or something to get a feel for this, but add a tiny third bevel on the chinese stone you have there at around 32 degrees.

When you get your loupe, confirm that you see nothing but the finest scratches at the edge. Strop lightly on the strop and nothing more.

The chinese stones are notoriously slow, unless they're compressed agate, and then they can be coarser than 10k grit (I have one of each type - the natural ones are drastically different - but too slow for practical use to follow a 1200 grit diamond edge without steepening the angle a lot.)

You have only two things really to consider - is the geometry of the final bevel about right, and then, can you ensure visually that the fine scratches get all the way to the edge and is the edge damage free.

There is no mystery other than that - your loupe will help you.

Sellers pitches this method with a gaggle of plates and just honing right up the line, but few people get the fine scratches to the edge with no damage, and most steepen the edge in the process - bad practice. Your objective is to get the edge finished in as little work as possible and have it resistant to damage in use. Anything else is dumb. What paul teaches is a beginner's method, but you don't want to be a beginner for more than a very short period of time. The loop is your key in seeing what you're actually getting done (a small hand scope is also a decent idea - the ones that are about 15 pounds on ebay) and halving your sharpening time and getting a better result- both in sharpness and durability. You won't need the loupe for long - just until you get the feel of things.

You'll also probably quickly get to the point where you're grinding and finish honing at angles separated far enough that you don't need a guide for anything.
 

D_W

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dump the ruler trick, by the way. It's also a beginner's trap. when you work the back of a tool, put your fingers where you want the stone to work the metal but leave the tool flat on the stone. If you're coming up short when you can see the scratches on the back, you may want to first work the back on something faster, but even a 1200 grit diamond hone is coarse. A broken in fine india stone is nice for this as it requires little maintenance.
 

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