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Sharpening systems: Maguire vs Sellers

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NYNick

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I just got into hand tool woodworking and have been following the videos and blogs of Richard Maguire and Paul Sellers with special interest. They are both amazing artisans and instructors. But they have different opinions on what is the best sharpening method. Sellers swears by three diamond stones, going so far as saying that switching to diamond “will change your life”. Maguire uses a coarse diamond lapping plate and a Norton India oilstone, saying that diamond plates for the finer sharpening stages suck. And Sellers further states that the trend toward hybridization (i.e. using a diamond plate and an oil stone or water stone) is “silly”. These are strongly polar opposite opinions by respected masters in the field. I was wondering if the members of this forum have weighed in on this.
 

Trevanion

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I personally like to touch the chisel against a 120 grit belt sander for a few seconds and then polish the edge on a leather wheel in a grinder until the burr is removed in a few seconds and then proceed to get on with what I was doing. Perhaps occasionally touch up the edge quickly on a natural oilstone and strop while I'm working and can’t be bothered to walk across the workshop to repeat the above.

It's all just rubbing a piece of steel against an abrasive surface at the end of the day, however you want to do it is up to you.
 

Pete Maddex

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Find a method of sharpening that suits you and stick with it.
I have a sink in my workshop so water stones are easy for me to use.
Most methods will result in a sharp blade their is no one trew path to sharpness.

Pete
 

Sam R

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The above posts aren't much help to a confused beginner. Your Q boils down to "which internet guru (Ha!) should I follow?", the answer being one or other but not both to begin with. Just follow one, get it working well and then you can start looking at other methods. If you have an oilstone use that, good diamond plates aren't cheap. Don't over complicate things at this stage. Look out for old books on eBay etc. by Hayward - "Carpentry/Cabinet Making for beginners" and others, they cost pennies
 

sammy.se

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As a recent beginner at sharpening, I tried the diamond stone route, and the sandpaper route.

Diamond route was easy, inexpensive and the least time consuming. As a beginner, I would recommend the diamond stones, and a hone is optional (I don't have one yet, but am likely to get one at some point, just personal preference. You can make one very easily too).

The grits I have are 400, 1000 and 3000. I think you can just have 400 and 1000, but I bought mine for a couple of quid each on alibaba.com, so I got the extra grit too.



Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
 

MikeG.

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Either/or, not and. If you were to take a tool sharpened by each of those two and put them side by side, they might look a little different, but they'd be equally as sharp.

The one thing which will "change your life" is stropping. It removes the rough stuff on the edge left by the abrasion process of whatever system you choose to use, and takes a tool from being sharpish to very sharp in just a few seconds with absolutely no skill or experience necessary.
 

Fitzroy

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Pick any method then practice, practice, and practice some more.

I’ve been into this woodworking malarkey for about 4 years now and I find all my skills continually develop, reading wood, marking out, planing, sawing, etc etc, and sharpening!

It was just yesterday I resharpened the three chisels I was using on a project and realised I got an awesome edge (yes I strop) and was all done in under 5 mins. I few years back I’d have taken 5 mins per chisel and still had only a reasonable edge.

Don’t assume that because you pick method X it’ll enable you to immediately easily and repeatedly put a perfect edge on your tools. Sharpening is another skill to be developed.

Fitz.

Ps popcorn at the ready.
 

Phil Pascoe

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OP - had you read some older threads on sharpening, you would have learned that there is one and only one way to sharpen something - a hollow Norton oilstone. :D
 

That would work

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And strop on your palm.
Now preparing for the "irresponsible" comment stuff :lol:
Which would be true actually.
However, the whole thing about these questions is how do you grind before sharpening? You can easily ruin at this stage through either overheating thus spoiling the temper or misshaping.
For me (for quite a long time) a wet grind and a fine India stone with a strop does get an edge as good as anything. Sharpening should not cost a lot... I do wince everytime I hear that word "system" :roll:
 

ED65

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NYNick":3403l148 said:
...Richard Maguire and Paul Sellers ...have different opinions on what is the best sharpening method.
You can pretty much insert the names of any two woodworkers and have it be equally true. Everyone and their aunt has an opinion on sharpening!

NYNick":3403l148 said:
Maguire uses a coarse diamond lapping plate and a Norton India oilstone, saying that diamond plates for the finer sharpening stages suck.
He's wrong. Right for him, but wrong as a statement of bland fact.

Truthfully, not a few of the brand-name finer diamond plates aren't great in one way or another that I don't want to get into because the fanboys will get bent out of shape (but I will say some just suck!) however, there are perfectly good plates in the finer range, let's call it 1K and up. These finer plates are as suitable for achieving a decent edge as any other abrasive surface that's roughly equivalent in grit, as illustrated by the decent edges people using them are getting, so proving Maguire is being hyperbolic if he actually used the words "they suck" :D

In addition to the obvious fact that they work, they abrade steel from an edge, diamonds have a couple of clear advantages over the alternatives, chief among them being the abrasive is diamonds. Diamonds are much harder than their nearest equivalent – have to ignore CBN in this context – much further away than hardness tables imply. And this can be very evident in use, both in the immediate and in the long term.

There are numerous other important factors in sharpening-media performance but hardness of the abrasive is one key one.

NYNick":3403l148 said:
And Sellers further states that the trend toward hybridization (i.e. using a diamond plate and an oil stone or water stone) is “silly”.
See, I don't get this. Obviously Sellers has a vested interest in getting people to listen to him and trust what he's saying, but there's no reason to denigrate a system that's different to what you're teaching.

IMHO there's not only nothing wrong with using a hybrid system there's plenty to recommend it, depending on the user, where they are, what's available to them cheaply and other factors. But this is a complex, multi-layered message that isn't as easily digestible as a simple sharpen-by-numbers recommendation (which, let's be honest, is what a lot of people actually want).

It wouldn't be my first choice but I'd be perfectly happy to use diamond plates with a slate hone and water to finish off. This is what I use periodically when I feel like it, although my preference is to finish by stropping. The steel doesn't care either way! Which is to say, the final edge is about the same in both cases.

NYNick":3403l148 said:
These are strongly polar opposite opinions by respected masters in the field.
Wait till you look at pins versus tails first in dovetailing. These are just the tip of the iceberg.

NYNick":3403l148 said:
I was wondering if the members of this forum have weighed in on this.
Only about a bazillion times.

Have a look at page 2 of this forum. There's a sharpening thread there that began with an innocent question and yet it spawned a 22-page thread. This is not the worst example here as it's not primarily pointless back and forth and bitter argument, loads of good information was added as it went on. But still it could be trimmed of maybe 5-8 pages of fat. Other sharpening threads are more than 70% fat.

Now sharpening tends to be a hotly-debated topic everywhere, but here the noise-to-signal ratio is largely down to one troll who won't shut up. He might be taking an enforced break right about now but if not he'll likely be along shortly to cr*p all over your thread.
 

Lons

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Nick
There's a good search facility on the forum but before you look I suggest you settle down somewhere very comfortable with paracetamol to hand as it will take hours to wade through and will give you a headache :wink:

ED65 has given you a page to start at.

You'll soon learn that certain subjects soon produce huge volumes of very hot and smelly gas usually from a particular area of the UK. :lol:
 

MikeG.

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That would work":h79lkox8 said:
.......However, the whole thing about these questions is how do you grind before sharpening?.......
It's also important that a beginner gets this in perspective. Grinding isn't a very regular occurrence. A heavily used chisel will only need grinding every few months. A plane blade might never need grinding.
 

Trevanion

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Lons":2vvz2hvd said:
You'll soon learn that certain subjects soon produce huge volumes of very hot and smelly gas usually from a particular area of the UK. :lol:
Certain subjects to avoid:

1: Politix
2: Sharpening
3: Sawstop
4: Double Glazing
5: Water-Based Paint
6: Quality New Tools
7: Surface planing
8: What kind of wood to use on External Joinery
9: Peter Sefton
10: Thermal Mass
11: Push Blocks
12: Push Sticks
13: Dovetails any other way than his
14: Anything that isn't 'traditional'
15: Everything Under The Sun.

Don't mention any of those and you should be OK.
 

thetyreman

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last thing you want is conflicting ways of sharpening, stick with one system and don't ever change it, keep it simple, I stuck with diamond stones and it works for me, definitely get a strop as well and some aluminium oxide, as mike says it's very important.
 

MikeG.

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thetyreman":1ml1hk21 said:
........ get a strop as well and some aluminium oxide.......
Yep, that's fine. But if you have some old Brasso or T Cut (it's the same stuff) kicking around then use that instead. It's slightly messier, but works just as well.
 

Marineboy

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And, you don’t need a fancy leather strop, just a piece of mdf with stropping compound smeared on.
 
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