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  • #2030529
    Avatar Of BbBB
    Post count: 8

    I have been sharpening my bench plane blades through 8000 Norton water stone. Is this really necessary or can I stop at extra extra fine diamond stone?  I do the same with my bench chisels. Is this too much for them also?

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    • Avatar Of Mike In TnMike in TN
      Post count: 301

      Hi again BB,

      There are as many ways to do this task  as there are woodworkers and I always felt that whatever works for you is good enough. My suggestion is that you try both ways and see how it effects the work process and the finished stock.

      I don’t own any water stones and have kept away from them because of the ongoing maintenance, mess,  and the fact that they appear to wear away at a pretty high rate.  Any of you folks that want to send me some free water stones to try are welcome to do so and I will be glad to review them with an open mind. I have a combination of abrasive papers, bench grinders, diamond stones, oil stones, slips and stones(files) which I use for a variety of purposes. I separate my “sharpening” into “shaping” and true sharpening. Heavy cambering, establishing primary bevels, flattening chisel and plane backs, and similar operations fit into the “shaping” category so I won’t explain how I do that since it does not address your question.

      After any shaping that is necessary, I normally use a 600 grit diamond stone to establish the secondary bevel and to start any micro cambering I might decide to do. I also use the same stone on the tool backs after flattening. I then work the same surfaces with a 1200 grit diamond stone after which I strop them by hand on a piece of MDF charged with fine (green) polishing compound. Depending on the tool, I may strop the tool on a powered disk of charged MDF at the drill press. I also have a powered cotton wheel strop for carving tools and molding plane blades. Every effort is made to avoid rounding the backs, particularly backs of chisels. Very small chisels, small molding and joinery plane and combination plane blade are normally worked on a fine (approximately 2000 grit) oil stone  because of the holes in my fine diamond stone, and then stropped.

      You can normally restore the edge to pretty good condition by simply stropping it if done as a matter of routine and the blade hasn’t been nicked along the way. I know that there is a trend toward super fine plane edges and wispy, light-and-fluffy shavings that seem to float away in the breeze, but quite often the work calls for hogging off very thick shavings that crunch underfoot like dry twigs. The finished surface is really what matters and what gets you there should be good enough. The woodworkers of old in this country normally used natural oil stones, without stropping,  and they did pretty good work. That doesn’t mean that other methods or standards are bad, just different ( they didn’t use diamond stones either) so if other folks like to do things differently, then more power to them. I don’t automatically do the ruler trick for back bevels either but I do use it sometimes if I am using an old blade with pits in the back and need to get the edge past the pits. Even at that, I normally don’t sweat a few minor nicks in scrub, fore, or true jack plane work since the finish surfaces are worked with other planes later anyway.

      Have fun


    • Avatar Of OdeeOdee
      Post count: 3

      Sharp enough

      I generally use 2 diamond stones (on a steel core, as opposed to the plastic core).  I don’t remember what grit number they are, but they are classified fine and extra fine.  Those stones, with some honing oil and a leather strop impregnated with polishing compound is all I seem to need to provide razor sharp tools.

      That being said, there is much to be said for achieving a mirror finish.  And it all has to do with stress.  Not the stress you get from your boss but the stress that’s defined as force divided by area.  When a tool is sharpened,  there are always valleys and peaks.   When the tool is used, force is placed upon those peaks, resulting in a certain stress.  These peaks will bend when the tool is used and then recover when the load is removed.   When the stress reaches the ultimate tensile strength of the steel, it stays deformed, and results in a dull tool.  The cure is to reduce both the number of peaks as well as the height of those peaks…..anything to reduce the stress.

      Sharpening through the grits and then polishing does this (thus the mirror finish), and the tool stays sharp longer.  The trick is to balance the time it takes to sharpen with the frequency of sharpening.  For me, this has meant that I put away my waterstones and my Tormek for everything except the initial establishment of the edge and use the diamond stones and leather strop.  It takes me less that 2 minutes to resharpen  a chisel or plane iron and that includes the time it takes to pull the stones down and to put them back.

    • Avatar Of JohnJohn
      Post count: 2

      Thank you for making a partial refund Joshua.    It’s a pity I had to resort to hounding you

      will you now be telling all uk buyers that they will be charged vat plus post of handling charge plus vat ??

      thanks John

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