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Poor man's Scary sharp tool Sharpening system?

Discussion in 'Tools and Materials' started by wau5, 6 Jun 2017.

  1. wau5

    wau5

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    I have been researching about what kind of sharpening stuff to buy for sharpening my chisels/plane irons - currently I only got sandpaper.
    I think I have found what I want but got few more questions, this is the stuff I want to buy:
    I want to get stuff that would last me a lifetime and be of good quality + in the same time I want to get a system that would produce a scary-sharp results.

    1- Honing guide , What would you say be a better buy a cheap NEW £7 faithfull brand guide OR an used Vintage Eclipse 36 guide which also costs the same? From the pictures the old Eclipses look good but with the cheap NEW faithfull guide I don't see anything wrong either,maybe anyone has used that cheap faithfull one? I would love to get the veritas one but that's just way out of my budget so I'm stuck between those 2 choices.

    2- Sharpening stone &strop , I think I will go for the Combination medium-fine norton Indian stone which can be had for about £10 from ebay in tatty old box, Would that be a good choice? Or I can get something way better than that if I add something a bit more?
    -Also what's the ideal length of a sharpening stones? is 15cm long enough or I want a 20cm one if I will be using it with honing guide?

    I do not want the diamond plates as I understand they wear down with time and are not a life-time tool + good ones cost insane amounts.
    From what I have read I understand you really don't need many sharpening stones if you use a leather strop and compound as well?

    Would it be enough to get very good results If I only had a good combination stone (medium/fine) stone + a strop?
    as for strop I was thinking of just taking some piece of leather and using Autosol metal polish you can get for a pound from Homebargains store- I read a lot of people use that?

    Any ideas/comments on such setup would be highly appreciated.
    Thanks.
     
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  3. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Strops are great if you plan to shave with your chisels.

    Otherwise a belt sander
     
  4. chappers

    chappers

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    a tenner for an india stone sounds cheap, the one I have cost twice that 25 years ago.
    I have a veritas system and it does work well and can also automatically put a secondary bevel on a chisel.
    I would get a diamond stone if I were you they stay much flatter.
    To be honest my site chisels pretty much all get done on the belt sander nowadays and my decent workshop chisels just don't get used
     
  5. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Then you'll be disappointed because absolutely no sharpening systen out there lasts forever. For example I have medium quality diamond stones which replaced my previous set. They did 10 years and were trickled down to an apprentice. I expect that they'll do him maybe 5 to 6 more years (carpenters resharpen chisels a lot!). Hardly a lifetime. Current set were £80 (approx.) for two double sided stones.

    Scary Sharp is a particular system - it requires a sheet of float glass and emery paper, but it won't last a lifetime either because the emery paper has a limited lifespan. It is a good way to achieve a very sharp cutter for an amateur with no real experience of sharpening and doing relatively limited woodworking (in trade terms) - and is almost foolproof. Even diamond stones won't produce results as good as Scary Sharp, and although waterstones will match or even surpass it they come with a high cost and require a lot of babying. India stones won't give you anywhere near the level of absolute sharpness that float glass and 1500 grit carborundum can achive - and they will hollow over time, too - but they can produce an acceptable result

    AFAIK the Eclipse guide is still made (by Spear & Jackson), although I don't think they call it the #36 these days. A cheapo guide will be just that. I've tried a couple - they work but may require a bit of fine tuning to get them to do their job. Plenty of articles on the web about tuning the Eclipse-type jig - including one on the Lie-Neilsen site. BTW I've used the Veritas system - very nice jigs, accurate, but expensive

    No. A new stone will be flat and cut properly. An old stone may have been abused (clogged) and not cut properly. It will probably not be flat, either. Without any experience you won't really know how well or badly these things should work so stop trying to be a cheapskate and get a decent quality new stone - it will potentially only bring you more grief if you don't.

    BTW a Norton India combi stone will sharpen, but to take nicks out of the edges of tools you will probably also need a coarser Carborundum stone as well. Never had a nick? In time you will!

    It's a matter of how wide your irons or chisels are and what your preferences are. Ideally the stone needs to be at least as wide as the widest blade you'll ever sharpen on it. My own preference (in diamond) is for an 8 x 3in stone, as that will handle the lwidest of plane irons easily, especially if "figure 8" freehand sharpening/honing. In the past I've worked with 8 x 2in stones without problems, though (on narrower blades). 6in stones are really for small tools, e.g. knives, spokeshave irons, etc

    They do wear, but Norton and Carborundum stones wear as well (more) and water stones wear a LOT faster. At least diamond plates can NEVER go hollow! Face it, no sharpening product is a "lifetime tool"

    In planing rough timber you will periodically pick-up grit where the timbers have been moved along the ground in the timber yard. That can and will nick your plane irons. When that happens you will need to grind-out the nick (i.e. remove a relatively large amount of steel, up to 1 or 2mm at times). For that you'll need a coarse stone or a bench grinder to achieve anything worthwhile in a reasonable amount of time. Once ground the primary bevel will need to be sharpened and honed which requires a medium, then a fine stone. Finally, a secondary (micro) bevel will need to applied to the blade, again with the fine stone. NONE of this can be achieved by honing with a strop. Honing will allow you to keep your edge sharp between regrinds, but eventually you'll need to touch-up the secondary bevel on the stone and from time to time the primary bevel as well (when the secondary bevel is getting too big). Site carpenters often learn the trick of using a figure-8 motion to touch-up blades - it evens out wear over more of the stone than a fore and aft motion (what you get with a honing guide) thus reducing/slowing down hollowing of the stone. It is also easier to maintain the correct angles this way without the need to carry a honing jig - important if you have to lug a heavy tool kit about all day long (where every 1gm saved is worthwhile)

    An example: If I'm chopping out lock mortises in joinery grade redwood I'll probably need to touch-up (resharpen the secondary bevel) at the start of each new lock recess - in oak I'll be touching-up my chisel(s) every 5 to 10 cuts, or even more often. Soft, stringy CLS will require ultra-sharp chisels ground to a lower than normal angle to get decent cuts, but the shallower angle means that the edge is less strong and it that it will generally require more frequent honing to keep things sharp and cutting well

    You'll get acceptable results. Not the best, from an India stone alone. Stropping will improve the sharpness a bit (at the risk of dubbing the edge over) and valve paste with an old leather strap glued onto a board (remember you'll need to preserve the cutting angle) and do the job. Body polish is probably a bit too fine.

    Note the grits: Carborundum is circa 150~180 grit, India combi stone is circa 240 and 400 grit. In comparison my diamonds are 300/600 and 1000/1200 grits, my waterstones go up to 8000 grit (which gives a mirror polish). Scary Sharp is generally quoted as going up to between 1200 and 2500 grit. For general work 400 grit is good enough - for cabinet work you need to be at 1000 or 1200 grits as a minimum

    My site chisels get sharpened from time to time at home on a belt sharpening system (Sorby) with a bench grinder on hand to take out really big nicks (for a working carpenter time is money). Out on site I use a pair of diamond hones from ITS (buy when they are on sale - much cheaper) but I rarely hone above 1000 grit. My "no.1" bench chisels (Ashley Iles) are sharpened and polished on waterstones but aren't taken out of the shop. I started out "back in the day" with a Carborundum coarse stone and a Norton India combi stone and used that type of set-up for about 20 years before experimenting with all manner of systems. I settled on diamonds for site use about 20 years ago as the best compromise between price, durability (mine get carted round in the back of a van - and fused, ceramic or waterstones can all fracture with rough handling), and performance. And also because they always remain dead flat

    Everyone has different preferences, so pick a system and stick with it until you are confident enough to decide if you want/need anything better. As I said above the sharpness you require depends on th nature of the work you are doing as well as the material - a chisel sharpened to 400 works OK in redwood, but sharpened to 1200 grit the same chisel cuts cleaner and a bit faster and the edge lasts a bit longer. A carbon steel chisel sharpened on a waterstone to 8000 grit will take a wafer-thin whispy shaving - not much use on a site install but handy for cabinetmaking
     
    Last edited: 11 Jun 2017
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  7. Chud

    Chud

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    As far as stropping goes you can get very good results with a piece of MDF and some polishing paste (e.g. autosol or cheap diamond paste). In fact there's quite a few folk that advise against using leather strops for chisels and plane blades as it can dub the edge (round it over).

    Stropping can be the difference between a nice clean cut and a mess of tear out - true it's not going to be quite so critical if you're chopping mortises in softwood but it's something I always do. Check out Paul Sellers blog/YouTube, he has a lot of handy advice on sharpening.
     
  8. Chud

    Chud

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    FYI my system is currently as follows:
    cheap basic honing guide (forge steel?)
    Coarse diamond plate from screwfix (£3.99) - lubricated with glass cleaner
    4000 Water Stone
    8000 Water Stone
    MDF strop with 5 micron diamond paste
    Thin leather strop laminated to MDF (smooth side up) with 1 micron paste - very light passes on bevel side only.

    To flatten the backs I tend to use wet and dry on a piece of float glass.
     
  9. chappers

    chappers

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    Nice round up JaK. I used to be meticulous about my sharpening, but hardly do any cabinet type work now so have become a lot more lax.
    Sharpening is something you learn and someone who is good at it can get better results with lesser equipment than someone who doesn't know what they're doing with the best gear.
    As I have said my site sharpening regime now revolves around the belt sander(hears gasps) and a trend fast track modified with a 1000 grit diamond glued on, for honing, but it does me fine.

    If I know I am going to be working in any decent hardwoods then I will go back to basics I regrind on a carborundum then 600 then 1000 diamond, touching up with the fast track during work.
     
  10. Roger928

    Roger928

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    I use a DMT double sided diamond plate and finish on a flat surface with 2500 wet and dry sandpaper.
    Which I believe takes it down to about 8 micron and leaves a mirror finish.
     
    Last edited: 8 Jun 2017
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