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Thread: Sharp Enough

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Orange Park, FL
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    Sharp Enough

    I spent a good while sharpening my LV BU Jack Plane. I tested the edge with my thumb nail several times and it never seemed sharp enough. I pulled out my 45d shooting board, chopped a 45 on a piece of red oak and took a swipe. A curl of wood as long and as wide as the 45 peeled from the oak.
    It seems I never feel an iron is sharp enough. I have to remember the enemy of damn good is just a little bit better.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Coweta County, GA
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    get a burr, then hone. then stop.

  3. #3
    Yeah, if you follow your sharpening procedure methodically through the steps then the blade is as sharp as it's going to get. Doing it again doesn't make it sharper.

  4. #4
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    I can never recall being able to feel a burr on any sharening I have ever done. I always take a couple of swipes on the iron backside but I have yet to feel the elusive burr.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Thompson View Post
    I can never recall being able to feel a burr on any sharening I have ever done. I always take a couple of swipes on the iron backside but I have yet to feel the elusive burr.
    Same here. There must be something wrong with my technique or my thumb is just numb

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    San Bernardino
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    Try using your ring finger or middle finger. They are not usually as calloused.

  7. #7
    Jerry-
    Get yrself a $5 jeweler's loupe. It helped show me how consistent my edge was. Once you 'get' it a couple times right, it's like riding a bike; you wonder how you COULDn't do it before...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    The burr is mostly produced on the pull stroke.

    I often hone without pulling the blade across my stones, hence no burr to notice.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Waco, Texas
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    I have just the opposite experience with one of my block planes. Shaved great, planed the face of some soft maple easily, making thin shavings, etc. But it still bounces and stutters across the soft maple end grain. I've yet to get a plane sharp enough to shave the maple end grain. I guess it seemed sharp enough, but wasn't!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Chattanooga, TN
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    Jerry-
    Get yrself a $5 jeweler's loupe. It helped show me how consistent my edge was. Once you 'get' it a couple times right, it's like riding a bike; you wonder how you COULDn't do it before...
    I agree entirely. I use an inexpensive loupe a lot and find it quite fascinating, and was surprised at how much you can see. I was also surprised that you can see the wear edge show up, as well as its removal as you resharpen. At some point I may get to where I rely on my process and technique alone, but until then it is no effort to take a peek and see what is going on.

    Paul

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    The burr is mostly produced on the pull stroke.jtk
    Good point, it's drawing the steel that forms the burr.
    I look at the edge with a bright light source from overhead.

    If I can see light glinting on the edge, that's a flat spot.
    If the edge looks black - no reflection.

    I test with a sheet of paper.
    If it cuts the paper cleanly, it's ready.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Longview WA
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    But it still bounces and stutters across the soft maple end grain.
    End grain is a different story all together.

    Sometimes even with the minimal cut, shaving end grain gets me to wanting some ear plugs.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  13. #13
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    denatured alcohol on end grain will do you wonders..... This makes the plane act like a tool that you didnt know you owned...

    And sometimes the burr cant be felt, but it is there.... Even on my king stones ( which I can not wait to upgrade ) I can get a fantastic hone ..... Learn your technique, stick to it and the results will occur... now If i could just get my pocketknife as sharp as my square edged irons and chisels...

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. Callaway View Post
    denatured alcohol on end grain will do you wonders..... This makes the plane act like a tool that you didnt know you owned...
    I will give it a try. Thanks!

  15. #15
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    I also think that you develop the feel for the burr over time. When I started sharpening, I felt the same way in that everyone felt one, but it eluded me. Now, I seem to be able to detect the slightest one using the pad of my index finger.

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