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Thread: How do you sharpen your edges?

  1. #1
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    How do you sharpen your edges?

    There is a water stone thread going, I do not want to hi-jack it.

    I have an oil stone, diamond plates, and a granite slab with sand paper on it and water stones.

    Being lazy, I use the diamond hones. I keep one out on the bench and keep my edges sharp.

    The granite slab with wet sand paper on it will make edges insanely sharp.

  2. #2
    Lowell,

    You wrote: The granite slab with wet sand paper on it will make edges insanely sharp. Yes, indeed. My "sharpening station" for many years has been PSA backed sandpaper on a Corian cutoff. It stores very easily and is always ready to go without fuss or mess (well, a few drops of water) But I would like to know more about your diamond hones. What sizes and what grits?

    I avoid participating in sharpening threads but I just had to chime in. IMHO sandpaper sharpening is clearly the least expensive and most effective method. I have fantasized about a Tormek but I don't think I would get sharper edges in return for the expense and space requirement. But I am curious about how diamond hones fit into your system.

    Doug

  3. #3
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    Oooohhhh Lowell, you don't know what you've done! Pandora's Box cannot be closed!

    Just kidding. I've stayed out of the sharpening threads so far since I haven't felt that I could have any valuable input thus far but I'll jump into this one. I think I have enough experience now to have some helpful comments.

    I use diamond plates and then I finish on a Spyderco ceramic stone. I tried one of the extra-fine diamond plates but I found that it didn't leave the fine polish that I was after--the edge was still a little scratchy. After some research I found that a lot of these stones had "rogue diamond particles" that were bigger than the rest, and since it's a diamond stone they don't wear down. I was reluctant to use the ceramic stones at first because I heard that they were pretty slow in cutting but after playing around with other sharpening mediums I think anything as fine as a few microns or less is going to cut slow. The ceramic stone cuts about as fast as the extra-fine diamond stone did and leaves a better finish.

    I've used sandpaper quite a bit for lapping backs or heavier grinding but most of the sandpaper I tried lost its cutting ability very quickly.

    Water stones sound nice and I bet they work quickly since they're friable but I don't have a dedicated sharpening station and would rather not deal with the mess. I've used oil stones before, and I like the finish they leave but they aren't very fast.

    On the whole, I've been very happy with diamond stones--they cut quickly, never need to be lapped, and aren't very messy. The only other medium I would consider is water stones but for that I would want a dedicated sharpening area due to the mess. I know the Shapton glass stones don't require soaking, which would be nice, but that setup would cost more than my current setup which only requires 2 stones--one double-sided diamond stone and a ceramic stone.

    As for lapping backs? The only way to do it without a powered machine is silicon carbide grit or diamond paste on a plate. I wouldn't waste my time with sandpaper again.

    My next purchase will probably be some sort of powered sharpening device, like a Worksharp. I've used a friend's before and it definitely saves some time and effort even though I'd still finish on a stone or strop.

  4. #4
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    When I am making something, I keep a diamond hones out behind me so I can turn around and touch up an edge when I need too.
    I have a Paul Sellers raw hide on wood charged with honing compound out as well. When an edge needs attention, I simply turn
    around, strop it on the rawhide and continue working.

    Paul always kept the same set up I just described out on his bench when he was at Homestead Heritage in Waco, Texas.
    Then the Limey went home to England. IIRC, I purchased the wood/leather strop from his son while attending a session.

    I also use the scary sharp method you describe.
    https://video.search.yahoo.com/searc...3&action=click
    Last edited by lowell holmes; 08-19-2017 at 10:25 AM.

  5. #5
    Water stones followed by natural water stones.

    I also use oil stones because they retain their dimensions better than water stones and so they work nicely for slip stones.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  6. #6
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    I'm new to this and know next to nothing, so when I started reading about sharpening it was overwhelming. Completely overwhelming. So, for simplicity, and to keep things as mess-free as possible, I adopted Paul Seller's diamond stones and strop method.
    Granite plate and sandpaper for restoring bevels and such.

  7. #7
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    I use waterstones (switched to Sigma Power something or another from Stu after using King stones for a number of years) for normal sharpening and have a double sided diamond plate for coarse work and back flattening. I also use sandpaper on a piece of glass for real basic flattening and shaping (barely showing on the right hand edge of the photo). Sometime last year I added a piece of MDF with the green Lee Valley honing compound to the collection for stropping, but I cannot truthfully say I see any improvement after use so I have slowly tended to forget to use it. Here is a photo of my sharpening station that stays set up for use. The three tubs have water with a few drops of bleach in each for a 10 minute soak of the three stones I use before first use of the day and the sharpening takes place on a 2'x2' or so square of (I believe) Delrin that I scored somewhere to keep the water mess off of the bench. I use a Diaflat (or something like that) diamond plate for water stone flattening (only) and keep an older Eclipse guide handy for resetting the angle from time to time. I do not have running water in the shop so I keep a small squirt bottle for wetting the stones if needed and have a loaded up garden hose with a squirter attached laying on the ground outside the shop entry door for a quick power wash to clear off the flattening sludge from the stones and flattening diamond plate.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    David

  8. #8
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    I've been using oil stones since I moved to a shop without running water about a year ago. For normal sharpening I start with a fine india stone, then a soft arkansas, and finish with a translucent arkansas followed by a few strops on bare leather. I regularly condition the india and soft ark with diamond plates to keep them cutting fast, but leave the translucent alone.

    I really like this setup and it even seems to work well on Japanese tools (at least the WS #2 stuff I have). The edges are very good, though the polish is not as impressive and mirror-like as from a Shapton 15k (my previous finishing stone). In fact my edges seem to perform better and last longer since I switched - I haven't done strict comparisons and I changed other things at the same time (going completely freehand, for example), so I'm not making any definitive statements, but at least for carbon steels they work extremely well.

    For scenarios outside of normal sharpening I have a few other items:

    I have a few A2 and PM-V11 blades...for these I sharpen as normal on the india and soft ark but finish on a Spyderco UF ceramic, which actually has a very similar feel to a translucent ark.

    For heavy flattening work I use a roll of 80 grit PSA on an 18" long granite reference plate. From there I usually refine the scratch pattern on a 220 diamond stone, then go to the kitchen and use my old Shapton 1k to really dial it in. The Shapton 1k, BTW, is an amazing stone, removing material quickly while leaving a reasonable scratch pattern that is not much work to refine on finer stones. The fine india leaves a similar scratch pattern (once broken in) but is not nearly as fast for flattening a back or serious bevel work. It's still fast enough for normal sharpening though.

    Oh, and I grind flat primary bevels on a 4x36 stationary belt sander with a homemade jig (I think the jig was inspired by one of Derek Cohen's old setups). It would be nice to just have a normal wheel grinder and do a typical hollow grind, but this setup works well enough that I haven't felt a pressing need. In any case, it really helps with oil stones to have only a small amount of steel to work.

  9. #9
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    How do you sharpen your edges?
    That depends on a few things including what time of year it is and what is kind of edge is being worked.

    During the warm months, when the water in my shop isn't frozen, my water stones get the bulk of the work. They are often in a tub of water soaking and ready to go. Occasionally the summer heat evaporates the water in the tub. There is a gallon milk jug to hold water for times like this. There is also a spray bottle to keep the stones wet. My main set are 1000, 4000 & 8000 grit stones. This is often followed by a few licks on a strop using a green compound. Though this brings edge to an amazing sharpness my mind occasionally ponders the possibility of a finer stone taking it to the next level, whatever that may be. Then my mind usually wonders off on to some other curiosity.

    For colder months and when there is only one or two blades to touch up my oilstones come into play. For this my prefered coarse stones are Washitas or soft Arkansas stones. My India stone seems to take forever to remove any metal. Next is a hard Arkansas. This is my 3"X10" monster that can tackle just about anything. It is usually followed by a translucent Arkansas. Next depending on which edge is being worked it is given a few strokes on a jasper polishing stone. This will bring it as close to a mirror edge as any oilstone in my experience before stropping. Then maybe a few licks on a strop.

    Kitchen knives are sharpened via either above method. In a kitchen drawer are two diamond stones, one fine one extra fine, they keep the knives maintained between major sharpening sessions which take place about twice a year.

    For major cases of metal removal there are two options. One is a 4' granite slab with PSA backed abrasive material from rolls. The other is the Veritas Mk.11 Power Sharpening System which uses abrasive sheets in disk form.

    For gouges and carving tools most of my slip stones are oilstones, but there are a few water stone slip stones in my accumulation.

    Other than non-woodworking tools that covers most things.

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

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Eisenhauer View Post
    I use waterstones (switched to Sigma Power something or another from Stu after using King stones for a number of years) for normal sharpening and have a double sided diamond plate for coarse work and back flattening. I also use sandpaper on a piece of glass for real basic flattening and shaping (barely showing on the right hand edge of the photo). Sometime last year I added a piece of MDF with the green Lee Valley honing compound to the collection for stropping, but I cannot truthfully say I see any improvement after use so I have slowly tended to forget to use it. Here is a photo of my sharpening station that stays set up for use. The three tubs have water with a few drops of bleach in each for a 10 minute soak of the three stones I use before first use of the day and the sharpening takes place on a 2'x2' or so square of (I believe) Delrin that I scored somewhere to keep the water mess off of the bench. I use a Diaflat (or something like that) diamond plate for water stone flattening (only) and keep an older Eclipse guide handy for resetting the angle from time to time. I do not have running water in the shop so I keep a small squirt bottle for wetting the stones if needed and have a loaded up garden hose with a squirter attached laying on the ground outside the shop entry door for a quick power wash to clear off the flattening sludge from the stones and flattening diamond plate.
    Nice setup, David. Similar to my own, but I don't have a pretty sheet of delrin, just roofing rubber.

    Have you tried these for holding your stones? I used wooden holders w/wedges for a long time, but a friend let me use one of his and I haven't looked back. Very stable. Gives the hand a bit more clearance on the sides than just putting the stone flat on the rubber.


    You might consider using Borax instead of bleach in your water. Very corrosive. Borax will make the water mosquitoe and algae proof, but a bit alkali so it won't promote corrosion. If you sharpen your blades every day, not a problem, but traces of the chlorine remain on the steel after the water evaporates, and can cause problems with blades put away for weeks or months.

    I understand using a diamond plate to flatten the stones, but they are pricey for such a lowly task IMO. If you keep two grits of each stone soaked and ready to go, you can switch a hollowed stone for a flat stone and keep sharpening. When both are just a little hollow, rub one against the other to flatten them. Doesn't cost any money, and you flatten two stones at the same time. And there is zero risk of grit contamination.

    Two cents.

    Stan

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Hepler View Post
    IMHO sandpaper sharpening is clearly the least expensive and most effective method.
    It's important to distinguish between start-up costs (i.e. what you have to invest before you can sharpen your first tool) and ongoing costs (cost per incremental sharpening after the first).

    Sandpaper sharpening is indeed the least expensive by far in terms of start-up cost, but it's also the most expensive in terms of ongoing costs. When you buy a set of waterstones or oilstones you're buying the equivalent (in abrasive life) of hundreds or thousands of sheets of sandpaper, depending on grit # and binder hardness. With the stone you have to pay for all of that abrasive up front, whereas with sandpaper you pay as you go, but the sandpaper definitely costs more per sharpening when all costs (startup and ongoing) are amortized out over the equivalent of a stone's life.

    The only exception is at very low grit #s, say <200 or so. In that case the stone will have fairly limited life because it doesn't contain many "layers" of abrasive, and sandpaper becomes more competitive.

    The economics of a Tormek are basically the same as those of a stone, but you pay extra up front for a VERY big stone (that's shaped like a wheel :-), a motor, and some fancy jigs to make things go faster.
    Last edited by Patrick Chase; 08-19-2017 at 3:28 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    Water stones followed by natural water stones.
    "Sharpening for the one percent" :-)

    Full disclosure: While none of my sharpening gear individually costs as much as a quality JNat, I'm at least as bad as Brian. I have a weakness for high-quality cast iron laps with diamond paste, diamond lapping films, CBN wheels, and good synthetic waterstones. Like Brian I use oilstone slips. I also have waterstone slips that I ground to match specific frequently-used tools by cutting up nearly-used-up waterstones, though as Brian says those take more maintenance because they lose shape.
    Last edited by Patrick Chase; 08-19-2017 at 3:45 PM.

  13. #13
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    20170819_194054.jpg

    20170819_194101.jpg

    20170819_194014.jpg

    Click on an image for a better view.

    https://www.sharpeningsupplies.com/N...e-P69C126.aspx I'd recommend the 8 x 2 combination stone.

    Add a grinder for when and edge gets chipped.

    I've tried other things, because I'm very used to this (20 years now) the other options seems like expensive faffing about. I will also add autosol to leather or a block of wood if I want a really fine edge.

    One last thing, when I used to muck about with videos, I once got a nice comment about my honing "The honing technique looks very good, very clean and crisp."
    See comment number #4
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...king-a-log-bin
    Last edited by Graham Haydon; 08-19-2017 at 3:43 PM. Reason: Adding a link to "show off" :)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Haydon View Post
    One last thing, when I used to muck about with videos, I once got a nice comment about my honing "The honing technique looks very good, very clean and crisp."
    See comment number #4
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...king-a-log-bin
    That's a rare compliment indeed. I think he was/is right about body mechanics btw.

  15. #15
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    Agreed, I'm hoping to get back to my "non work" workbench soon, Patrick. Hopefully I'll further improve my planing. I think that log bin was perhaps the last thing I made in my own time, eager to get going again!

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