Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

sharpening plane blades


caerolle
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi Carol,

It is a truism that your most important tool is usually your vise/workbench/clamping system. Even though we don't usually give them much recognition (compared our handplanes, chisels and knives) a workholding system probably makes a bigger difference in the quality and ease of our work than any tool. They just aren't as glamorous. Your life will get much easier once that problem is solved.

Oftentimes, in a pinch, if the piece I am planing is large enough I can just place one end against any solid wall or object, often with a knee(s) or foot to help hold it in place. Sometimes having a "spacer block" of something with a lower profile between my workpiece and the wall helps to give more clearancre for a hand plane to run all the way down the board. Also, if you happen to have an appropriately shaped clamp, it can be attached to the opposite end of the board from the wall , right down near the floor, to keep it from tipping. Perhaps you have already figured some of this out. In the end it depends on what type of planing you are doing, how large the pieces are, etc. But a good workbench makes life easier.

As far as having been taught to use light pressure when hand sharpening with a stone (oil or water), that is correct. If you press too hard, especially when you are trying to get rid of the "wire edge" on a finer grit stone, it will tend to just curl the fine sharpened edge up under the pressure and make it difficult to get a truely sharp edge. Probably doesnt matter as much when doing a coarse cut to get your initial bevel/hollow grind or whatever. I would suspect that using high pressure on a strop is less likely to create a wire edge, so that is probably why they can get away with it.

In the end the sharpening system you decide to use will depend on your personal situation, finances, the nature of the work you will be doing (how often you must resharpen...usually not as big a deal with small stuff like violin work) and just what you feel most comfortable with and take a liking to.

Sometimes another factor is wether you can have a dedicated space where your sharpening equipment can just be left, or if it has to be easy to set up and take down. Also, how "dirty" and noisy you can afford to be.

For most of us you will note that we have some sort of powered system to at least do the "rough" ginding to get the inital bevel or hollow grind (although these days I do use a hand powered bench grinder which I find convenient for smaller work). That is always the hard part. Once that coarse grinding is done, the finer sharpening that comes next can easily be done by hand (or with a blade holding jig) by any hand method. Particularly if you are only sharpening the very front edge of the blade (or a little bit of the back edge also if you use a hollow grind like I do).

By the way, if you wish to avoid "powered grinding"  as I believe you mentioned earlier, you might eventually consider a hand powered grinder for your rough grinding...although they do take a few days to get used to. Some really top end cabinetmakers (of the "Zen" type ...:-)....like James Krenov) have used them and have produced some incredible work. Unless I am mistaken, I believe that some pretty good violin makers use them too. But the down side is that they do take a little time to learn to use, since they usually have a 1" wide wheel and so a wide plane blade must be sharpened with a side-to-side motion. You get used to it. The other issue is finding a good one. I found mine on ebay and re-built it, although I do see new ones advertised. On the plus side, my shop is quiet, sharpening requires almost no shop space (they usually clamp to the end of any table or bench), there is limited up front cost, and it is the fastest system I have ever used that can meet those requirements.

Although I have to say that those motorized Japanese waterstones are really sweet too.....

Kev

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, caerolle said:

Interesting. He puts a convex edge on the blade from front-to-back of the bevel. 

This works very well on a 'bevel down' plane- as the flat surface is the one which meets the wood. It doesn't do so well on a 'bevel up' plane.

The side to side camber is more about slightly rounding the points on either either corner...Probably more important in cabinet making than violin making.  It does no harm though,  imho 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

 -snip-

Edi, I may have said the 10k is overkill, but you'll notice I do still use it! I own the 13k as well and never noticed enough benefit to persist in using it. I do, however, do all my gouges and fingerplane blades on a 1x42" belt machine with trizact belts down to 6 micron, then strop periodically during use with a leather belt on the machine charged with LV green - for this purpose I definitely notice the benefit.

I started as a "scary sharp" man, using diamond film, and I'm a firm believer in it's efficacy. I adopted the stones because I enjoy the process of their use and maintenance. I realize that sounds crazy, but there it is. 

Hi Jackson - sounds good to me and I completely understand about the satisfaction of using a skill that one has mastered.

In violin-making class for 5 years I was surrounded by people who had very little hands-on skill. So I started looking for some way of helping them - and found Brent's article.

As I said I was a little sceptical as it looked too cheap and easy. It was - but it delivered a hair splitting edge quickly and consistently - and that one can't argue against.

cheers edi

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, edi malinaric said:

Hi Jackson - sounds good to me and I completely understand about the satisfaction of using a skill that one has mastered.

In violin-making class for 5 years I was surrounded by people who had very little hands-on skill. So I started looking for some way of helping them - and found Brent's article.

As I said I was a little sceptical as it looked too cheap and easy. It was - but it delivered a hair splitting edge quickly and consistently - and that one can't argue against.

cheers edi

 

When helping new students learn to sharpen, I usually get them set up with Brent's technique - in part so they don't make a mess of the shop stones that I have to clean up later! :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, edi malinaric said:

Hi Julian and Jackson - on the grit size for the final honing of the edge .

I have been shaving with a cut throat razor for 63 years. The leather honing strop is given a touch of green Chromium Oxide paste every couple of weeks or so. The equivalent grit is something like 60 000 (0.5 micron).

Believe me - you can feel the difference.

That grit-on-glass set-up I showed is the best thing since I last believed in Santa Claus. It starts off flat, stays flat, stays flat, stays...

- it sits on the end of the bench - always ready for a quick touch up.

The three grits are 1200 (15 micron), 4500 grit (5 micron) and 60 000 grit (0.5 micron) as recommended by Brent Beach. (Why waste time re-inventing the wheel when he's carried out all the testing)

Last thing at the end of the day I touch up all used edges - usually 10 strokes per grit - and put the tools away.

cheers edi

 

Edi, I suspect the culprit is the tool behind the tool, but every time I use my 8000 Shapton, I seem to lose some of the edge.  Thoughts as to what I might be doing wrong?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, caerolle said:

I level my stones after every use. Kills me to see all that grit run down the sink. :(  I think I might get use of more of the surface area with tool blades, though. With knives the ends mostly get knocked off with the diamond stone and washed down the sink.

I wonder about the higher grit, too. I am sure it puts a great polish on the edge, but I wonder if the thinness of the edge actually stays like it is off the stones. That has been discussed to some degree over the years on the knife forum I frequent, with of course strong opinions, or at least committed practices, on either side. Sure, going to really high grit, or stropping with compound and then smooth leather will give you a really, really sharp edge, but how long does that last, once you move from testing on paper to cutting tomatoes? Can depend on the steel and hardness, but can fall off pretty quickly then stay at that point for quite a while. I would think that pushing into wood rather than produce would be even harder on a really fine edge. But I could be wrong, too. :)

I finally -- after how many years I am too ashamed to admit -- that my Tormek honing wheels are pure gold.  My tools are mostly pretty good steel and I find 15 seconds on the wheel every hour or so is enough to keep the edge biting, even in the case of harder maple billets.  Many roads lead to  hone, but this is the best one I have found to date.  Then again, I am going to look into Edi's method.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

I finally -- after how many years I am too ashamed to admit -- that my Tormek honing wheels are pure gold.  My tools are mostly pretty good steel and I find 15 seconds on the wheel every hour or so is enough to keep the edge biting, even in the case of harder maple billets.  Many roads lead to  hone, but this is the best one I have found to date.  Then again, I am going to look into Edi's method.

Hi Julian - I'm jinxed. I began answering your previous post and half-way through it went AWOL. I shrugged my shoulders found this post and began answering both - again things disappeared.

OK - third time lucky.

i) the Shapton 8000. In my experience stones are pretty passive things, so the problem lies elsewhere. The prime suspect is your sharpening jig - keep that wheel off the stone surface. It will crush the surface 10 times quicker (at a guess) than the edge will shave it. As a result you never end up with a edge that's straightened straight across. The wheel is removing grit before it can sharpen the edge centre. Just check if the corners of the edge are sharper than the centre.

I've said it before -the huge plus for Grit-on-Glass is that it starts flat and never changes from flat! You never ever ever have to dress it flat - ever.

ii) In my mind - the TORMEK is a perfect tool for roughing out an edge. Once you have your edge square and hollow-ground it should be months before the Tormek needs to see it again.

Read Brent's page on the cutting edge wear is sobering - so little steel disappears after planing 800 feet of pine

http://www3.telus.net/BrentBeach/Sharpen/bladetest.html

- which is why that oh-so-fine grit used in GoG is so good at putting an edge back in place.

As an aside -  12 years back, maybe more, I bought one of those Japanese laminated blades. Sharpened it and popped it into my Stanley 4 1/2. I was bitterly disappointed with it - the edge wasn't a patch on the original Stanley blade. Eventually I bit the bullet and admitted that I had made a mistake. I replaced the original blade and gave the Japanese one away.

When I read the above I checked my plane and found that the original Stanley blade was laminated. I shudder to think how close I came to ditching it. Flea markets have given me another two - I'm a happy chappy - and still keeping my eyes open.

cheers edi

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, lawrence furse said:

Frictionite stones are not made anymore and have a strange history.  I bought mine direct from the company that was making them,  the American Hone Company, long since out of business.  They were known as the best hones available, it seems a lady was making them for that company,  she never revealed how she did it, and when she died the process was lost, no one could figure it out.  I actually talked to her on the phone, and bought two, which I still have,  they are my favorite stones.

I love mine two.  :) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Every time i look at this thread I learn something new. I'd love to try one of those frictionite stones

There appears to be as many sharpening methods, gigs, and systems as there are members here! The best advice I ever received about sharpening was from a tool maker who simply stated that one should pick a system they are comfortable with and stick with it.

That being said, learning to sharpen free hand is a real time saver. Like many here, I use a a gig on a Tormek (the only power tool in my shop) to re-grind worn blade square and follow up on a 1000 Shapton for primary bevel and polish on a shapton 16000. I also use the ruler trick on plane blade (see David Charlesworth video) that puts a very small back bevel on the underside of the blade. 3-4 passes on the 16K Shapton is all one needs. Never use the ruler trick on chisels however!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/16/2018 at 12:14 AM, Kev N said:

Hi Carol,

It is a truism that your most important tool is usually your vise/workbench/clamping system. Even though we don't usually give them much recognition (compared our handplanes, chisels and knives) a workholding system probably makes a bigger difference in the quality and ease of our work than any tool. They just aren't as glamorous. Your life will get much easier once that problem is solved.

<snip>

Kev

Thanks, Kev! Yes, trying to use a #6 plane on the edge of a 3/4" x 1-1/2" x 8' board using the set up I have is challenging. Unfortunately, it appears my bench is back-ordered, and I will not see it for at least two more weeks.

I actually dressed and sharpened the blade on my #6 tonight just using my waterstones, and it went pretty well, though it took a while. The blade was kind of messes up, even thought it was new, so I spent a fair amount of time squaring everything up. I started on a 150-grit stone, then moved to a 320, before finally moving to where I had planned to start, a 1000. I tried freehand, but decided to use my jig, and it all worked out pretty well. A grinder would be nice, and probably necessary if I did a lot of woodworking, but I think I can probably get by with my stones or perhaps a diamond plate or two. I won't be doing any hollow grinds with those, though. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/16/2018 at 2:01 AM, Martin McClean said:

This works very well on a 'bevel down' plane- as the flat surface is the one which meets the wood. It doesn't do so well on a 'bevel up' plane.

The side to side camber is more about slightly rounding the points on either either corner...Probably more important in cabinet making than violin making.  It does no harm though,  imho 

Although I am asking advice from violin makers, I am actually doing trim carpentry. So, the slight camber on joining and smoothing planes comes in handy for me, and I am probably going to put a big camber on a crap #4 Mennard's plane I have to use as a scrub plane (though it is really too small and light for that).

Thanks! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, caerolle said:

Nice jigs! Thanks! :)

 

45 minutes ago, caerolle said:

Nice jigs! Thanks! :)

Hi Caerolle - have some more.

http://www3.telus.net/BrentBeach/Sharpen/jigarch.html#userjigs

Note...

i) that they stay off the abrasive sheets and

ii) if you want to "soften" the edge you only have to press down on the one edge and then the other to achieve this. No curved roller required.

cheers edi

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...