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violins88

Hone most used by violin and bowmakers

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The two criteria that I have used as a guide in knife making are ease of sharpening and edge retention. Violin makers won’t use a steel if it takes too long to sharpen. When I asked my metallurgist how ease of sharpening is measured, he said there is no standard.

So I would like to ask you what hone materials you use, and what grit. I use Shapton 2000 and 4000. And a 4000/6000 grit wet disc.

Thanks in advance. This information will be very useful.

 

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I've heard the Shapton stuff is quite nice.   I know several makers using them.  I still use my King deluxe stones (1200/8000).  I have  no complaints about the edges and its a pretty fast hone.  I level them every now and then with a diamond flattening plate.

 

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I have a Viel belt grinder, which I use with several grades of 3M Trizact belts down to 6 micron as well as a leather belt charged with green compound. I use this for certain tools only, like gouges (in combination with King slipstones) and fingerplane blades, as well as sharpening curved scrapers. For knives, chisels, and plane irons I use three grades of Sigma Power Select II Japanese waterstones - 1k, 6k, and 10k. I do not strop straight edged tools after the 10k stone, as I have found it too easy to round the edge (my technique is to blame here, I'm sure) and the finish off the 10k is plenty sharp enough. 

The sigma stones were designed for modern alloys like high speed steels, etc. They cut (and wear) very quickly. They make short work of everything I've thrown at them.

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I use a CBN grinder for primary bevels and DMT diamond stones for sharpening followed by stropping the edge on the leather wheel of a Tormek as described by John Cockburn.  Sharpening must be done as fast as possible unless it is a hobby.

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I use the 1000-3000-8000 water stones Lie Nielsen carry plus a leather strop for quick touchup for plane blades, and chisels. 
 

Use a diamond plate and strop for gouges. 

But at one point I broke down and purchased a wicked edge sharpening system for my pocket knives, so I use that for my bench knives. Think I have up through 1600 or 2000 grit and then leather strops with compound paste. 
 

Probably would just use the stones if I didnt already have the Wicked Edge setup. 

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There's not one answer for all blades, except that stropping is good for most occasions because of how it moves material to fine the edge through burnishing.  I've found that the DMT 8000 plate can be counterintuitively counterproductive.  I highly recommend that everybody mine this site:  https://scienceofsharp.com/  thoroughly before  making up their minds, and look closely at the SEM microphotography there.  This is later, more cutting-edge (P.I. :D) research than in any of the sharpening books  in common use.  :)

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I use Japanese  waterstones, and for most things they're  excellent.  

I do like high speed  steel  for ebony, and the waterstones are too soft, and seem to leave a poor finish. So I finish on a piece of grainy glass, the face of my muller, with Tormec paste.

I saw a few of your knives John, and I loved them. Hope to get some soon!

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26 minutes ago, Urban Luthier said:

I use the green honing compound

I make my own from chromium oxide and beeswax.  I have a kilogram of the oxide that I got for a particular step in sword polishing where you make the steel darken selectively. 

Good stuff.

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5 hours ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

I've heard the Shapton stuff is quite nice.   I know several makers using them.  I still use my King deluxe stones (1200/8000).  I have  no complaints about the edges and its a pretty fast hone.  I level them every now and then with a diamond flattening plate.

 

Same here.

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I’ve tried a few different things, such as oil stones, Japanese water stones, DMT diamond plates, and a leather wheel on an Alberti disc sander, but I’ve found I’ve had the most success and ease with Belgian stones. I have a blue stone and a yellow stone, and they cut quickly. I do use a leather strop to touch up edges between honing sessions. 

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7 hours ago, Conor Russell said:

I use Japanese  waterstones, and for most things they're  excellent.  

I do like high speed  steel  for ebony, and the waterstones are too soft, and seem to leave a poor finish. So I finish on a piece of grainy glass, the face of my muller, with Tormec paste.

I saw a few of your knives John, and I loved them. Hope to get some soon!

Your grainy glass piques my interest. 3 micron cbn paste works on cast iron. It would be nice if it worked on glass too.

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In my experience knives, plane blades, gouges and chisels all need different approaches when honing. And honing guides are essential in the process if the optimum result is desired.

Diamond plates wear flat and lose their bite quite quickly. In my experience, when they are new, there always seem to be a few diamond points much higher than the general level which leave deep scratches which are obvious when lapping chisel or plane blade backs. However they make excellent flatness indicator plates when worn. And of course they are convenient to use wet or dry. Good option for establishing an accurate honing bevel for gouges which can then be finished using finer water stones.

I've found King and Shapton stones perform well, but I have a 5000 Shapton which does not seem to work as well as it should. The only way to keep the optimum cutting speed of water stones is to dress them regularly and the easiest way to do that is with a diamond plate.

Veritas iron honing plates used in conjunction with diamond honing compound and kerosene will produce excellent results for plane blades and chisels. If the honing bevel is kept narrow I've found it the best and most convenient way to go. I've just sharpened some plane blades and chisels using the saw table top as a running surface for my honing guides. Very easy clean-up with a bit of paper towelling.

I'm currently doing some fairly delicate woodwork and honed the blades of an old but good Stanley number 5, a Veritas bevel-down Jack, and a Veritas bevel-up block. I found adjusting the old Stanley for a very fine cut no problem. But adjusting the Veritas planes with the Norris style adjuster (I think it's called) is a real problem, especially with the bevel-down Jack. Veritas make some very nice stuff, but the adjuster is a totally unnecessary disaster. The screw should be confined to a depth adjuster, not a lateral adjuster as well. That can easily be done by hand.

Getting back to knife honing I can't see a better approach to knife sharpening than using a disc and honing guide set-up for final honing. I would add that I use diamond honing paste grades of 6 , 3 and 1 micron.

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7 minutes ago, Dennis J said:

Veritas make some very nice stuff, but the adjuster is a totally unnecessary disaster. The screw should be confined to a depth adjuster, not a lateral adjuster as well. That can easily be done by hand

I couldn't disagree more. Perhaps you haven't got the hang of it? I find it rather easy and repeatable.

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Yeah, Jackson. I was a bit surprised myself. I had most trouble with the Veritas bevel-down Jack which I haven't used much at all. Mind you, I was after a very slight tilt of the blade and a very small projection. I don't know whether it had something to do with the little centring screws near the mouth, perhaps a bit of gummy stuff somewhere, but I gave up and picked up the old number 5, which is what I should have done in the first place. But my overall opinion of the Veritas has not altered. I think the general design has some shortcomings. It is top heavy, and the adjuster is too long and awkward. Overall I think is a step back from the old style bevel-down planes which they have definitely not improved on. The old planes had a certain amount of spring in the cap iron and thin blades and the lateral lever adjustment worked surprisingly well under the right amount of friction pressure.

 

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7 minutes ago, Dennis J said:

Yeah, Jackson. I was a bit surprised myself. I had most trouble with the Veritas bevel-down Jack which I haven't used much at all. Mind you, I was after a very slight tilt of the blade and a very small projection. I don't know whether it had something to do with the little centring screws near the mouth, perhaps a bit of gummy stuff somewhere, but I gave up and picked up the old number 5, which is what I should have done in the first place. But my overall opinion of the Veritas has not altered. I think the general design has some shortcomings. It is top heavy, and the adjuster is too long and awkward. Overall I think is a step back from the old style bevel-down planes which they have definitely not improved on. The old planes had a certain amount of spring in the cap iron and thin blades and the lateral lever adjustment worked surprisingly well under the right amount of friction pressure.

 

Fair enough. I respect your assessment. I have enjoyed using my veritas fore plane and block, and seem to have little difficulty getting them where I want them. But they aren't perfect, certainly. Once I played with a friend's Japanese style pull planes. Very thick, short irons held with a wedge, adjustable all sorts of ways with little taps of a hammer. That may be the best setup I've tried, but I'm already invested in Western planes. 

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I think Norris adjusters can work fine. I can't really find any fault with the ones fitted to the Veritas and Clifton block planes. On the other hand, I found the Norris adjuster fitted to the Quangsheng low angle jack plane absolutely awful. 

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I've had another look at my Veritas bevel-down Jack. I took it apart, put it back together, laid it base down on a few sheets of newspaper and tried adjusting the blade. This time I didn't have a problem with fine adjustment so I don't know what was going on before. So my main argument about difficulty with adjustment may have been a bit off the mark.

However, I think using the low-angle block Norris adjuster is without doubt awkward, probably because of the screw-down lever cap with the floating washer type of arrangement. All that is necessary for lateral blade adjustment on a low-angle block plane with a fixed depth screw is a light tap on either side of the blade.

I know the Norris adjuster has a long history and it is a clever looking device, but is it really necessary. In the days of heavy infill planes it might have been advantageous. But then again it might have been more gimmick than useful innovation.

 

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