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best budget waterstones? should I buy diamond levelers?


JesseBrano
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23 hours ago, Gino Yu said:

I second this. I’ve had them for almost 20yrs and have found nothing (quasi cheap) that compares. 

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18 hours ago, David Burgess said:

What is a "knee" on the blade of a knife?

not a straight edge, but with a bend.  An English Term?  they use it in Johnson and Courtnall's book.  I got the Hock violin knives and they are straight blades.  Wondering if there's a good technique to use before I ruin them.  Not cheap blades.

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39 minutes ago, JesseBrano said:

not a straight edge, but with a bend.  An English Term?  they use it in Johnson and Courtnall's book.  I got the Hock violin knives and they are straight blades.  Wondering if there's a good technique to use before I ruin them.  Not cheap blades.

I'd suggest leaving them straight. There are benefits from using knives with a curved profile, but you can do perfectly respectable bridge work with straight ones. 

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On 3/4/2021 at 9:18 PM, Gino Yu said:

 

19 hours ago, JPherson said:

I second this. I’ve had them for almost 20yrs and have found nothing (quasi cheap) that compares. 

Same here.

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46 minutes ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

I'd suggest leaving them straight. There are benefits from using knives with a curved profile, but you can do perfectly respectable bridge work with straight ones. 

Oh?  That's what I'll do then.  Thanks!

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Has anyone tried the spyderco ceramic stones? These are ultra-hard ceramic stones that require a bit of water and drop of soap for lubricant and clean up with soap and water - virtually no mess. 

I bought the the corse and fine slip stones to use at the bench to touch up between full sharpening, early testings has been very promising. 

60M2102-8000x-ceramic-stone-u-01-r.jpg

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I have a few Shapton stones which work very nicely. But I do have a fine purple one which does not seem to work as it should even after dressing with a diamond plate. Instead of using that I use a couple of cheap Japanese stones which are perfectly okay.

Have to laugh at the Paul Sellers vid. Sharpening to the high level required for bridge work tools can't be done with a few old diamond plates. Apart from the fact the cheap chisels probably couldn't take a very fine edge anyway his paper cutting test demonstrated how blunt they were. I doubt they could cut through newspaper smoothly. Perfectly okay for carpentry though.

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Dennis J said:

 

Have to laugh at the Paul Sellers vid. Sharpening to the high level required for bridge work tools can't be done with a few old diamond plates. 

 

 

I knew someone would come back with this. Laugh all you like, buddy. It works. 

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My setup is overkill, but allows me to spend minimal time sharpening and more time working. For my gouges, a reversible 1x42 belt sander with three belts: 80m, 6m, and leather charged with green compound. Lee valley traditional slipstones for the inside face. 

For everything else, I hollow grind on a self made 180 grit DC cbn wheel grinder with the Veritas grinding rest, then hone on 1k, 6k, and finally 10k Sigma Power II Select water stones. I flatten them with a diamond lapping plate. I used to flatten them with a plate of 1/2" tempered frosted glass.

I advise the combination stone mentioned by Holmes, lee valley slipstones, and some form of grinder with a good tool rest when you can. Otherwise you will need a very coarse stone to grind your bevel and flatten the backs of chisels and irons.

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13 minutes ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

I knew someone would come back with this. Laugh all you like, buddy. It works. 

I'm sure Paul Sellers is a very knowledgeable woodworker. But violin making does require very sharp tools.

As I said try the newspaper test and you will soon find out how sharp your cutting tools are. Any scratches, kinks, or remnants of wire edges on the cutting edge will soon become apparent.

A really sharp, smooth edge will slice through newspaper smoothly with a slight hissing sound. It's an infallible test of sharpness.

 

 

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All of my knives, with the exception of my soundhole knife, are curved. They can do everything a straight edge can do and some things they cannot. You will notice on the bridges of some top level setup cats that the chamfers evidence a very slight hollow produced by the curved blade. Furthermore, picking out very minute areas of a bridge foot or bass bar to slice off is substantially easier with a curved blade for reasons that I believe should be obvious.

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40 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

All of my knives, with the exception of my soundhole knife, are curved. They can do everything a straight edge can do and some things they cannot. You will notice on the bridges of some top level setup cats that the chamfers evidence a very slight hollow produced by the curved blade. Furthermore, picking out very minute areas of a bridge foot or bass bar to slice off is substantially easier with a curved blade for reasons that I believe should be obvious.

Yes, but the OP is just starting out. On his own, and without a teacher, presumably. So no-one to pull him out of the doo-doo if he starts to grind his nice new hock knives into curves and gets in a mess. He could learn to cut decent bridges with straight knives, and fine tune them later, when he has more experience and the grinding/sharpening confidence required. 

Sharpening threads on internet forums never end well....:D

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1 hour ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

Sharpening threads on internet forums never end well....:D

Yup, so I got my very simple advice in early, then ducked more questions.  Now everybody can start arguing the merits of artificial Kryptonite versus Belgian paving stones, or whatever the flavor of the week is, and spreading confusion in a very complicated area.  At least nobody told him to run right out and invest in a Tormek, or some bleeping thing.   Discussing sharpening, with some people, is like discussing religion or politics.  :lol:

Let the games begin...........  popcorn-and-drink-smiley-emoticon.gif.e92c70b86e3c2cd545587c9896786fa0.gif  whee.gif.aa7d8d37ec1b5c1dc0c852bb3bd28da2.gif

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1 hour ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

Yes, but the OP is just starting out. On his own, and without a teacher, presumably. So no-one to pull him out of the doo-doo if he starts to grind his nice new hock knives into curves and gets in a mess. He could learn to cut decent bridges with straight knives, and fine tune them later, when he has more experience and the grinding/sharpening confidence required. 

Sharpening threads on internet forums never end well....:D

I don't disagree, but I also don't see grinding a radiused edge as a difficult task. It was the first thing I was required to do in VM school and I had no prior experience. You draw the shape you want with a sharpie, set the grinder rest to 90°, and grind to the line cooling as necessary. Then you set the rest to your desired bevel and grind, switching back and forth until the faces meet. Not rocket surgery and I'm giving our new friend the benefit of the doubt on intelligence.

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Straight edge, curved edge, single sided bevel or double, jig or no jig. Not difficult but complicated. It's not really a five minute job, although a well honed cutting edge can be stropped quite a few times before it needs to go back to a stone or grinder. That's the benefit of getting the best possible edge to start with.

On top of that the quality of the steel is very important. The steel stock that a lot of tools are made of doesn't impress me. I don't think it is as good as the old forged cast steel tools of yesteryear. They are still around but one day will be very hard to find. It is possible to get a superior edge using the right stones on good quality steel, but what really matters is the end result. If it doesn't pass the newspaper test something is wrong.

 

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Thanks, guys, it's all valuable feedback for me.  What @Bodacious Cowboy said is just the thing.   Literally just staring out.  So I'll shoot to get some exp and level up...  I should be getting all my stuff in the next two days.   I'll see if I can get the tools I have to pass the newspaper test.  Even these cheap chisels :P

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13 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I don't disagree, but I also don't see grinding a radiused edge as a difficult task. It was the first thing I was required to do in VM school and I had no prior experience. You draw the shape you want with a sharpie, set the grinder rest to 90°, and grind to the line cooling as necessary. Then you set the rest to your desired bevel and grind, switching back and forth until the faces meet. Not rocket surgery and I'm giving our new friend the benefit of the doubt on intelligence.

Hi Jackson, I taught hobby violin making classes for many years. The students were far from dumb. Retired surgeons, dentists, architects, IT experts etc - many of them much smarter than me. It gave me a pretty good idea of what beginners tend to struggle with. 

As for sharpening, I was a dedicated water stone user for decades. I still use them (Sigmas like you, actually) if I'm restoring a tool to sell and I want the blades to look super shiny. I was pointed in the direction of diamond/strop sharpening a while back by a very well respected, top level restorer. It just works.

People are absolutely welcome to ignore my advice, but it's based on a lot of experience, and offered with the best of intentions.

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I use Bester 1000/6000 and Sigma Power Select II 10k, flattened with an Atoma 400, and King slipstones - the Bester combination stone is really nice for the money, the Sigma would probably be overkill for a beginner. I've also borrowed Shapton Pros and they were also nice

I started out with a Norton 1000/4000 + 8000 (flattened with a communal, badly worn Shapton lapping plate), and they worked, but needed frequent flattening, and dished especially quickly when sharpening scrapers

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On 3/5/2021 at 1:19 PM, Davide Sora said:

I still use the King Japanese water stones, 800, 1200, 6000 grit (or is it 4000? I never quite understood). Leather strap to finish the work, loaded with aluminum oxid paste. I've never felt the need to change, even though there are loads of great quality ones out there to choose from. For some years I have purchased a coarse grit 300 diamond stone to flatten the other stones, very convenient also for roughing delicate tools where I cannot use my very cheap and not very adequate grinding wheel (I do not have a very "cool" water-cooled and slow-turning grinding wheel).

Whenever a topic like this comes up I always tell myself that I should upgrade, seeing all the marvelous stone and wheels there would be to try, and that could work even better. But I'm too lazy, and basically what I have works great, when you got used to them.:)

David:   I don't think you need to change.  In your videos, your tools are so sharp that it looks like you are cutting butter rather than wood.  

 

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Can I just say that after nearly 40 years in the field and over 10 years of observation at Oberlin in the summers, that I find an unsuccessful (or less than stellar) cutting edge is rarely the fault of the stone?  Like grinders, there are stones some find more comfortable to use, require less maintenance, or cut at a faster rate... but the quality of the edge is overwhelmingly do to the skill of the operator.

It's really great to read the processes others is using, though.  May try one or two of the suggestions I haven't already tried... eventually.  Meantime, gotta fix a fiddle...

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5 hours ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

Hi Jackson, I taught hobby violin making classes for many years. The students were far from dumb. Retired surgeons, dentists, architects, IT experts etc - many of them much smarter than me. It gave me a pretty good idea of what beginners tend to struggle with. 

As for sharpening, I was a dedicated water stone user for decades. I still use them (Sigmas like you, actually) if I'm restoring a tool to sell and I want the blades to look super shiny. I was pointed in the direction of diamond/strop sharpening a while back by a very well respected, top level restorer. It just works.

People are absolutely welcome to ignore my advice, but it's based on a lot of experience, and offered with the best of intentions.

Of course, all roads lead to Rome. I am sure that our friend will arrive at a workable solution from all that has been offered here. Whatever he should decide to use, he will be fine once he has acquired the necessary skill. 

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On 3/4/2021 at 4:48 PM, JesseBrano said:

Trying to get a quality but affordable sharpening setup.  Any suggestions?

 

Thanks,

Jesse

Super cheap can be nothing more than wet dry papers, flat backing, a strop and compound.

For easier gross shaping, you can add a cheap coarse tile workers diamond rasp from HomeDepot, or similar.

From this, you can improve your honing with a 3000 or 4000 grit waterstone.

Flatness and support matter, so upgrade from wetdry to diamond plates as opportunity allows.

Grinding with this basic kit is laborious, and you have to be very alert to not overheating your steel.  So, as opportunity allows, buy a slow speed wet grind wheel.  I also think a simple jewlers loop is very valuable in sharpening.

 

Of course, this an extreme low budget setup.  Nicer setups are worth it when you can.  But, good, efficient, workable results are more about understanding and attention rather than a gorgeous kit.

 

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