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best budget waterstones? should I buy diamond levelers?


JesseBrano
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@Dennis J I saw Katz Moses do the buff on the wheel after the strop.  Could you recommend a cheap grinder?  What am I looking for?  And also in that sellers video, he removes the final burr with the strop as well.  When I have time from these 14 hour work days, I will try sharpening the plane blade without touching the back and removing the burr with a strop.

2 things:

Am I gathering that strop-level sharpness is not necessarily as sharp as one might like for violin craft?

What do you guys think about the microbevel on the back side?  Is that a thing?

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20 minutes ago, Dennis J said:

Smart people. I think your best way forward is to ask Lie Nielsen's technicians what they think about blade sharpening as regards the lapped back.

I have no idea what they might say but it would be worth asking.

 

Also, LN has a plane sharpening tutorial on YT using the ruler technique with a 10,000 waterstone on the back, on and off the edge..

 

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1 hour ago, JesseBrano said:

Also, LN has a plane sharpening tutorial on YT using the ruler technique with a 10,000 waterstone on the back, on and off the edge..

 

You are doing the right thing looking at all the possibilities here.

I can only suggest what my experience tells me.

As far as LN tutorials are concerned you have to be careful about what LN salesmen or dealers say. I bought a 22 inch bevel up jointer once from a local LN dealer about 8 years ago. He showed me the ruler technique at the time, and even then it did not make much sense to me. I did experiment doing it once and after a few minutes stopped because it was messy, awkward and stupid. Subsequently I ground the primary bevel back to the lapped surface and it is the same now as when I bought it. It can be a good way to sharpen old Stanley blades that are bent or rounded over at the cutting edge. I would only trust the advice of senior technicians at LN.

I don't live in the US so I can only suggest that any grinder that you can fit with a taper so that you can screw on a buff will do the job. I think using a strop/buff/soft cotton mop charged with honing compound such as rouge or chrome oxide will produce as fine a finished edge as is possible. Pfeil sell a compound stick.

You will notice after producing a burr with the 1000 stone the subsequent finer stones'  burr size will reduce. So, after using the 4000 stone you might not be able to feel the burr. But it will still be there, even after using a 10,000 stone, but at that stage it can be removed with a strop, or bufff.

I would definitely keep honing bevels below about 2 mm wide. That way you only need a 1000 grit and 4000 grit and perhaps a 10,000 to do the job. Once honing bevels get to about 3 mm or more a 1000 grit stone is not aggressive enough to produce a wire edge quickly on good hardened steel, so you will have to start honing with say an 800 stone.

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I'm tiring of this discussion so let me leave with this - all roads lead to Rome. Ultimately, whatever method you choose, work at it until you have attained mastery. Ron Hock has a book on sharpening that is well regarded. David Charlesworth has a method that many benefit from as well. Much like violinmaking itself, there is no single correct way to arrive at a good result. With diligence and a stout spirit, you will arrive at where you need to be. Best wishes, fellow traveler.

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Wondering if anyone has tried the spyderco ceramic stones I posted above 

They are made from an ultra-hard alumina ceramic material and require minimal water for sharpening. I've been experiment with a couple of slip stones to hone at the bench in-between sharpening. Since these have different properties than normal water stones, it is taking a bit of time to get use to them, but they look promising. 

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20 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I'm tiring of this discussion so let me leave with this - all roads lead to Rome ...

Yes, it's time to put in the work. 

@Dennis J I experimented last night on another $2 chisel.   Used the 1200 stone on the back and primary bevel.   I only used 1200 and 8000 on the micro, then considerable stropping on both sides, periodically trying a shave test.   I am realizing how sharp they can get now.  I got it to go through a full sheep of newspaper smoothly,  but not every time.   Still a lot to learn.  Thanks for your help. 

Thanks, everyone, for the great info and encouragement.  You guys are a tremendous community and resource!

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Yes Jesse I think you'll find the newspaper test works well. If it is a cheap chisel it will probably have machining marks on the back so getting rid of those and making the back flat is important.

The thing about sharpening in general is that it is hard to see exactly what is going on so you need to develop a sharpening routine that works. If you are using fine stones such as your 8000 to finish honing and you are dealing with a narrow bevel you can easily increase the honing angle too much and dig into the stone. To avoid that just use a backwards stroke.

 

 

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I think that to well understand if what we are doing to the cutting edge while sharpening on the stones (whatever they are) is simply to observe it with a magnifying glass from time to time to evaluate the progress. In this way it's easy to appreciate the changes that occur on the surfaces and on the very edge, and understand if what we are doing goes in the direction of the result we want to obtain.

Enlightening experience, highly recommended:)

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On 3/5/2021 at 2:48 AM, JesseBrano said:

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

 

Thanks,

Jesse

Hello Jesse, I will speak from my experience. I own various sharpening stones, a KDS king 1000/6000 combination stone a diamond cross coarse/extra fine stone a Naniwa Professinal series 10000 and a Shapton 16000 grit stone as well as a few stops with stropping compounds. Honestly you dont need all that and I rarely use most of them. The only ones I tend to use are the extra fine side on my diamond stone and a leather strop charged with Micro-gloss liquid abrasive, because they give me the best result as fast as possible. The only way to really test sharpness is on an actual piece of wood, since that is what you are going to use the tools on in the first place. A piece of pine or spruce (which i suppose you have plenty of since you are making violins) should do. Pair the endgrain and if it leaves a smooth finish without tear out, you are good to go. For high angle blades this unfortunately does not work as the high cutting angle (not the sharpness of the edge) will cause tear out on softwoods which tend to crumble and brake before they actually get cut.  

P.S. It would be even cheaper to get the KDS stone and a strop but you'd have to invest in a diamond lapping plate or find some other way to keep it flat. Eliminate the "middle men" and just get the diamond stone which is going to stay flat forever. I bought mine from dictum. Good luck!

 

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5 hours ago, Nestorvass said:

Hello Jesse, I will speak from my experience. I own various sharpening stones, a KDS king 1000/6000 combination stone a diamond cross coarse/extra fine stone a Naniwa Professinal series 10000 and a Shapton 16000 grit stone as well as a few stops with stropping compounds. Honestly you dont need all that and I rarely use most of them. The only ones I tend to use are the extra fine side on my diamond stone and a leather strop charged with Micro-gloss liquid abrasive, because they give me the best result as fast as possible. The only way to really test sharpness is on an actual piece of wood, since that is what you are going to use the tools on in the first place. A piece of pine or spruce (which i suppose you have plenty of since you are making violins) should do. Pair the endgrain and if it leaves a smooth finish without tear out, you are good to go. For high angle blades this unfortunately does not work as the high cutting angle (not the sharpness of the edge) will cause tear out on softwoods which tend to crumble and brake before they actually get cut.  

P.S. It would be even cheaper to get the KDS stone and a strop but you'd have to invest in a diamond lapping plate or find some other way to keep it flat. Eliminate the "middle men" and just get the diamond stone which is going to stay flat forever. I bought mine from dictum. Good luck!

 

 

Never heard of that liquid abrasive until now. Google tells me it's pretty costly, but I guess a little goes a long way. Does it work better than green stropping compound?

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2 hours ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

Yes indeed. 

Never heard of that liquid abrasive until now. Google tells me it's pretty costly, but I guess a little goes a long way. Does it work better than green stropping compound?

Technically, Micro-Gloss® is a Type I cleaner for ballistic-resistant aircraft canopies.

"Safe for use on both bare or coated acrylic and polycarbonate aircraft canopies

  • ASTM F791 tested and approved as compliant to USAF specification 16ZK002F (Addendum 2)
  • Approved for use on interior and exterior aircraft canopies
  • NSN #5350-01-334-8997
  • Spec’d in Technical Orders:  16W2-6-2 and 16W2-5-2
  • Meets Mc Donnell Douglas/Boeing Spec D6-52021"

https://www.frasersaerospace.com/product/micro-gloss-liquid-abrasive/

It works for honing because it contains 1 micron aluminum oxide particles, but note well, that's fine enough for mirror finishing.  For most uses around the shop, it's overkill.  It's sometimes used on jewelry and such.  I'm sure that it does what @Nestorvass wants it to on a strop, but it's not a "must have" for sharpening.  For steel, I prefer micron and submicron diamond slurries.

popcorn-and-drink-smiley-emoticon.gif.7f1a3524d9559f072915788b202ca967.gif  This is an example of one of the "esoteric" abrasives which I alluded to earlier.  I ducked getting into them because they are usually used in expert hands for manipulating surface textures, but are not necessary for primary sharpening.  IMHO, getting into this stuff (such as the umpteen types and grades of connoisseur Jnats, their specific uses, and their geology) is interesting to some of us, but confusing to novices, and a great many forums (and their spirited local disputes over minutiae) already exist for sharpening and polishing geeks.  :)

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2 hours ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

 

Never heard of that liquid abrasive until now. Google tells me it's pretty costly, but I guess a little goes a long way. Does it work better than green stropping compound?

Its about the same, if only a little finer. Honestly at that level of sharpness there is not a lot of difference so I'd say whatever you have your hands on works best. Its not referred to as a sharpening compound but as a polishing compound, but being abrassive you can obviously use it for sharpening as well. I've also used wenol car polish with great success and a tube will last you a few years since you only need a tiny bit to load on the strop.

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16 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

  Technically, Micro-Gloss® is a Type I cleaner for ballistic-resistant aircraft canopies.

"Safe for use on both bare or coated acrylic and polycarbonate aircraft canopies

  • ASTM F791 tested and approved as compliant to USAF specification 16ZK002F (Addendum 2)
  • Approved for use on interior and exterior aircraft canopies
  • NSN #5350-01-334-8997
  • Spec’d in Technical Orders:  16W2-6-2 and 16W2-5-2
  • Meets Mc Donnell Douglas/Boeing Spec D6-52021"

https://www.frasersaerospace.com/product/micro-gloss-liquid-abrasive/

It works for honing because it contains 1 micron aluminum oxide particles, but note well, that's fine enough for mirror finishing.  For most uses around the shop, it's overkill.  It's sometimes used on jewelry and such.  I'm sure that it does what @Nestorvass wants it to on a strop, but it's not a "must have" for sharpening.

popcorn-and-drink-smiley-emoticon.gif.7f1a3524d9559f072915788b202ca967.gif  This is an example of one of the "esoteric" abrasives which I alluded to earlier.  I ducked getting into them because they are usually used in expert hands for manipulating surface textures, but are not necessary for primary sharpening.  IMHO, getting into this stuff (such as the umpteen types and grades of connoisseur Jnats, their specific uses, and their geology) is interesting to some of us, but confusing to novices, and a great many forums (and their spirited disputes over minutiae) already exist for sharpening and polishing geeks.

At first I didn't buy it for sharpening. I am a fountain pen collector and I used to restore vintage fountain pens and this would be the final polilshing stage of the pen, Being water soluble you could easily clean it with a wet cloth. Few years ago I figured I could use it for sharpening. I was right it does work very well. For what its worth the level of sharpness achieved with it allows me to split a hair in two along its length. It does take a few strokes on the strop though, being such a fine abrassive. You can use green compound which cuts faster but produces a slightly worse edge. Mind you its still crazy sharp just a bit less than what i am able to get with this polish.

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18 minutes ago, Nestorvass said:

At first I didn't buy it for sharpening. I am a fountain pen collector and I used to restore vintage fountain pens and this would be the final polilshing stage of the pen, Being water soluble you could easily clean it with a wet cloth. Few years ago I figured I could use it for sharpening. I was right it does work very well. For what its worth the level of sharpness achieved with it allows me to split a hair in two along its length. It does take a few strokes on the strop though, being such a fine abrassive. You can use green compound which cuts faster but produces a slightly worse edge. Mind you its still crazy sharp just a bit less than what i am able to get with this polish.

Yup, I'm not surprised.  Good product.  I knew about it from the military aerospace business.

I'm aware of fountain pen collectors, too.  Some of the "expert hands" I referred to.  You guys are almost as hardcore as the straight razor collectors.  ;)  :lol:

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1 hour ago, Violadamore said:

Yup, I'm not surprised.  Good product.  I knew about it from the military aerospace business.

I'm aware of fountain pen collectors, too.  Some of the "expert hands" I referred to.  You guys are almost as hardcore as the straight razor collectors.  ;)  :lol:

That is correct :lol: I first found out about this product from the fountain pen network which is a forum like maestronet just for fountain pens. But it works great for blades as well. Though I am aware that it was originally intended for aerospace use (not sure what they use it for, but it says so in the box). Also I find that you can use it to sharpen scrapers as well. But not on leather. I put it on a piece of mdf which obviously a lot harder than leather and it will not deform when applying pressure on it. Especially useful when sharpening 90 degree edge scrapers.

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2 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

What do you shave with?

I suspected someone might emit a rude response like that, but I expected it from Burgess.  :P  :lol:

Straight-razor enthusiasts are notorious among other sharpening nerds and antique collectors, for their fanatical pursuit of "the perfect edge" (something like luthiers questing after Stradivarian tone).  I find their competition for high-quality Jnat waterstones a nuisance at auctions.  :)

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18 hours ago, Violadamore said:

I suspected someone might emit a rude response like that, but I expected it from Burgess.  :P  :lol:

Dang, someone beat me to it. :lol:

If Violadamore shaves, I would expect that she does it with some sort of ancient sword. ;)

Better to learn from the aboriginal Americans, who groomed "excess hair" by rubbing their fingers in ashes, which provided enough increased friction to pull the hair out on the first try.

What's up with wanna-be trophy wives, who use expensive hair removal techniques, when they could just rub some ashes on their fingers? How does anyone get stupid or desperate enough to marry someone that stupid?

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