Sharpening plane blades and chisels. - Router Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2014, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Default Sharpening plane blades and chisels.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2014, 03:43 PM
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Default Sharpening plane blades and chisels

I have used the Veritas Stone Pond with waterstones from Lee Valley for years for chisels and plane blades.Initial investment may seem a little high compared to sandpaper costs
but I have found it a great system over the years w/o any additional costs. good luck

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2014, 04:05 PM
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I started off with the sand papaer (aka scary sharp) method on a granite block. To some degree I still do, including flattening my stones. I ended up buying a norton 4000/8000 stone, and planning on buying the 220/1000 stone as well. While the cost of stones are costly, the cost of sandpaper does add-up over time, especially with the high grit wet/dry paper.

I haven't been able to justify a flattening stone yet as I have done well with flattening using a low grit sand paper on the granite block.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2014, 04:17 PM
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I still use the "scary' sharp method for some items, but now I have a powered version of the same thing Veritas® Mk.II Power Sharpening System - Lee Valley Tools

The ONLY reason I have a unit this nice is because it was an estate sale find... I got it essentially new in the box for about $20. I bring this up because I have seen the worksharps used on Craigslist for less than half of what they go for new.

One of the magazines had an issue where they basically built one of these using MDF disks and powering it by a drill press. I'm sure you could use a lathe or some other slow speed machine you already own as a driver. has an issue where he modifies his Worksharp, that could give you ideas on tool guides, etc.

Good luck!

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2014, 05:18 PM
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You might check out the diamond sharpeners sold by Trend. These require virtually no pressure and with their lapping fluid do an excellent job.

As a side note since you like using planes you might find the Rabot Kid planes interesting. No iron sharpening with these planes, they use standard utility knife blades and have a feature which allows you to use razor blades as a card scraper. I saw the demonstration of this product at The Woodworking Shows - Detroit. I think it is worth a look.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2014, 05:35 PM
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I don't sharpen plane blades, but if I did, I'd probably use Scary Sharp and a jig to hold the blade.

I do sharpen chisels tho. For those I use the belt on my small HF bench sander, and go at it. I've used that method for I don't know how many years, and it works very well for me. I don't recall just where I got the idea originally, but possibly from Maloof. The reasoning is, the chisel blade is never held at the same angle every time, unlike a plane blade, so just sharpen at as close an angle you can get to the original angle, and call it good. It only takes a few seconds, and works quite well, for lathe tools too. I can't guarantee it, but my results seems to be just as good as a very carefully sharpened chisel. I'm happy doing it this way, and don't anticipate changing.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2014, 06:22 PM
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I used to use the Scary Sharp method, until I bought a Worksharp 3000. For $200, cry once.

I don't think utility knife blades are sharp enough except to cut carpet with. So I'm not too impressed with the Rabot kit.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2014, 06:12 AM
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It sounds like you have already done it the cheap way and an affective way. Anything else I know about requires spending a bit.

I started scary and now use water stones. Love the stones, but takes some getting used to like anything else. Avoid cheap stones and read up on the strength and weaknesses of different types. I think Veritas has an article and chart, but it might be someone else.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2014, 06:42 AM
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I also use a Workshop 3000, but I use my own sandpaper (the instructions tell you how to). They are the sharpest blades I have ever used and love the machine. High first cost, very low after that.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2014, 07:26 AM
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All of the above are great pieces of advice. I too have used various methods to sharpen my plane blades and chisels and I stick to no particular method(s). The situation will dictate what I need to do to get where I should be.

No matter what you choose, there will be an initial investment for equipment/materials. The question you have to ask, is this; what can I afford and what has the best payback? You don't have to get everything all at once. Build it up as you go.

I too, use garage sale finds, and with a little patience and a good eye can score you some really good pieces. I have gotten hard Arkansas stones for a little as 50 cents. New they would have cost upwards of $70-100.

I refurbish hand planes when I can find suitable users. I have found that the blades are generally in poor to trash conditions. As such, I have found that, if salvageable, my water stones and a lot of elbow grease is the order of the day, but initially, it may require a grinder or a belt sander. Once properly sharpened, a quick touch-up on a diamond, ceramic, or a hard Arkansas will be all that is needed to re-hone the iron for frustration free use. The same holds for my chisels! Once honed it only takes a few seconds on a hard Arkansas stone to reach that "really sharp" condition.

Some points to ponder.

Sandpaper is a fast and easy way to sharpen, but in the long run it will be costly!

I learned not to buy lower grit combination stones (220/1000). These will get the most wear (at least initially) and one side will wear out before the other. Single grit water stones are not that much more individually and will last much longer then combo stones. (my personal experience).
Learn what "sharp" really is. It may shave hair, but it may not be where it really should or can be.

When I started out I was proud as to how sharp I could get my various irons, that is until a more experienced person took my stones and in a few seconds, had them twice as sharp as I was getting them. Now I know and can recognize what "sharp" really is!

Bottom line, don't limit your options to just one method. Each has its pros and cons. For now, you can stick with the 'scary sharp' sandpaper method while you find or build up a collection of tools/materials to use for other methods. Again, all are viable and you have to decide what works the best for you.



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