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We have people admit from time to time that they find sharpening a challenge. Here are some videos from Lee Valley about the how to and videos about the different types of sharpening media available to use. This might be helpful to clear the issues up for them. I started out with a water stone but I rarely use it anymore. I prefer diamond stones because they are long lasting, stay flat, and require no maintenance but I also use very fine sandpaper at times too. I use some 2500 grit carbide paper for lapping the backs of chisels and irons flat and going that fine does make a difference.
https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/dis...tm_campaign=200831-Wood-Launching-Sharpen-Net
 

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thanks Charles...
 
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Good video...thanks...
 
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You'll find any number of professional and accomplished weekend warriors who will swear by any number of different techniques. Ya just gotta know what your working with, what your doing, what your looking for and how to get to where ya wanna get to....in the end, sharp is sharp.. period. I've taken enough hair off of my arms over the years that I don't have to any more.

Excellent set of video's Charles....
 

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I've seen quite a few posts that make me think some people just don't know where to even start in getting good, reliable results so hopefully those videos give them that starting point. I know there have been times when I didn't know enough about something to even begin asking intelligent questions.
 

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You'll find any number of professional and accomplished weekend warriors who will swear by any number of different techniques. Ya just gotta know what your working with, what your doing, what your looking for and how to get to where ya wanna get to....in the end, sharp is sharp.. period. I've taken enough hair off of my arms over the years that I don't have to any more.

Excellent set of video's Charles....


Excellent point, Bill...there are a multitude of techniques and tools available that can confuse the heck out of a newcomer. An important point might be to do the research, pick a method and tool and stick with it. All too often, and we see it in purchases made for other tools, money is spent on one tool only to buy another, and another, etc. until it has become very expensive and the proper technique has not yet been established with any of them.

I would submit that technique is much more important than tool...a point I think you're making.

In the field even a flat rock will sharpen a knife sufficiently if done properly.
 

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Very true Nick. I've put edges on kitchen knives by turning a common ceramic plate or coffee cup over and honing it on the usually unglazed rim they sit on. In a pinch when you don't have any stones that will get the job done.

Even though there is a lot of different sharpening media the one thing that didn't differ in all the hand sharpening videos was the method that was used. It didn't matter if it was diamond stones or sandpaper stuck to something flat. They were using the Veritas sharpening jig but I'm still doing mine all freehand. That requires more time to learn and get consistently reliable results but easily doable. And if it doesn't turn out well the first or any time it's no big deal because you just learn from it and do better next time. There is a lot of steel on a blade to practice on.

I don't consider it that crucial to get the end of a chisel absolutely square either since most of the time I'm using it in a skewed position. When you sharpen by hand it goes slowly enough that you can check the bevel once in a while to see how straight and even it is. I watched Paul Sellers do a sharpening video a while back and he does all his without a jig and if you've ever seen him use a chisel you know he isn't having a problem getting them sharp. Plane irons are a bit more fussy but planes have a skew adjustment so they allow a little leeway too and the width of the irons helps you keep them flat and square while you sharpen.
 

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one thing that didn't differ in all the hand sharpening videos was the method that was used. It didn't matter if it was diamond stones or sandpaper stuck to something flat. They were using the Veritas sharpening jig
that jig is one tough act to follow...

 

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It is the Cadillac and it gives perfect results without a learning curve but for a new woodworker who has to watch pennies it's a big investment when there are so many other tools that can make life easier. So my point is that if you can't afford that don't get discouraged. You can still get good results without it by developing hand/eye/coordination skills. I also just use the cheap diamond stones that come 3 in a pack for between $10-$20. You don't have to spend the big money on the DMT ones. I've also used the sharpening sandpapers that Lee Valley sells and they are only about $4 a sheet and last quite a while. The finest one will put a mirror finish on a bevel.
 
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I currently freehand on some cheap diamond plates. Worked well so far, even though I'm no expert and haven't done lots of sharpening.
But it's always good to see and hear perspectives on it. Thanks for sharing that stuff Chuck.
I recently watched a Rob Cosman video where he uses a diamond plate around 400-grit and a Shapton 1000-grit water stone, and that's it. Takes around 30 seconds or so to sharpen his plane blade and away he goes.
 

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Steve another fairly cheap addition to the sharpening arsenal is the green sticks of honing compound. I got mine from Lee Valley but I've seen it at other places where buffing supplies are sold. https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/sho...es/32984-veritas-honing-compound?item=05M0801 I see it's gone up in price. I got mine for $12 or less. You can charge a felt wheel like I do or put some on wood or leather like I've seen Paul Sellers do and just stroke your chisel on same as you sharpen. That compound is the equivalent of 8000 grit so it begins to polish the metal. I've had my stick for 15 to 20 years and I'm maybe 1/3 of the way through it.
 
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Thanks Chuck
Yeah I have seen those in various videos. Seems a little less common here in Australia so I'll likely have to order it. Does the colour mean much? I've seen some advertised being a lighter shade of green than the Lee Valley one you linked to.
Just wondered if there were differences (or perhaps ones to avoid).
 

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The different colors indicate grit size but I'm not sure there are variations in green. Most are very different. I have one that is black that is much coarser and there are some finer ones for jewelry and polishing plastics. I forget which ones are for what but there is a bright blue, red, white, and brown.
 

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Points well made all!! A testament to the fact that its more a matter of preference than one of tools or materials used. As Nickp mentioned, technique is key, regardless of mediums used. It aint' gonna work, no matter how hard you try if your not doing it right!!!!!! Over the years I have tried Cherryville Chucks freehand method on stones and paper and I just suck at it. I can tell what I'm doing wrong by looking at the end product, but for whatever reason I can't correct the issue by modifying my technique. Once I finally admitted that I suck at it, I moved on *LOL*..but it certainly wasn't for the lack of trying.
 

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Good information and methods all round. Once I properly sharpen my iron and chisels, flatten the back, I just never let them get dull. It only takes a few strokes on a medium then fine diamond "stone" to bring the edge back to perfect every few uses, plus a few flat strokes to deburr the edge. If can I shave off arm hair, they're ready to use. It helps that I paid the price of really good quality planes and chisels. I occasionally polish with a leather strop attached to a block of wood with that green stuff. In college I worked selling jewelry for awhile, and we used Jeweler's rouge to polish gold and silver jewelry, really made the stuff shine with any scratching--have no idea what the grit was, but it had to be ultra fine not to scratch gold.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Points well made all!! A testament to the fact that its more a matter of preference than one of tools or materials used. As Nickp mentioned, technique is key, regardless of mediums used. It aint' gonna work, no matter how hard you try if your not doing it right!!!!!! Over the years I have tried Cherryville Chucks freehand method on stones and paper and I just suck at it. I can tell what I'm doing wrong by looking at the end product, but for whatever reason I can't correct the issue by modifying my technique. Once I finally admitted that I suck at it, I moved on *LOL*..but it certainly wasn't for the lack of trying.
Seemingly off topic- when I was a mid to older teen one of the neighbor kids got a pool table. An old one that had been top of the line around 1900 but was a bit off by the time I'm referring to. Still it was fun and the lot of us that general age spent hours in his garage playing on it. And we started getting pretty good. Or so we thought until his next door neighbor who was at least 20 years older than we were came over one day to see what we were up to. Despite the fact he hadn't played in years he was still at least as good as we were when we were shooting our best. He told us a story about how he had mentored under someone when he was young and one of the exercises he was made to do was hold a handkerchief between his elbow and his side while he was stroking the cue. If the handkerchief dropped he got his mentor's foot up his rear end.

Back to the point. That story stuck with me over the years. Quite often our failings are a due to a lack of good form. In many endeavors, if your elbow is flailing around like a flag in the wind then you'll have trouble getting good results. If you're having problems getting consistent results then examine the form you are using. That may be the culprit.

Sometimes nothing helps. We all have different physicalities and sometimes your body just won't do what your brain is asking it to do. Especially as you get older. I did see a home made version of the Veritas type jig which you can make for pennies. Here is the link: https://ibuildit.ca/plans/chisel-and-plane-sharpening-jig/ There is a Youtube video for it too. I saw another video by woodworker Garrett Hack a while back and he used a digital angle box to set the angle for honing. He zeroed it on his sharpening medium and then stuck it on the plane blade and adjusted the jig until he got the 25* angle he wanted. That eliminates the single use angle setting jig.
 
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