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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-09-2016, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Default Sharpening chisels

To me, there's nothing better than a sharp chisel, expect a razor sharp chisel. Of course, having never achieved a razor sharp chisel I really wouldn't know. I've used two different honing guides, the ones with the thin wheel, and they've never worked well for me. I attribute that to me, not guides. I finally bought the Veritas MKII honing guide. It is much more stable, due to it's wide wheel, it's easier to keep the blade straight, and get a consistent angle and microbevel. My chisels are not real high end. They are Stanley bench chisels but they work for my small projects.

I use sandpaper stuck to a granite plate to sharpen the chisels. Here's my question; I know to start with the highest number of grit based on the condition of the blade but, from then on, what sequence should I use? Let's assume that I really messed one up and have to start with a low numbered grit to reshape the blade. Here's my collection of grits, accumulated over quite a few years. Everything over 320 is waterproof so I can build a slurry on the higher numbered grits. (Note: I know to flatten the back before I start) Which grits should I use and which should I skip?

80
100
120
150
220
280
320
400
600
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
5000
7000

As always, thanks for your help.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-09-2016, 04:39 PM
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I dont see much point in going through multiple stages.

And I've only ever flattened off the back edge once the bevel is done. One swipe backwards on the flat to remove the final burr.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-09-2016, 05:28 PM
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that would be .. start w/ the coarsest grits aka lowest numbers..
on you list the lowest coarsest listed is 80...

to bring the chisels back into square, remove chips in the bevel or change the angle of the bevel..
80
100
120

start the back flattening (lapping) process and sharpening of really dull tools/irons (after the flatening process is done)...
150
220

I'd skip this grit...
280

continue the back flattening process and sharpening of tools/irons...
320
400
600

home to final sharpness...
1000
1500

micro bevel... more sharpening if you really feel you need to...
2000
2500

this is just being anal... but continue on if it pleases you...
3000
5000
7000
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-09-2016, 06:13 PM
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I usually use 400 and 1000. Done!

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-10-2016, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Bob - Since I've already flattened the backs of each chisel, i'd only go through the full flattening process in the case that I really screwed up the blade, like dropped it edge first onto a nail or something stupid like that. I would lap to remove the burr as I moved between grits.

Stick - Thanks, that's the kind of sequence that I was looking for. I have a 3/4" and a 1" that need work. Neither is the right angle so i'll probably start around 100 work up 2500 for the microbevel.

Stick and Phillip - I have the higher grits (2500 - 7000) for some touch up that I did to my car a while back. One question I've had is how far to take the polishing. Some articles I've read define an edge as the intersection of two planes. The smoother each plane, the sharper the edge formed at the intersection. Some of the articles I've read take the polishing up to 18000 grit. To me that's like trying to get a wood joint to within .0001 inch. Even if you could, why would you want to? And, how sharp an edge do you really want on a bench chisel? Too sharp to me also means too fragile, me being something of a klutz anyway. I'll probably go up to 2500 on the microbevel. With the Veritas guide it's easy to create the microbevel and to recreate it when needed. As long as that gives me the performance that I want on hardwoods I'll stop there. I make take one of the chisels up to 7000 and see if it really makes a difference.

If I come up with any new insights I'll let you know. Probably not going to happen since sharpening has been studied since Ogg the caveman banged two rocks together and created the first knife.

Thanks for your comments and suggestions. I really do appreciate all the help I've gotten from the forum members. Without it my scrap bin would fill up a dumpster. Now, it's just way too many boxes.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-10-2016, 01:32 PM
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I do go to an 8000 grit honing compound for final sharpening but 3000 is probably plenty good enough. I don't get hung up on perfectly square since I rarely use the chisel square to the cut. I usually skew the chisel in use as it cuts much better that way so if you skew the chisel then worrying about a square edge is pointless.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-10-2016, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry747 View Post

1... Since I've already flattened the backs of each chisel...
2... I'd only go through the full flattening process in the case that I really screwed up the blade,
3... like dropped it edge first onto a nail or something stupid like that. I would lap to remove the burr as I moved between grits.
4... I have a 3/4" and a 1" that need work. Neither is the right angle so I'll probably start around 100 work up 2500 for the microbevel.
5... One question I've had is how far to take the polishing.
6... Some articles I've read define an edge as the intersection of two planes. The smoother each plane, the sharper the edge formed at the intersection. Some of the articles I've read take the polishing up to 18000 grit. To me that's like trying to get a wood joint to within .0001 inch. Even if you could, why would you want to?
7... And, how sharp an edge do you really want on a bench chisel?
8... Too sharp to me also means too fragile, me being something of a klutz anyway.
9... I'll probably go up to 2500 on the microbevel. With the Veritas guide it's easy to create the microbevel and to recreate it when needed.
10. As long as that gives me the performance that I want on hardwoods I'll stop there.
11. I make take one of the chisels up to 7000 and see if it really makes a difference.
12. since sharpening has been studied since Ogg the caveman banged two rocks together and created the first knife.
13. Now, it's just way too many boxes.
1... good.. do you use the felt tip marker trick to determine flatness and uniformity of bevel...
2... seriously doubt you will ever flatten again unless you use a grinder on the chisel and warm the metal up...
3... that'd be a chip in the cutting edge and would require sharpening and not lapping/flattening...
4... sounds about right...
5... I seldom sharpen past 1/1.5K but I do leather strophe/polish somewhere around 7/8K.. (backs and bevels)...
polishing = smooth = less cutting resistance...
stropping takes seconds vs getting there via grit changes...
6... likewise...
7... that's a debate that will never abate...
8... another debate that will never abate...
9... another good move..
10. your happiness is what matters...
11. after all that work you'll move to the head of the class and start stropping...
12. that's called knapping.. we can go there if you wish...
knapped edges are often sharper than chemically or laser sharpened surgical scalpels...
13. time to start an array of small projects for gifts...

Notes...
once the flattening is done it's done...
to remove the back side burrs use the 2500 also...
lay the back of the chisel on the medium and elevate the handle 1 to 2° tops and w/ several as in very few circular motions remove the burrs.....
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Plane-Blade Geometry.pdf (104.4 KB, 56 views)
File Type: pdf tool_geometry.pdf (6.70 MB, 62 views)

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If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-10-2016, 02:42 PM
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forgot one...

.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Guide to Chisels.pdf (2.79 MB, 199 views)

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-10-2016, 06:02 PM
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Exclamation Using glass rather than granite

This is mostly for woodworkers reading this post for information and haven’t made a sharping system for their chisels or hand plane blades. It is mentioned in the original post of using granite. I made a system using 1/8 plate glass that I got from a glass or window shop. It is about 2x2 foot square and holds 6 pieces of abrasive paper. This system has worked great for me and probably is a lot cheaper than using granite.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-10-2016, 06:45 PM
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granite can be had from a counter op outfit's scrap pile...
generally free...
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This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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