Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
My thoughts

Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
I'd appreciate your recommendation on grit choices....since, I am both a flat woodworker and somewhat a turner, I'm thinking of getting both a radius edged wheel for turning and a mega-flat wheel for hollow grinding chisels and plane irons.

Hi Roger

You've read my warning about the radius wheels, that is, the ones I had had a slight hollow in the centre. I cannot state that all are like that, but it is interesting that David found the same on his. I suspect that the radius machining process creates some heat and stresses that alters the profile (for those unfamiliar with radius and flat wheels, the radius is on the corners of the wheel face).

My recommendation is to get a flat wheel in 180 grit, which is all you need for flat woodworking chisels and plane blades, and a radius 360 grit for the turning chisels.

The CBN wheels (that is, the solid aluminium or steel wheels, and not the new composite wheels) act as a large heat sink and as a result manage to dissipate heat very well. I have a 80 grit pairing the 180 grit, and I do not find much difference in heat build up. A 360 grit, however, would likely create more heat. A light and quick touch (it is to be used to maintain an edge, not create one) would ensure a safe grind. I am sure that the resulting edge would be ready for turning.

The reason I do not recommend an 80 grit as the only straight wheel is that the finish is coarser than off a 180 grit. It is possible to grind safely to the very edge of a blade without heating it, and this creates the least amount of steel to hone ... which promotes very fast sharpening. A number of people will argue that the edge created will be vulnerable to chipping. That is not my experience, and including with laminated Japanese chisels, which are chopped into Australian hard woods.

The advantage of a hollow off a 180 grit compared to an 80 grit is that the edge is smoother, and this then requires less work to straighten when honing. I can go directly to a Medium Spyderco or a 6000 Sigma straight off the wheel. The 1000 Pro Shapton may only need to be used after 3 honings as the micro bevel remains so small. I use the 180 grit 95% of the time, and the 80 grit is only used when there is a significant amount of steel to remove.

For clarity, I grind at the angle I hone, so plane blades are all 30 degrees, as are BD bench chisels. BU plane blades have a primary bevel of 25 degrees and then a high secondary micro bevel.

Where a radius wheel is useful is with turning tools, and only when you are grinding/sharpening a curve. If this is unimportant, then get a flat face. I can present a blade to the flat faces of my wheels and they cut evenly.

There are several advantages to the CBN wheels: They do not wear (some turners have used them for a couple of decades now), which means that the wheel remains the same size and settings are retained. The wheels never need to be dressed. The dust is metal particles from the blade and not from the wheel, itself. There is a smoother cut that is also cooler. My Tormek get used very little these days.

My bottom line: I am not fascinated by sharpening, and generally avoid sharpening discussions. I have not had many sharpening systems over the years, because I stick with them for as long as they work well. The system I have is efficient. Beyond machines and media is hand skills and techniques. It is these that continue to improve, or need to improve. It is a circular issue: when you have developed enough technique, then look at the media, and once the media is the best possible, look at the technique.

Regards from Perth

Derek

Messages In This Thread

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Re: flattening Waterstones- shapton pro
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