Hand Tools Archive

What a tedious method...(sharpening)

David Weaver
... I jointed the edges of the four damaged irons flat with the fine india and then proceeded to refresh the hollow, but this time, not all the way to the edge. I used a 400 grit diamond hone and then back to the 1200 (which is graded down to something much finer now) to finish the microbevel, and vigorously refinished the back bevel, checked the edges on the microscope and had to redo some of them a second time until there were no visible defects.

That is not a method that allows touch or gives a user the kind of control they should have with a heavy hand to do the initial work. Then you've got the wheel of the guide potentially carrying all kinds of stuff around, which doesn't matter most of the time, but a stray particle or two in the diamond impregnated board (or cast if I'd have used that) would spell disaster under the scrutiny of the scope.

I cut off the end of a beech board to prep it for the test and went searching for an iron that would fit in the 5 1/2 I had on the table, because the kids put it on the floor with a clank and I needed to make sure to use it some to clean off anything untoward on the sole. I kid you not, the old high carbon hock iron that was in it had a big bright wear bevel on the back, and I removed it, raised a burr on the bevel side and then worked off any roughness from that on a hard arkansas, then stropped in a minute and a half.

How long did it take to do the other irons? About an hour and a half with regrinding carefully and checking, and approximately 2500 strokes in a guide with the secondary bevel work and tertiary bevel on the diamonds on wood.

4600 feet planed so far, and it must be close to the same number of strokes on the guide.

No wonder I found my way to slightly coarser abrasives that allow a lot more user discretion and touch.

A quick modification to the LN cap iron to allow it further down the adjuster to accommodate all of the thinner irons and we're back in business. We may match LV's planing distance by the end of the weekend. And I hope to do some guitar building in the middle of it.

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