Hand Tools Archive

More heat, pointless drivel - Bill..

david weaver
...the HSS iron that you will receive in the mail, i got sidetracked when I was polishing it because it's so rubbery that I didn't bother trying to polish the back with normal means. Any undulations on the back would've stifled me on cast or glass, so I gave it a basic flattening on paper, then diamond hone, and then using the wood that I've been using for this test - impregnated with 1 micron diamonds.

I don't usually use diamonds this way because it's wasteful, but i noticed that lubricating the surface of the board with WD40 greatly reduces both heat and the cutting ability of the diamonds (I'm guessing they're slipping all over the place and sinking into the board).

So, I let the surface of the board dry, and allowed the swarf and diamonds to form a cake on the surface, and that cake had some grip and cut much faster. This is a very lazy way of working around not having a cast plate, and for the purposes of this test, wanting to be able to rectify any contamination immediately by just replacing the board. But what shocked me was how hot the iron got when I was polishing the flat side.

I may have gotten enamored enough with it since I was freehanding that I cut the bevel a little steep, but you can solve that easily. Bringing the back up to a polish with that cake made a tremendous amount of heat, though - enough to burn the tips of my fingers on the iron. (before you fix the bevel if it's needed, drop it in a plane and take a couple of smoother shavings and look at the level of polish that it should leave on the wood - it's garish. You may work at that level all the time, but I usually sharpen with a washita, which makes it easier to get a good uniform surface because the level of polish isn't so absurdly high).

I hate to say it, but the diamond cake on wood, adding a drop of lubrication only when absolutely needed, is something I could live with on a daily basis. It prevents the diamonds from moving around and being pressed further into the wood, and economizes their use. Nothing sticks to it (contaminants) because it's dry, the flatness is determined by the prior abrasive, so the slight imperfections present in board flatness won't amount to any real issue, and even if there is a contaminant, the board is soft enough that it should just get forced into the board.

Talk about pointless wondering.

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