Hand Tools Archive

the one minute sharpening

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
I don't doubt what you claim, or anything else you or other planing enthusiasts say, but there is some qualification. You would not sharpen one of my plane blades in a minute, or a chisel.

Some background. Wiley's plane blade that David used for testing detoured through me on its way back to CA. Presumably David hit his planing end point, which he stated was way past where he would sharpen, and sent it to me without any further intervention. I could see, what was to me, a minuscule amount of wear so I presume the situation is as described.

So I says to myself, what do these people consider dull. Keep in mind that I live in remote TN and have never personally worked with anyone that eschews sand paper. I have no stake in the ground to reference what you all call dull. I may not even have a stake in the ground for sharp, but this conjecture is less certain. I did not experience any unusual plane performance in the sharp blade David sent to me.

For curiosity I mounted the blade in a LN 4 1/2, adjusted for a typical wood removal shaving thickness and planed some cherry. By my experience it planed just fine, which is to say I pushed and wood went away. That is my measure of success. I am clueless how I would have decided it was time to sharpen this blade by David's judgment, considering the short planing sessions I typically experience. I would have kept using this blade until it became substantially duller, push and wood would not go away. And that decision is where our worlds of sharpening differ.

For this discussion whether my planing is ignorant or not is irrelevant. The point is that by the time I sharpen I need to remove way more than 1 minute of metal on a fine stone. My whole quest of a sharpening technique has been driven by how to remove a bunch of metal as quick as possible so that I can get to where I can refine an edge on a finish "stone".

"Your" sharpening techniques depend on frequent sharpening. I will accept that this is the "correct" way to do woodworking. But if one is not doing woodworking this way then getting a burr on "Tindall dull" requires some step that removes a lot of metal, ideally quickly. Anyone else that sharpens when the wear can be seen without squinting needs to take the one minute claim with a grain of aluminum oxide.

Before others do I will hasten to add that we need to mend our ways and sharpen more often, and a whole lot of other things. But until we do the speed of 100 grit zirconia paper removing metal can be advantageous.

So where do we land? It seems that recommending sharpening must be informed by what is being sharpened and what state it is in when it is decided to sharpen.

I am currently "rice" carving some parts for the corner cupboard. I don't carve much but I carve enough to know the drill. Frequent polishing on leather and green stuff. Carving only works at all when the gouge is optimum. I would claim I can sharpen a gouge in 30 seconds. I recently turned some flat grain knobs and the grain orientation required a plane-blade sharp tool. I diamond honed (M4) after every knob. I would claim I could sharpen this lath tool in 30 seconds. I hone my hunting knife after every kill, maybe a minute. Kitchen knives, by the time I get to them are 5 minutes or more. Without context these time statements could be misleading.

PS: I have never torn a piece of paper. I don't think it is possible to tear a piece of the paper I use (Klingspor P33)

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