Hand Tools Archive

directed pressure

David Weaver
This is where the issue of directed pressure comes in...

Last year, I durability tested irons. Because I took pictures of them along the way, I had to adhere to a visual standard that I wouldn't normally adhere to. Couple with this, that I was using the double iron (which creates a shorter wear bevel on the back of an iron, but it's deeper).

Using a 0.5mm rule (guess where I got that idea on the first video I ever learned to sharpen from? success on the first try, too!), I was unable to get the wear bevel completely removed (so that none could be seen at the edge under a microscope for the test pictures) without chasing the back bevel further and further back the edge.

I do not know if the conclusion would've been different without a double iron (i suspect it would - that less ruler trick would've been needed).

I also think that some mitigation of chasing the bevel could've been had just by using a steeper ruler with the double iron (in reality, you, me or anyone else would perform the ruler trick and allow some of the wear to remain as long as it wasn't damage )

In comes directed pressure and a faster stone if needed. It ends up being faster (but maybe beyond a class full of beginners) to forgo the ruler trick and direct pressure with fingertips right at the edge of the iron. Most people probably don't think about how much an iron will flex under finger pressure, but it's a lot. If that doesn't satisfy, a slightly faster stone is in order to do the back work - first rule of sharpening is complete the job. Fineness is somewhere down the list.

I've seen a lot of tools, and most of the time, they have evidence of fine stone use on them, but not all the way to the edge.

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