Hand Tools Archive

Back Bevels and Cap Irons
Response To:
Nuance.. ()

Steve Elliott
I didn't experiment, so one would wonder if a 1mm rule would solve the problem vs. a 0.5mm rule (and it still may not interfere with the chipbreaker).

When I started using a microscope to examine edges and was also testing edges for sharpness I found I couldn't achieve the highest levels of sharpness unless I used a small back bevel. Eventually I made a sharpening jig that puts a 2-1/2 degree back bevel on the blade and can be flipped over to hone the bevel at the desired angle without adjusting the jig. I used the jig to produce edges for endurance tests of different blade alloys.

The back bevels seldom get wider than 20 thousandths of an inch, but that's still too far from the edge to set a cap iron. All my cap irons have their undersides honed to give about three degrees of clearance and they work fine with the 2-1/2 degree back bevels.

I'm not recommending this method to others, just noting that using a close-set cap iron is entirely possible on a blade with a back bevel.

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