Hand Tools Archive

Unicorn sharpening - ? for David Weaver or anyone

Dave (Arlington, VA)
I am a long time lurker here on Wood Central, and have been following - off and on - the posts on unicorn sharpening, and have watched David's videos on his website over the past months. Most recently I have just finished reading David, Winston and Bill's article in Popular Woodworking...and the more comprehensive article here in WoodCentral. Congratulations to each of you.

I just finished sharpening a chisel to 21 degrees and putting a 25 degree secondary bevel on it. My next step is to run out to Home Depot and get a buffing wheel for my cordless drill (a la Winston's approach).

In the meantime, I've had a question kicking around in my head about comparing effectiveness of the unicorn method with frequent stropping. I think this starts with checking first to see if I've drawn an incorrect inference from what I understand of the unicorn method.

At least for me, this addition of a secondary bevel (which I don't normally do - generally I hollow grind and hone a 25 degree primary bevel - and strop using green compound on leather) requires the use of a sharpening jig to ensure the consistency of the angle. In my normal practice, if I feel the blade losing it's sharpness I can just re-strop a number of times, and when the edge needs to be renewed, because I hollow grind I find I can normally refresh an edge by quickly re-honing an edge free hand.

Pretty frequent stropping has seemed to work pretty well for me so far to keep my blades sharp - though I'm just a hobbyist. Since it sounds like with the unicorn method every time I need to refresh the blade (though less often) I will need to bring out my eclipse sharpening jig and buffing wheel, I am wondering if this will actually save me sharpening time overall?

This may have been addressed in previous posts. If so, my apologies, but if so I missed them.

Thanks to those of you who have been looking for new ways to improve on old practices.

Regards -


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