Hand Tools

From a practical standpoint...
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david weaver
...sometimes resolution is lost not in manufacture, but from the seller.

while we get focused on numbers (this brand's 0.5 micron vs. another brand's 0.5 micron), it's probably more practically useful just to try a few different things and understand that if you buy one of the $1 per syringe diamond sets on ebay, you might get lucky, you might get something mislabeled, or it may be low concentration.

When norton identifies 0.5 micron paste as 0-1 micron diamonds, personally, I see that as being pretty good and not at all dishonest. If someone is looking for absolute maximum particle size, then they'll need to pay to get that accuracy and maybe do some research, but a good practical test that is *Awfully* easy is just to get a one inch chisel, a piece of maple or a plane sole (unconditioned cast is -not news to you bill, but for others - a notoriously bad test bed, though, because the cast or mill marks can actually abrade steel and raise a wire edge) and work an edge up on one's normal media and then go to testing things.

It takes extremely little time to do something that gives a definitive feel and visual result in a light paring of softwood.

I would love to believe that I can create an edge in natural stones that betters all pastes and powders, but it isn't so. I can tell that just by the paring test, but also by the shaving test. Absolute sharpness isn't always the thing, so before one gets worked up about that, it's also a matter of getting what you want. On a razor, I want something that severs hair without any tactile notification of it, but that doesn't cut any skin propped up at the back of the pore of the hair being severed. I did my shift with blinding sharp razors, it satisfied curiosity, and now I have a couple of natural stones and a good linen and a good shell strop.

With paring chisels, geometry is at least as important as sharpness once you get to a point. not overcutting a facet on planes is also important. I like an oilstone edge for paring. The washita comes up just a tiny bit short, depending on which one I'm using and which chisel, but going to a tiny compound edge makes for a huge variation in cut resistance from a very thin cut to one that's more thick where wedging is causing the resistance instead of severing. it's easier to *not* overcut with an edge like I sent steve on a chisel even though there are several notches above that in sharpness.

Long story short, try some stuff, find what you like in use. The powder that I have labeled as #1 is at least as fine on cast as the sigma power #13000 stone, and that stone under the microscope is two orders of magnitude finer than a king 8000, and noticeably finer than a shapton 15k pro stone or 16k glasstone. The diamonds are more convenient to use than a soft waterstone, too.

The microscope makes for a lot less indecision about this stuff if you can't tell in use, but there's no real need for it if you can't tell in use.

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