Hand Tools Archive

Update 2 - sharpening only on waterstones

I sharpened it again, this time using the Norton 1000, Shapton 5000, and Shapton 12000.

I spent several minutes on the Norton 1000 using relatively light pressure and honed away much of the edge chipping, but some of it persisted. After close to 5 minutes on the stone, it didn't look like the chipping was getting any better, so I can only guess that some of the chipping was caused by the stone.

Then I spent about 18 minutes on the Shapton 5000 trying to get rid of all the chips from the previous stage. Finally, I did about 5 minutes on the 12000 stone.

This is much, much more time than I would like to spend sharpening a blade, but it seemed to be necessary to work out the edge chips.

The mysterious back bevel was there again, and larger than before. My theory is that the back and forth motion (from using the honing guide) causes the slurry in front of the leading edge to wear away the metal, and since I spent so much time on the stones, it resulted in more material removed.

Finally, I stropped it 5 times on each side with light pressure on a bare leather strop.

After all that work, I was able to take very fine shavings, and a lot of them. (Incidentally, I was planing against the grain and didn't even realize it because I was getting a good surface. It was only after I tried taking a deeper cut and got tearout that I realized my error.) The edge has held up well, although planing straight-grained pine is admittedly easy work. In one of the photos below, you'll see one of the thin shavings I took. It has a split running down its length, which was caused by an edge defect -- one that I missed and was there even after all that work! On the wood, I could see and feel the raised track left by the defect. Looking back at the photos, I can see there's a tiny chip toward the left side of the blade that remained at the end.

So the performance of the blade after all that work is good (in my limited testing), other than the chip that remained. Hopefully I'll figure out a way to sharpen it more efficiently -- spending almost 30 minutes on a single blade is just not realistic. I also still have to see how it behaves under more difficult conditions, like if it hits a knot. If it's chippy and remains difficult to sharpen, I may attempt to re-temper the blade.

Here are pictures of the blade edge as I sharpened it:

The mysterious back bevel:

A fine shaving, with a split caused by the edge defect:

Finally, here's a picture from the prior sharpening (using the diamond 1000), where the edge was badly chipped. I wasn't exaggerating when I said there were horrible tracks:

© 1998 - 2017 by Ellis Walentine. All rights reserved.
No parts of this web site may be reproduced in any form or by
any means without the written permission of the publisher.