Sharpening Hints


One of the more common questions I get on a weekly basis in the shop has to do with the best was to sharpen hand tools. We have the Tormek T7 and T3 ¬†sharpening systems the shelf and whilst they’re excellent units, the price does end to put a lot of people off.

I’m a hand sharpener and use a combination of diamond plates, Japanese water stones and a leather strop to sharpen all my chisels and hand plane blades.

If I’m reworking a very dull chisel I’ll usually start with a coarse diamond plate of around 320 grit which is particularly good for removing any nicks or small chips from the blade.
I’ll then move up to a 600g, then an 800 plate, 1200 plate and a 2000g plate. From there I move up to a 4000g Japanese water stone and then finish with a leather strop dressed with honing compound. At every stage of sharpening I always sharpen the bevel, then flip the tool over and flatten the back.

I find that this process gives me a uniform mirror finish on the tool which stays sharp for a long time,( depending on the timber).

The biggest issue nearly all of us have had when learning to sharpen is to figure out the best way to set the angle of the chisel or plane blade so that we can get accurate and repeatable results. There are a mountain of jig systems available to help you set the angle but I’ve found that a simple jig which you can make up yourself offers one of the best and most cost effective solutions available.

The plan for the Deneb Puchalski Angle Setting Jig features on the Lie Nielsen Australia website, but for convenience you can click here for a direct link to the plan and here for a direct link to the really useful Lie Nielsen sharpening guide.

As always your questions and comments are appreciated.

Be safe and have fun

Cheers
Bryan

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