Leather disc for sharpening

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Blog entry by Sergeich posted 02-12-2016 07:45 PM 1898 reads 5 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I love to sharpen my tools with Japanese water stones. It is like meditation. First you choose appropriate stones for a particular blade. Then soak these stones in water for a while. Then level surfaces of the stones. Then pick up one stone and start to sharpen. Thoroughly, thoughtfuly, unhurriedly. Then you take second stone, then third, then fourth… Using nagura… Listening to shamisen… This way inevitably leads to full and ultimate enlightenment. But, to be honest, sometimes I just want to have sharp tool as quickly as possible to continue working on a current project. Usually after sharpening blade on stones I hone it a little bit on a leather strop with some paste. Or, for carving tools, I use a rotating felt disc with a paste as well. The last one is also good for honing woodworking tools, like plane blades, chisels etc. But felt is not capable to remove much material because it is soft and if strongly pressed it rounds a cutting edge. The leather is much harder than felt. And that’s the point. I decided to make a rotating leather disc for sharpening.
Cutting pieces from a leather sheet:

Since the leather sheet was kept in a roll, I had to level the pieces. I soaked them with water and put under press:

After a night leather pieces are flat:

Finding centres:

Drawing circles:

It is not a big fun to cut thick leather with a knife. I decided to try cut leather with a bandsaw. And I liked this:

Five discs have been cut:

Drilling holes:

Preparing for glueing with a sandpaper and spirit:

I glued discs with a contact glue. To align discs I inserted a bolt in the hole:

Pressing of glued pieces:

On the other day:

Setting a hardware:

Smoothing all discs with sandpaper and drill:

Smooth enaugh:

Mounting the drill with the leather disc in a workmate:

Adding some honing paste (paste GOI):

I decided to test the new jig on a kitchen knife (all the woodworking tools were sharp at the moment). It was pretty dull and did not cut a thin paper sheet:

Firstly several strokes on a grinder:

And several strokes on the leather disc with considerable pressure. As a result the knife shaved hairs on my hand and clean cut a thin paper sheet:

The whole process of sharpening took about 2 minutes.
Some considerations.
We should have in mind however that the kitchen knife used in this study was made of rather soft steel. I dont know so far how it will turned out with high quality steel blades. Probably this method is not always applicable. But I am sure this little shortcut in sharpening may be useful at least in some cases.

May all you be happy!



6 comments so far

View yuridichesky's profile


624 posts in 3243 days

#1 posted 02-12-2016 10:02 PM

Looks like very handy addition to the sharpening setup.

Thanks for such detailed pictorial, very interesting to see how this honing wheel is getting its shape.

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View Sergeich's profile


111 posts in 3076 days

#2 posted 02-12-2016 10:34 PM

Thank you for your kind comment, Yuri! What are you working at now?

View BurlyBob's profile


9394 posts in 3545 days

#3 posted 02-13-2016 03:19 AM

Thanks for showing this. It’s a great idea. What do you think would effectively be the largest diameter and width
for general usage?

View waho6o9's profile


9095 posts in 3857 days

#4 posted 02-13-2016 05:16 AM

Thanks Serge for the great pictorial!

View Sergeich's profile


111 posts in 3076 days

#5 posted 02-13-2016 06:39 AM

BurlyBob – Actually I don’t know. I came up with these dimensions intuitively. Theoretically increasing dimensions will lead to more effectiveness but it may influence the balance of the jig.

View yuridichesky's profile


624 posts in 3243 days

#6 posted 02-14-2016 02:04 PM

Thank you for your kind comment, Yuri! What are you working at now?

- Sergeich

One of my latest gizmos: hand screw clamp

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

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