Reply by Planeman40

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Posted on Chisel & Plane Iron Sharpening Stone Suggestions

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1430 posts in 3214 days

#1 posted 04-07-2018 05:13 PM

I have been sharpening chisels, blades and carving gouges for years to a razor sharpness, testing with shaving the hair off my forearm. I have never used anything but hand sharpening except to rough shape a blade with a powered grinder. My process this as follows.

I view sharpening as divided into two parts, shaping the edge and sharpening the edge. After rough power shaping a tool edge I move to a coarse stone or diamond “stone” (I much prefer diamond stones) to refine the edge to its final shape and bringing the edge to a sharp edge with what is known as a “wire” edge. I remove this wire edge by jabbing the tool edge into the end grain of a piece of wood a few times. With the wire edge removed, you can begin the true “sharpening” process. The object is to move through a short series of coarseness in stones from coarse to fine. Each stone removes the scratches from the previous stone and further polishes the edge I always use a blade guide ( on flat edges to keep the edge straight. When I get toward the final sharpening I move to Arkansas stones ( which I prefer over water stones as water stones are soft and need periodic flattening and water stones make a mess. When I am finished with the Arkansas stone, I finish with stropping on a leather strop with jeweler’s rouge (a fine abrasive in a wax base) embedded in the surface. I make all of my own strops, however you can buy them. I continue this until I can easily shave the hair off my forearm as a test. If the strop won’t make the shaving test, then I return back a step or two in the process and work more on the edge. then back to stropping and the “test”.

As to diamond “stones”, the expensive diamond stones usually last longer, however I find the cheaper Harbor Freight diamond “stones” to do an adequate job. I have various sizes from diamond slips ( which I find indispensable to larger plates (

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