I need a sharpening system

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Forum topic by RussellAP posted 11-20-2012 01:55 PM 1883 views 1 time favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3105 posts in 3568 days

11-20-2012 01:55 PM

Here is what I’ll be sharpening and if you all have experience with a particular machine that will do what I need done, let me know what it is and your experience with it.

I’ll be sharpening planes and lathe chisels mostly.
The lathe chisels don’t need to be absolutely honed, just a decent edge will do, but the planes I want to be honed very sharp.

I’d also like something that doesn’t require a footprint in my shop. I’m already tripping over tools as it is. It needs to be something that can be easily put away.

Thanks in advance.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

24 replies so far

View WoodyG's profile


33 posts in 4454 days

#1 posted 11-20-2012 02:16 PM

Well, Russ… need more than one and the price doesn’t neccessarily reflect its usefullness. I have a great
Tormek for planer blades and hand plane blades but I don’t like it for lathe tools…too slow….. I have two glass sanders which I made and they are perfect for honing straight and flat hand tools. I have 3 diamond plates for hand knives and 1 other diamond stone set for other knives. Buddy, I’ll tell you now you will never stop sharpening tools and you’ll always be looking for better tools to do it with but you will need a GOOD bench grinder. I chose the 8” Delta because I get a nice discount at Lowe’s and it is well supported by Delta.
There are a huge number and variety of sharpening aids and “ebay” has several thousand to choose from but all I can say is be comfortable when you sharpen.

-- WoodyG

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


9096 posts in 3858 days

#2 posted 11-20-2012 02:36 PM

Yeah buddy

Scary Sharp
MDF with green honing compound

+1 for WoodyG

View Biff's profile


126 posts in 3295 days

#3 posted 11-20-2012 03:02 PM

I love the Tormek system for my lathe tools. I’ve found it is only really slow when you are initially changing the grind of a chisel. Otherwise for basic sharpening it goes quickly after you’ve done it a couple times. Results are fantastic. As a bonus, I could perform surgery with my kitchen knives! Another bonus is no sparks!

-- Interested in Oregon property? Visit me at

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 3428 days

#4 posted 11-20-2012 03:04 PM

Do you have a bench grinder already? That’s what I use for lathe chisels. The jig for fingernail/Ellsworth grinds is easy to make. You can use a grinder up to a certain point for plane irons, but then you’ll want a fine honing stone and a strop.


View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3879 days

#5 posted 11-20-2012 03:09 PM

I thought you had the WS 3000 Russ, if not, that is an option for you. Sort of a mechanizied scary sharp method, plus should be good for the lathe chisels, gouges too.

View wunderaa's profile


248 posts in 3484 days

#6 posted 11-20-2012 03:15 PM

For your reading pleasure, let me suggest Leonard Lee’s book, The Complete Guide to Sharpening

In the book, Lee gives details on sharpening everything from chisels to scissors, plane irons to axes. He also does a great job of summarizing the equipment he would recommend to accomplish what he has discussed in each section. It makes for a good read and an even better reference.

For your situation, I could imagine a recommendation of a honing guide, and a series of diamond plates or water stones for your planes and a grinder and decent rest/jig for your lathe tools. Really up to your preferences.

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3529 days

#7 posted 11-20-2012 03:55 PM

For me gouges go to the grinder, chisels, skews, and plane irons go to the stones. I have jigs and/or honing guides for everything. I practice freehand with some crappy buck bros chisels and a crappy buck bros plane iron, but I don’t have the muscle memory down good enough yet to put away the Veritas MK II


View Mosquito's profile


11362 posts in 3573 days

#8 posted 11-20-2012 04:02 PM

I sharpen freehand on DMT’s up to X-Fine, and then finish on a 6000 grit King water stone. The DMTs work pretty well. I’ve got an X-X-Fine DMT (8000 grit) but I wasn’t happy with the edge I was getting with it, so I tried a cheap King water stone. I’m happier with it, and I think I may buy another water stone down the road.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7288 posts in 3774 days

#9 posted 11-20-2012 05:59 PM

I think it’s a 2 tool (or system) set up. Scary Sharp or a Worksharp for the plane blades, and a slow speed bench grinder with a Wolverine jig for the lathe chisels. The Wolverine could be a shop built replica, and the grinder should have the white wheels. I used Scary Sharp for a lot of years and it worked really well, but I don’t remember pulling out my glass plates since I got a Worksharp. It great for your bench chisels as well. I have a Tormek, but it does have a footprint, and you have to pull out the water and get it set up… me, that means it doesn’t fit your criteria.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Don W's profile

Don W

20241 posts in 3849 days

#10 posted 11-20-2012 06:18 PM

I good grinder and a few DMT’s and be done with it.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View ETwoodworks's profile


92 posts in 3974 days

#11 posted 11-20-2012 06:18 PM

I love my WS3000 it works perfect for chissels and plane irons. When it comes to lathe knives i just freehand them on top and get plenty good enuf results in just seconds. I got really lucky and got it off CL for $125 with 2 extra glass plates and the wide blade jig.

-- Building quality in a throw away world.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 3391 days

#12 posted 11-20-2012 06:27 PM

If I were doing it all over again, I’d buy:

For everything except the lathe tools:
- (2) double sided DMT diamond plates (XC/C & F/XF)
- A double sided 4000/8000 waterstone
- A $12 side clamp sharpening guide

Then, I’d make a jig like this:
Here’s how it works:

My example of the jig took less than 30 minutes to make, it’s not as nice as the LN “show” version.

The DMT’s are for flattening backs, and the XC will also work to flatten the water stones. A DiaFlat is better, and a good future purchase, but I used an XC for years before the DiaFlat was available.

All of my primary bevels are shaped on the XC DMT, then the guide is moved to create a microbevel on the 4000/8000 water stones. I use the next stop up on the jig for the microbevel. Most sharpening touch-ups are the micro ONLY, on the 8000 stone. The primary gets nothing beyond the DMT XC.

For example… on a typical bench chisel, I’ll shape the primary bevel using the 30 degree stop ‘till I feel a wire edge, reset the chisel to 35 degrees, and do 5-7 strokes on the 4000, and 5 or so strokes on the 8000. DONE! Touch-ups get reset with the 35 degree stop, and a few strokes on the 8000. That’s it, for incredibly sharp, easily repeatable results!

Backs get XC-C-F-XF DMT, and nothing else. Backs need to be FLAT, not perfect mirror polished. The DMT XF is plenty fine for this.

If the microbevel gets more than 1/16” wide, I hit the XC, at the primary jig setting, until the microbevel shrinks to a hair, then go back to the microbevel setting and the 4000/8000 stones. It takes longer to type this than to do it.

This is all I use any more for planes, chisels, marking knives, etc…

For the lathe tools:
- A decent bench grinder, 1800 or 3600, doesn’t matter to me.
- 60 and 120 grit friable wheels.
- A Wolverine jig & too rest set.

I have a Tormek, but I rarely use it. The main use is for carving tools, where it’s indispensable. If I didn’t have carving tools, I’d sell it. I also have a drawer full of unused guides, stones, sandpaper on glass… Want to buy them? ;^)

View Don W's profile

Don W

20241 posts in 3849 days

#13 posted 11-20-2012 06:33 PM

Not to steal Russel’s thread, but it is the same line of question. I hate waterstones and I don’t understand why you’d go from a dmt to waterstone when a 3 micron dmt is equivalent to a 8000 grit waterstone.

I finish with the dmt and it works great, so what is the advantage to starting with DMT’s and finishing with waterstones?

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 3568 days

#14 posted 11-20-2012 06:50 PM

Don, where is a good place to buy DMT?

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Don W's profile

Don W

20241 posts in 3849 days

#15 posted 11-20-2012 07:02 PM

I don’t really know Russ, I got mine off eBay on a buy it now. I was just in the right place at the right time or I’d still be using oil stones. And that wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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