Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spooky Scary Sharp (in Three-D!)

Bud Decker, a friend of mine decided to make a quick video demonstrating the Scary Sharp method for sharpening chisels and plane irons.  The video is quick so pop over to his blog to give it a look: Scary Sharp 2.  I have to admit that my sharpening regime is, uhm, lax.  This isn't to say my planes won't make lovely curlies or flatten large panels without tearout, but I'll still say 'lax'.

Next week, I'm attending a 3-day hands-on seminar with Frank Klausz.  If I showed up with dull chisels and planes... 'nuff said.  I used Bud's video as a motivator to sharpen all my chisels and a select bunch of the plane blades.

 Now you did go watch Bud's video so here's how I did mine as there are a couple differences (and by now you caught the in 3-D reference :)

My procedure was as follows:
  1. My chisels and plane irons all needed their backs addressed.  Normally you do this once in a blue moon after the first time, but I wanted to make sure these were flat.  Remember, I was lax.
  2. Once the backs were flat, I used  a Veritas MKII honing jig to have a consistent angle throughout the grits to clean up the main bevels.
  3. I then used the jig's micro-bevel setting to put a micro-bevel through all the grits.

This is what I used.  First up was a DMT 220 diamond plate.  I love this plate for hogging off material.  All it takes is a spritz of water rather than a full-on soak like water stones (and it doesn't dish).

Next, sheets of wet/dry paper in P800, P1500 and P2000 grit.  I didn't have any float or plate glass available so I used spray adhesive to tack the sheets to a scrap of solid-surface material that I verified was "as flat as I need it today".  In the future, I'll have a wider variety of grits as it makes for less work between grits.

Lastly, taking care of the wire edge and stropping.  The plate in the front is a DMT diamond plate at 8000 grit.  The leather strop is charged with green (visible side) and white (other side) rouge.

After sharpening the main and microbevel, I work off the wire edge by carefully pulling the chisel off the 8000 grit plate; I only do the back.

Next, place the back of the chisel (or plane iron) flat on the green rouge strop and pull back.  Do not press hard on the chisel or the leather will 'wrap' over the trailing cutting edge and actually dull it.

Flip the strop and repeat with white rouge (which, for French speakers, sounds like an oxymoron :)

Lastly, prove it.  It should easily shave hair off your arm.  Man, my arm looked stupid that night...

More action shots! This is a scrap of Poplar.

...and just because it isn't a chisel, you can do your Veritas Striking Knife and you'll be able to easily shave end-grain with it.  Fun for the whole family!

I sprayed the chisels with a dry lubricant to displace the water.

After the chisels came the plane irons.  I messed up on this plane's iron as I took two strokes on 220 with the bevel angle set at 25º when it's a 15º blade.  That took a lot of swipes to correct later, but it still pulled off basically a lace doily of Poplar.

Maintenance?  Who wants to pull all this out.  Granted, it was fast and I was doing backs, correcting bevels, and putting a micro-bevel.  That's everything!  Normally you'd just touch up the micro-bevel when you need to.  What I actually do during use is keep the green/white strop handy and strop the back of my blade gently; it makes a difference.  I did that before trying this scary sharp method so I'll continue now with likely better results.

Now get to sharpening!

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