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more on sharpening - jcstudge - 09-01-2019

Hey all,

I don't need a discussion on how to sharpen or which method is best(I already bought them all).  I want to chat about what is good enough and feeling like you can never get there.

I own several sets of chisels.  Decent ones.  I realized a year ago that on one of them I only lapped about 1" of the back and that was making hard to clean up tenon faces due to the slight crank in the chisel.  So when my wife gave me a few Lie-nielson chisels I decided I was going to lap them "perfectly".  I was working on that this morning with my 300 diamond stone and just can't get it flat.  I mean flat over the most of the back.  There still remains a bit at the tip(the important part) that the stone has not touched.  I went to 80g on the worksharp(not convinced it can actually flatten) but didn't make much progress.

So the question comes down to is this.  I can sharpen a chisel sharpen enough to shave with.  I can trim the face of a tenon well enough for my skill level.  Should I be worried about this perfect amount of flatness?  Do you struggle with being confident that you know what you are doing is working and is "right".  Hoping to start some discussion on more than just equipment and tools but on knowing where to worry and fuss and where to just get back to work.

Thanks!


RE: more on sharpening - DonSlaughter - 09-01-2019

I have a LOT of chisels and can honestly say I have never had that problem!  I have several Lie Nielsen chisels, a 3/4" that has been my 'go to' for 20 years.  I believe that if I bought a chisel from Lie Nielsen and found it to be less that flat on the back...I would call them directly and report it.
I always lap the backs of my chisels the first time I sharpen them, and polish with 10,000 grit, and never have to bother with them again other than to knock the burr off when I sharpen.

As for trimming tenons, yes I believe a flat (lapped) chisel is the preferable way to trim but not the only way. I often use a router plane.

Good luck,

Don


RE: more on sharpening - Timberwolf - 09-01-2019

(09-01-2019, 12:18 PM)jcstudge Wrote: Hey all,

I don't need a discussion on how to sharpen or which method is best(I already bought them all).  I want to chat about what is good enough and feeling like you can never get there.

I own several sets of chisels.  Decent ones.  I realized a year ago that on one of them I only lapped about 1" of the back and that was making hard to clean up tenon faces due to the slight crank in the chisel.  So when my wife gave me a few Lie-nielson chisels I decided I was going to lap them "perfectly".  I was working on that this morning with my 300 diamond stone and just can't get it flat.  I mean flat over the most of the back.  There still remains a bit at the tip(the important part) that the stone has not touched.  I went to 80g on the worksharp(not convinced it can actually flatten) but didn't make much progress.

So the question comes down to is this.  I can sharpen a chisel sharpen enough to shave with.  I can trim the face of a tenon well enough for my skill level.  Should I be worried about this perfect amount of flatness?  Do you struggle with being confident that you know what you are doing is working and is "right".  Hoping to start some discussion on more than just equipment and tools but on knowing where to worry and fuss and where to just get back to work.

Thanks!
..........................
Should I be worried about this perfect amount of flatness?

My opinion....if you're working wood the answer is no...Wood is not perfect and it moves....you're not going to achieve perfect "flatness" of your chisels doing it by hand..You will never get "perfect" flatness with anything. I would worry more about sharpness than flatness...shaving arm hair is one thing,,,try making a clean cut in two directions in a paper towel...if you can do that, it's sharp enough for woodworking { and even surgery } ..I know that from having ten stitches in the top of my thumb... Upset Rolleyes


RE: more on sharpening - jcstudge - 09-01-2019

Thanks for the responses.  

I went back out and had an epiphany about flat enough.  I sharpened the bevel on the 300g stone until I had a burr all the way accross.  Then rubbed the back on the 300g 3-5 times with the whole chisel on the stone.  The burr completely went away.  In my opinion that is flat enough.  Will get the chisel sharp and report back.

John


RE: more on sharpening - jcstudge - 09-01-2019

(09-01-2019, 01:34 PM)Timberwolf Wrote: ..........................
Should I be worried about this perfect amount of flatness?

My opinion....if you're working wood the answer is no...Wood is not perfect and it moves....you're not going to achieve perfect "flatness" of your chisels doing it by hand..You will never get "perfect" flatness with anything. I would worry more about sharpness than flatness...shaving arm hair is one thing,,,try making a clean cut in two directions in a paper towel...if you can do that, it's sharp enough for woodworking { and even surgery } ..I know that from having ten stitches in the top of my thumb... Upset  Rolleyes

Cut a paper towel in two directions?  Never heard of that one.  Can you describe a bit more?

John


RE: more on sharpening - Timberwolf - 09-01-2019

(09-01-2019, 02:26 PM)jcstudge Wrote: Cut a paper towel in two directions?  Never heard of that one.  Can you describe a bit more?

John

.................
It's a test that I "discovered" on a Youtube channel and that it it is a very effective means to judge "sharpness" of a blade..Better than shaving hair IMO.....I hold the paper towel in my left hand, then stab the point { or the corner in the case of a chisel } and then slice downward, making the cut as long as you can...and a really sharp edge will make a cut that is clean and without ragged edges. If it can do that, it should actually be able to "pop" the hairs off your arm just by placing the edge against the bottom of a hair, without moving the blade. They just "fly" off into space..Even a moderately sharp edge can shave hair if it is "finessed" a little. But there's no fooling the paper towel test...you know it when you see it. Big Grin


RE: more on sharpening - jcstudge - 09-01-2019

Ok so here is my result.  Headed out to try to paper towel test once I get the baby to sleep.



[img=800x800]





RE: more on sharpening - Rob Young - 09-01-2019

That looks pretty good for endgrain cut. Shaving has body, not just dust. If it isn't taking significant effort you've pretty much got it. 

Now you can experiment with stropping for maintaining the edge as you work.

Sharpening is a gateway skill.


RE: more on sharpening - AHill - 09-03-2019

Just out of curiosity, what is a 300g stone? Do you mean 3000 grit? If your final sharpening is truly on a 300 grit stone, you are not even near getting sharp. Sharp starts at 4000 grit followed by stropping with a honing compound. You can skip stropping if your last stone is 8000 grit. I know some folks who sharpen up to 30,000 grit (which is think is way overkill). It's not uncommon to find folks sharpening up to 12,000 grit or thereabouts.


RE: more on sharpening - Timberwolf - 09-03-2019

(09-01-2019, 03:41 PM)jcstudge Wrote: Ok so here is my result.  Headed out to try to paper towel test once I get the baby to sleep.



[img=800x800]


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