I’ve recently added another gouge to my collection, and in the process of preparing it for use have found that every time I go to hone it the edge crumbles away.
I’ve come across this issue once before on a spokeshave blade, and sent away for a replacement putting it down to dodgy steel. With this second occurence I’m wondering if it’s my grinding technique instead. The gouge needed grinding first, which I do on a fast electric grinder being careful to dip the end of the tool every few seconds to keep it cool. When it comes to honing, sections of the edge just seem to crumble away and I end up with quite big chips that need grinding out again (maybe up to half a mm).
I have a theory that, because it’s quite cold here at the moment, I might be cooling and heating the steel too much and causing fractures. I’m no metallurgist though. Has anyone else ever run into this issue before?
I’ve seen that with brand new tools. The carbon in the steel gets depleted during heat treat and it takes a few sharpenings to get down to good steel, it was pretty minor and the edge would just crumble while sharpening. Or it could be bad steel, bad heat treatment or tempering, or it could have been overheated at some point. I wouldn’t think that the outside temperature would have an effect, and if your getting the steel hot by sharpening you should see oxide coloration on it.
Hi Steve, thanks for your comments. I am aware that the business end of edge tools sometimes needs to be sharpened a few times to reach good steel, but I suspect I’ve gone beyond that with this one – I must have taken it back almost 2mm by now, and it’s second hand on top of that (though I don’t know how much use it ever saw). Glad you don’t think it’s a grinding issue, I’ve always been careful to avoid overheating.
I might cut a quarter of an inch off the end just to see if it’s salvageable further back.
Thanks for your advice,
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