Welcome! Forums General Woodworking Discussions Tools and Tool Maintenance/Restoration Paul's sharpening method with japanese stones

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  • #139529
    Julio T.
    Participant

    Hello all.

    After watching Paul’s method for sharpening, using diamond stones and polishing compound over a stroop, I would like to know if anybody has tried to follow this method but using japanese whetstones instead of diamnond stones. I’ve a pair of diamond stones, but they’re not quality stones, and the grits are very coarse (160) and coarse (260). My first sharpening stone was a cheap four-sides block. with diamond grits from 200 to 600, but I’m afraid I’m “paying” the cheap diamonds, since they cut much less every day, and the finishing of the cutting edge is anything except fine or polish. So a few months ago, before to know Paul Seller’s work, I bought two japanese stones (1000 and 6000 grit), ’cause I had read that they are one of the best options to get a good sharpening with a fine cutting edge. These stones have been sleeping and waiting to be used, since I’ve had completely stopped my home woodworking (that invention of hell called “job overbooking”). I’m returning to woodworking now.
    I would like to know if anybody has tried to follow Paul’s sharpening method, but using japanese stones. I mean, passing from the japanese stones to the leather stroop and, if so, how the results have been.

    Thanks a lot.

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Julio T..
    #139567

    The problem you are going to have with the water stones is the forward stroke. These stone are very soft and you will probably gouge them. If you can master just the backward stroke, they may work.

    Located in Honeoye Falls NY USA. The Finger Lakes region of Western NY.

    "If you give me 6 hours to fell a tree, I will take the first 4 to sharpen my axe" Abe Lincoln

    #139588
    Ed
    Participant

    Yes, I use Paul’s method on waterstones at times (6000 and 10000 grit). The chances of gouging the stone is high, and I have in fact gouged mine, but I still do it and find that I gouge it less and less. You must listen and feel carefully. When I use waterstones plus diamonds, I develop the edge on the diamond plates until I’m getting a burr. On the waterstones, i start with a short stroke and gradually increase the stroke length. At some point, I can hear and feel that I’m starting to come to the true edge of the iron or chisel and do a number of strokes of that length. If you go further, then you will feel the edge grab and may gouge the stone. Actually, you can feel all this on the diamond plates, too. My stones are from Sigma and may be harder than others, like King, so I don’t know what will happen with other stones.

    #139589
    Julio T.
    Participant

    Yes, that was my first idea: sharpen first in the diamond stone until get a burr and after work with the japanese stones (that would be a #600 diamond-#1000 whetstone-#6000 whetstone in my case), and after polishing in the stroop. I will try it and will tell you how the thing has been.

    By the way, my stones are King stones. They are the only ones I have been able to find without paying a small fortune in shipping costs or in the stones themselves.

    Thank you very much.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Julio T..
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Julio T..
    #139604
    Ed
    Participant

    Be prepared to gouge the stone…it is quite likely. Another option is to use a circular stroke on the waterstones, feeling for the edge. I’m not sure how well that will work on a convex bevel, though, but you could experiment.

    #139605
    Christopher
    Participant

    Hello Julio, Its none of my business for sure and please forgive me if I’m out of place here but I just wanted to say this. I’ve tried all of it and what I have found out is using Paul’s method Its faster, Sharper, The edge last longer and with the chisels you can do so much more than with a straight bevel even with a secondary bevel. The Macro bevel is really awesome. When My blade on my plane gets dull I can pop out my three diamond stones, I made a tray that holds all three and in less than three minutes I’m back working again with the stones put away back in the cabinet. I admit it did take me a little while to get it down pat maybe three months but I’m a real slow learner. I have the KIng, Ohishi, and Shapton up to 16,000 but the green aluminum oxide strop paste does a better polishing job than all. I do use my water stones for some sharpening on certain tools. I also use Diamond Paste as well. Even sanding Mesh for some crazy profiles. But since I started using Paul’s Method two years ago I now spend more time working than sharpening and that makes me happy. I tried to fine tune Paul’s method with water stones and such but I think he has already streamlined the sharpening process with his 50 plus years experience . I’m just trying to share this in case you prefer to build as well like I do. I hope I’m not saying the wrong thing here. Cheers
    Chris

    A man who has made a reputation for his goods knows its value as well as its cost and will maintain them. H.D. est 1887

    #139606
    Ed
    Participant

    I would agree with @flatboarder . Sometimes, I want a quick extra bit and I’ll do this,but it is not my typical sharpening.

    #139626
    Julio T.
    Participant

    I didn’t want to say that sharpening with japanese stones could be better than doing it using diamonds. After watching just a few Paul’s videos it’s not that I don’t think that Paul’s method for sharpening is probably one of the better methods you can use: I’m sure about it. Completely sure, I would say. The thing is that I don’t have actually diamond stones, but I have two new -not used at all- japanese stones that I wouldn’t like to waste, at least without trying to use them first. I have a four diamond sides block, but its quality is less than decent. I’ve tried to use the stroop (loaded with a compound of chromium and aluminium oxide) after this diamond stones and the results haven’t been good enough, and of course the cutting edge wasn’t sharp enough to get a good cut. So I thought that I could try to apply Paul’s method using my japanese stones, may be just because I had already spent the money on them. Of course I didn’t thought at all that I could improve the product of 50 years of woodworking experience. In fact, I had tried to sharpen my chisels and my handplane irons using the method of the primary and secondary bevels and the result didn’t please me too much. I expected more, more cutting smoothness, and the edges -at least in my experience- don’t last too much. That was the reason for my post here.
    Since I’m knowing little by little Paul’s work and following his advices (a knifewall combined with chisel action before sawing, for example), I’m inclined to think that I will finally buy diamond stones to do a copy&paste of Paul’s technique, but there’s nothing bad on trying before with the tools I actually have 🙂 .
    By the way, I didn’t know the use of a leather stroop with polishing compound. It’s just one of the great little things that I’m discovering watching Paul’s videos.
    There’s nothing at all I can forgive. I have a lot of things to learn. Thank you everybody.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Julio T..
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Julio T..
    #139630
    Ian Lambert
    Participant

    Hi Juliot, I’ve worked my way through JN waterstones to diamond stones. I used the waterstones before I had met Paul’s teachings. I used a 250 to develop the burr followed by 1000 and 8000. This produced a good edge, why wouldn’t it if you do it well? But the stones need constant flattening for which you need a suitable flattening method. In my case a special flattening stone. The wear rate of the stones even as an amateur user was quite fast. the 8000 in particular wore down quickly (not King brand).I replaced my 8000 waterstone with my first diamond plate a DMT XXF (extra extra fine also about 8000). Of course Paul does not use this stone instead going from 1000 to the strop. Using the strop has been a revelation to me. So right now I go through 4 diamond grades and then strop. This gives quick, good results without any need to flatten any stones and a lot less mess in terms of water. I not sure what to advise if you haven’t started using your waterstones as you will need a flattening method.
    If you see yourself woodworking long term then I would save up for the diamond stones it makes life that bit easier and quicker. I don’t use a honing guide just my hand and senses. Best wishes Ian

    #139636
    Colevalleytim
    Participant

    I’m going to offer a different opinion. I first learned to sharpen using water stones, and I still use them (the same set from 1998). I use a 1200 and 6000, sometimes a 3000 blue stone. I don’t use my 250 or 800 stones anymore, I use a Worksharp 3000 for really course work and repairs. The edge from the 6000 is razor sharp.

    If you are sharpening correctly, you will wear but not gouge water stones. The periodic flattening takes a few moments, 1200 on 220 paper adhered to a piece of glass. The finish stones flattened on the 1200 stone.

    When I attended woodworking school almost everyone used water stones. But I didn’t get the best results until a took a Japanese tools class from a shoji screen maker in Oakland CA, Jay Van Arsdale. If you want to sharpen using water stones I recommend his book

      Shoji
    #139669
    Ed
    Participant

    @colevalleytim, Are you using Paul’s method on the waterstones (back and forth, linear strokes, making a convex bevel) or are you using using a more traditional circular stroke? Convex bevel?

    #139688
    Colevalleytim
    Participant

    Hi Ed
    I do sharpen in a linear fashion, pressure applied on the push stroke, no pressure on the return. On the push stroke, visualize scraping something from a piece of glass. Also, sharpen across the stone, not just in one place to help alleviate grooving the stone.

    With smaller blades (e.g. spoke shaves) I work in a circular motion.

    I don’t put a camber in my plane blades (perhaps I should), one would never want to do that with laminated Japanese steel (the edge would be too brittle).

    I checked on the grit size of different finishing methods:
    1200 water stone: 13um
    Norton Extra Fine diamond: 11um
    DMY Extra fine diamond: 9um
    6000 water stone: 2um
    green sharpening compound: 0.5um
    So stropping will produce a finer polished edge, I don’t know if that matters.

    IMHO: The most important thing in sharpening isn’t the angel, or even the grit but the consistently of the sharpening angle combined with a dead flat back.

    #139696
    RickS
    Participant

    Sometimes you can’t use the strop. If you have chisels like Lee Valleys with the PMV-11 steel, the strop almost doesn’t touch them. The chromium oxide (green compound) doesn’t properly abrade the hard steel. For these I use a jig and water stones. As an aside, not all water stones like abrading this tough steel either. For my other chisels, I like sharpening them by hand. I can strop them just fine. Does anyone know if a strop will work on A2 chisels / blades?

    #139728
    Reno
    Participant

    It is impractical to use three waterstones set out like the diamond plates that Paul demonstrates. However, you can make a triangular rig like the one below that Frank Klausz uses.

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    #139751
    Julio T.
    Participant

    Hello again.

    As I told you, I’ve tried Paul’s method with my japanese stones. I’ve sharpened the iron -an original Record iron of tungsten steel -of my Record no. 4 plane and a pair of chisels. One of them was almost new, and the other one was an old flea market chisel, but made in Sheffield. Probably this one is 30 or more years old.

    I’ve used an hybrid diamond-japanese stones sequence. I’ve started with 300 and 400 grit on diamond stones. I’ve followed with 600 grit diamond stone (all of them in a four-sided block, fair quality) and after that I’ve used 1000 and 6000 japanese stones. I’ve finished with polishing compound (alumina) over a home-made stroop.

    I’ve strictly followed Paul’s instructions about how to move the hand, the blade, the angle of the iron, the position of the wings (I’m not sure that this word be correct) of the blade, etc, but I’ve also taken into count your advices. The results have been simply excellent. All tools are well sharpened and cut now like razors now. I must say that I’ve spent more time than Paul, but the results are very good.

    Taking into count that japanese stones will wear and will need periodic reflattening, I think that I will use them while they last, and will get a set of diamond stones in the future (my woodworking activity is not very intense, I’m afraid). After all, the money of the japanese stones is already spent!

    Thank you very much.

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