Secondary Bevel

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    Michael Scott


    Does anyone sharpen with a secondary bevel? I have been sharpening free hand for a number of years and it seems to take me an inordinate amount of time. Watching various online videos I see that sharpening a secondary bevel would allow me to sharpen in a few quick strokes – regrinding once the bevel extends about half way up the blade. It seems to make sense to me but I know Paul is not a fan. Any reason I should not go down this route? Seems to be a win-win from my point of view but interested to hear the views of others


    Larry Geib

    On my finest irons I use a secondary bevel with a 16k water stone with a sharpening guide and take the burr of with the Charlesworth method. No honing. I use a sharpening fixture because the stone is very soft and I have gouged it freehand too much.

    It gives the sharpest edge I can do. I added a water stone when I bought an A2 steel iron. My Arkansas takes forever to get that where I want it.

    I don’t bother with this for every plane of chisel, and not with any narrow blades. The standard method works fine for most use, and less messy. Water stones are a bit of a production to go through.

    I don’t wait for the finest stone to wear the edge down 1/2 way. Instead I remove metal each time I sharpen with my 1k diamond plate so the expensive water stone doesn’t do more work than need be. I don’t use any intermediate grits.

    There a thousand ways to sharpen. If your method works, great.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by Larry Geib.

    I do, but it may not be what you expect. I use my coarsest abrasive plate to bring the bevel to somewhere around 25 degrees or less. This is done freehand, Paul style. I’ll move up in grits at that angle and then take a couple passes at 30 to 35 degrees, depending upon the tool and task, again Paul style. This effectively gives me two bevel angles. When I need to resharpen, I have very little work to do at the tip.

    The trick is, on every sharpening, invest some time in working the heel at that “around 25 degrees or less” sort of angle on the coarsest plate. That way, the work of getting back to a shallow angle is spread over several sharpenings. This work doesn’t go all the way to the tip on most sharpenings. If you look at my tools, you will see heavy scratches on the heels, with some refinement moving toward the tip, and then a honed tip. Every so often, when the honed portion of the tip is getting to thick, I go back to scratch and hog the whole thing off at the lower angle.

    What I do keeps changing as time goes by. That’s what I’m doing now for chisels and bench plane irons.

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