@George: I too use the Flexcut gold compound because I couldn’t find anything different here in the Netherlands. I actually bought it in Germany. It works fine and gives a nice polished edge. But it doesn’t last long. It turns bright black rather quick and according to the Flexcut website that’s a sign when to recharge. I recall Paul saying his compound lasts for three weeks. Don’t know if you have the same experience.Anonymous16 November 2012 at 10:46 am #3303
Minute ferrous metal particles tend to blacken as they oxidise, but the best way to determin whether or not a strop needs re-charging is the level of polish reduces.
Here’s a link to one supplier of the honing paste I use, but there are many others
I always get a thick black layer on the strop after using the Flexcut Gold stuff but, as Gary mentions, I keep using it until it takes far longer to get a good polish. I’ve watched Pauls sharpening videos on YouTube (again) and he seems to have the same black layer on his strop.
I also noticed that Paul’s stone sequence goes course -> fine -> super fine. Is that better than going medium -> fine -> super fine? I know the course stone settles down and loses a lot of it’s cutting ability after a few sharpenings so maybe that’s why he uses that sequence?
George.Anonymous16 November 2012 at 4:43 pm #3319
It’s normally preferable to try and avoid making massive leaps between particle sizes due to the need to eliminate scratches from the previous grit. The difference between coarse and fine isn’t quite as pronounced as that between extra coarse and fine diamond plates and stones. Much depends on how aggressive the plate/stone is, as I often vary which plate or stone combination is used because a great deal depends on the steel being abraded. I think it’s necessary for one to be willing to vary your sharpening routine to match the quality of steel being whetted can make a big difference in end results and work necessary to achieve a working edge. After a while you might find yourself floating between the use of a wider variety of sharpening media.
You’re definitely spot on in terms of the manner in which diamond plates wear/settle in and the only thing I can add is that the same also tends to be true regarding artificial and natural sharpening stones. Perhaps we should only use the term “grit” as a rough guide to the manner in which a sharpening media abrades steel, or it’s finesse, rather than preserve the expectation it will automatically abrade all steel types in a given way.
“It’s normally preferable to try and avoid making massive leaps between particle sizes due to the need to eliminate scratches from the previous grit.”
Very true. I use a four sided strop with some really coarse buffing compound going up to really fine. Otherwise I find I spend a lot of time on a single grit strop after finishing on diamonds.
It is a matter of finding a balance between complicating things by adding too many grits and spending too long getting rid of scratches left by the last grit.Anonymous16 November 2012 at 7:49 pm #3326
Yes, it is very much a case of trying to keep work as streamlined as possible while trying to avoid over complicating processes. I think we all eventually find our own method of reaching the same/similar end goals as it truly basically boils down to personal preferences.
Have you tried going from extra fine diamond plate to an approximate grit of 4k prior to stropping? I honestly think hitting stones beyond 4k is wasted effort as the resulting finesse is lost with the first swipe of the plane or chisel, although IMHO stropped edges tend to hold better than their whetted equivalents.Anonymous17 November 2012 at 2:33 pm #3368
A much delayed reply
Much depends on how much wear an edge has sustained, or how often you touch-up an edge while you work, as the whetting process can tend to become more involved (Involving more grits) and take longer if an edge is allowed to become too dull. I typically (Lightly) re-whet edges as soon as they don’t feel quite as keen as I prefer them to be and this tends to keep honing to the higher grits, until I feel it’s time to slightly adjust a bevel, but that’s my take on it and not necessarily everyone else’s. The convex bevel is normally best maintained using the same grits and in the manner Paul uses, as this helps prevent unnecessary changes in bevel angles.
Try not to worry concerning speed of progress, as speed naturally comes with practise. Simply maintain accuracy and focus until both become a form of habit and you’ll be surprised how soon your pace naturally gathers momentum in all aspects of your work. Time is money when working as a professional in all craft operations and one thing you’re seldom allowed during working hours is time for tool sharpening, so you tend to adopt the fastest means possible of aquiring good quality sharp edges.
The use of primary and secondary bevels is a slower sharpening method than if utilising the convex edge method. An edge doesn’t wear any faster in comparison to convex bevels, but prep time does take longer and (As you rightly said) the primary bevel will need re-grinding occasionally and when the secondary bevel becomes over-sized. Although primary and secondary bevels are in common use within the trade, I’d never come across the phrase “micro-bevel” at any time during my career, or prior to reading about them on the internet.Anonymous17 November 2012 at 2:37 pm #3370
Never a problem Michael 😉
It’s typically time to re-load the strop once it becomes glazed, but ti’s normally a good while before a strop hits that point. 🙂
I used Paul’s coarse, fine, super-fine method today for the first time and followed it up with stropping with Flexcut Gold (thanks for the recommendation George). For the first time in my life I got an edge on a chisel which was sharp enough to shave hairs with. I know this for a fact as I’m now the idiot with a strip of hair missing from the back of his hand!!! It’s such a joy to use a sharp chisel.Anonymous17 November 2012 at 7:15 pm #3377
That’s great news Jon 😀 The sharpening results and not the idiot with a bald hand part 😉
After a long break from using them, I was re-sharpening my open razors just the other night, so have a pronounced test strip on my left forearm. It could become a trend at this rate. 😀
Have you used the same sharpening technique on your hand plane/planes yet Jon?
Ahhhh, therein lies another story Gary!! I’ve spent a large part of this afternoon lapping the sole of my recently acquired (old, bought from eBay) Stanley No.4. As I mentioned in an earlier message, you could have limbo danced through the ‘smile’ on the sole. Heaven only knows how the guy that owned it before me ever flattened anything with it. Anyway, it’s now 90% there, the base is flat, but there is a little bit of pitting in the sole that I’d like to get rid of. I think I’ll just have to keep on working on it over the weeks until I’ve got it totally clean.
I did have a serious go at sharpening the plane iron and also flattening the back iron so that it fits flush against the cutting iron. I’m not quite sure what I’ve done, but I’ve gone from having a plane that was so out of true that it was a joke, but which took decent shavings, to have a plane which looks to be completely square, but is a complete bitch. The iron is now square, sharp and clamped tightly against the back iron, but is now almost impossible to get a clean shaving with. It’s either scraping the surface of the wood or seriously digging in, depending upon the depth I set it to – I would describe it as ‘snagging’. I’ve made sure it’s not an issue with the stock I’m testing it on or the direction of the grain. I’ve also sharpened the blade on my block plane and the shavings I’m getting on this same piece test stock are almost obscenely good, so it’s definitely a problem with the number 4. I’m guessing that it’s the angle that the iron is protruding from the sole that’s the problem, although I’m not sure. I think the first job tomorrow might be to move the frog back a touch to see if that alters the angle of the edge meeting the wood. Other than that I’m not sure what else it can be. Suggestions anyone?
JonAnonymous18 November 2012 at 10:58 am #3398
It sounds like you’re doing well with your sharpening routine, but have had some fun and games with your #4 my friend. I may be able to help in some way, as this is what I’d do if presented with the same/similar situation;
1. Remove the lever cap and double iron (Blade & Cap iron/chip breaker).
2. Slacken the frog screws and ease the frog back so it’s lower front edge rests flush with the back of the mouth and then re-tighten the screws, making sure the frog is square with the front of the mouth.
3. Ensure the frog adjustment screw (At the back of the frog) is snugged forward to prevent the frog from slipping during use.
4. Adjust the distance between blade edge and cap iron/chip breaker and set with a 1/64″ / 1mm gap.
5. Re-install your double iron and re-fit the lever cap.
Take a few test shavings and you should find your plane is back in working order, although with a fairly wide mouth setting. The mouth can be adjusted to suit the nature of the work being carried out, but both frog and cap iron/chip breaker positions I’ve suggested should work well with most types of work my friend. 😉
I’ve basically tried all these things this morning before reading your posting. All these things except for tightening up the rear frog adjustment screw that is. It’s definitely better, but when compared to my little block plane it’s just not great. I’ll tighten up the rear frog adjustment screw and report back.
Thanks. Your input is extremely gratefully received as always.
JonAnonymous18 November 2012 at 12:30 pm #3402
Never a problem my friend. 😉 I hope my offerings help resolve the problem, but sight unseen it can sometimes be difficult to identify an exact cause.
Another possibility that can affect the feel of a plane and cause problems achieving adequate shavings can be if there’s residual burr on a cutting edge. The presence of the slightest burr can often make a vast difference in the quality of cut and potentially make it appear as though there’s a fault with the plane/chisel. A few more swipes on the extra fine plate, before wiping the flat of the blade on the plate, then stropping should help if it is a cause.
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