In order to make things from wood, you need sharp tools. I’m pretty sure everyone knows that. I’ve taken a few classes, around the area, on sharpening chisels and plane irons, watched the YouTube videos, etc, etc, etc. One thing I found for certain… there is a wide range of opinions on systems, methods, and results. I’m not knocking anyone or any system.
I started with scary sharp. I didn’t want to blow a ton of money on lots of stones until I learned a little bit more and got some direction. I came across a set of Norton waterstones at an estate sale last year (220, 1000, 4000, and 8000) for a good price, so I grabbed them. Each of these systems worked fine, but the jigs were a bit of a pain, the sandpaper expensive, the water stones were messy, and the flattening process was no picnic. All of this took a lot of time.
What do you do when a task takes time? You procrastinate. Now the tools are duller than they should be and the work suffers.
My desire to learn brought me to Paul Sellers “Working Wood” series. I bought the book and a couple of the DVD’s. The “Master Sharpening” video is great, and it walks you through the entire gammet of tools. Paul uses diamond stones, which I had been reading about. What did I like best? No flattening, very little mess from water, and they were not as expensive as I thought they might be.
I purchased an extra course, course, fine, and extra fine from DMT. They are American made and require very little maintenance. Without a holder, they were a little difficult to use. So, I decided to make an appliance to hold my new stones, much the way Paul holds his.
I took a piece of yellow pine, 1×10, about a foot long. I left an edge margin of about 5/8″ and 1/2″ between stones. I used a marking knife to score around the first stone, then chiseled out a recess 1/8″ deep. I cleaned the recess with my recently acquired Miller Falls 67 Router (more on that in another post). Working down the line, I created four recesses. After that, I trimmed the board to length, cleaned up all the edges, attached a bench hook for stabilization, and sharpened my first iron. No muss, no fuss, just a really sharp edge.