Popular Woodworking 2003-04 № 133, страница 46

Popular Woodworking 2003-04 № 133, страница 46



Plane Irons and

We've tried just about every sharpening system there is -from sandpaper to ceramics to waterstones. Here's how to get the best possible edge with the least amount of fuss.

When I took my first class in woodworking some years ago, the first thing the instructor showed us was his shop-made waterstone pond.

With a reverence and care reserved for religious artifacts and small injured animals, the teacher brought the pond out from its special place in his cabinet. For more than an hour he talked with a furrowed brow about secondary bevels, wire edges and polishing the back of our edge tools.

All of us in the class did our best to stifle our yawns. I kept looking at the rows of chisels and backsaws and wondered when we were going to get to the important part.

Within a week we all realized that we should have paid more attention to the sharpening lecture. Soon there were only two sharp chisels in the shop for a class of 10 students, and we quarreled over them. Trimming tenons with the equivalent of a butter knife was no fun.

So I made it a point to learn to sharpen well. And I've been fortunate to be able to use a variety of methods, including: oilstones, diamond stones, waterstones, ceramic stones, sandpaper, electric grinders and the Tormek system.

Each system has its good and bad points. Some are simple, others don't make a mess, some are less expensive and most systems can put an astound-ingly good edge on tool steel.

For me, the two most important qualities a sharpening system needs are that it must be fast and it must produce the keenest edge. I'll pay a little more and suffer a little mess to get a good edge in a hurry.

That's because I'm more interested in woodworking than I am in the act of sharpening. I have no desire to look at my edges under a microscope or fret about tiny imperfections in the metal. I'm not the kind of guy who wants to meditate on my power animal as I proceed up to 500,000 grit. I want to be done with it and get back to the good part.

by Christopher Schwarz

Comments or questions? Contact Chris at 513-531-2690 ext. 1407 or chris.schwarz@fwpubs.com.

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