An Addition To The Sharpening Kit

Like many hand-tool woodworkers I am continually refining my sharpening habits.  Not my technique: I don’t jump after any fads since settling on my sharpening protocols a few decades ago (I am mostly a free-hand sidewinder but will use a roller jig to help establish the bevel).  Rather, I seek to systematize my sharpening habits to address the cutting edges before they need anything more than a thirty second touch-up.  My problem always comes when I am not diligent in this habit and let things go too long, or when I accidentally whack into a piece of store or metal with a keen bevel.  Yes, it does happen and once the foul language subsides I grumble my way through the process of essentially starting from zero on the edge.

The only new sharpening tools I’ve adopted over the years are the LNT honing jig to get a badly damaged edge into the right configuration, and diamond stones, which are now the workhorses of my sharpening preps.  I still finish everything off with an 8000 or 10,000 Japanese ceramic stone, and occasionally will strop the edge on a rigid board I’ve infused with agglomerated microalumina.

My “go to” approach for a badly damaged edge is to re-establish the bevel with some 60-grit on a granite block.  Works just fine.  Recently I obtained a new tool that may reduce my time on the trueing granite a fair bit.  I am a frequent customer of Woodcraft (I have no other relationship with them) and get their flyers in the mail regularly and I always browse them quickly before discarding.  Every now and then there will be a sale for something I’ve wanted and now it’s discounted.  The most recent flyer included a tool I did not know they had, a twin diamond stone that is coarse (180) and extra course (120).

Up to now I have always stayed with DMT diamond plates but this time I decided to take a whirl on the Wood River wagon for this utra-coarse diamond plate.  If they are of acceptable quality and performance this pair of diamond abrasive surfaces will spare me a lot of time on the granite block which, being dry abrasion, generates enough heat that I have to wear gloves to keep from blistering my fingertips.  Given that I will use water on the diamond stone while re-shaping the tip of whatever it is I am working on, heat will not be an issue now.

This function will definitely come in handy as I am currently re-beveling a Japanese plane blade that was 1/8″ out of whack.   Oh, and some chisels that had unfortunate encounters with screws.