Sharpening methods for rod makers

Discussion in 'Bamboo, Fiberglass & Classic Reels' started by bitterroot, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

    Posts: 1,426
    Snohomish, WA
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    For me, sharpening a plane iron or chisel is soothing, relaxing and almost religious. That being said, it also needs to be really trouble free or it won't get done when it should.
    A while back I posted that I had bought some new diamond stones and sharpened a plane iron to perfection. That was then...this is now. All in all, I wasn't really happy with the diamond stones the more I used them so I sold them.
    So far I've tried: Japanese water stones, ceramic stones, diamond stones and now I'm gonna try "scary sharp", a proven method of sharpening using sandpaper. I've done some tests and am very happy with the results. This could be it! I'll report my results soon......

    What method are you rod makers/woodworkers using?
  2. Mark Walker Active Member

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    So. Cal.
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    What did you think of the water stones?
  3. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

    Posts: 1,426
    Snohomish, WA
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    The waterstones did an awesome job, but, they are inconvenient, messy and require diligent flattening after every use.
    The ceramics were even better, IMHO, but also require water and regular flattening.
    Diamond plates? Can't put my finger on it...just didn't like them.
  4. Roby New Member

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    Sedro Woolley, WA
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    You got a decent link for that method?

    Roby
  5. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

    Posts: 1,426
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    Roby,

    If you google "scary sharp" you will get volumes of info including youtube videos. I don't have any link in particular that is better than another. You will find subtle differences between users of the method but you will quickly get the basic idea.
  6. Loren Jensen Active Member

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    Thanks for posting this!
  7. Roby New Member

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    Sedro Woolley, WA
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    Ok cool thank's a ton.

    Roby
  8. Mike Monsos AKA flyman219

    Posts: 423
    Redmond, Washington, USA.
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    I started out with the scary sharp system and it worked very well. I then went with a water stone 1000/8000 combo and love it. I use to get as much of a water mess with the scary sharp system myself. Yes you do have to keep flattening the 8000 of the stone side but the micro edge I get is more than worth it. Do you put a micro bevel on your plane iron?

    Mike
  9. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

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    Yes on the micro bevel, Mike. Lie nielsen's come with a 25 deg. primary bevel, then I put a 35 deg micro bevel at the edge. On a standard angle block plane this gives me a 55 deg planing angle.
  10. curtis bias Member

    Posts: 49
    Shreveport, Louisiana
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    Ever try a Tormek? The cost is minimal if you have other tools that need sharpening in your shop. (Around $350)
    I also purchased three lapidaries from an AT&T surplus auction a few years back. A lapidary is just what it sounds like; a tool for shaping stones used by jewelers. At any rate, mine have variable speed motors and have precision machined wheelheads. There is an attachment on each wheel that pumps lubricant onto the wheelhead. I turned one of them into a strop with a piece of leather. Talk about a wickedly finished edge. I paid 10 bucks a piece for them at the auction.

    I still use a hand held Arkansas stone from time to time, but the ease of having an angle guide on the tormek and the lapidaries makes them hard to beat.
  11. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

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    OK, it's been about a year since my last post on this subject. Bottom line, I'm shit canning the Scary Sharp method. Decent results, but a pain in the arse.
    I just ordered a Norton 1000/8000 combo waterstone, as suggested by Lie-Nielsen AND Mike Monsos in an above post. I guess I've come full circle and am back to waterstones.
    I know one thing, and one thing only...there is no silver bullet when it comes to sharpening. Ha!!
  12. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

    Posts: 1,426
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    P.S. If anyone out there is currently using the Scary Sharp method, or wants to try it, I have a buttload of sandpaper in all the necessary grits (including some ridiculously fine 3M lapping film) that I would sell at a good price. Just sayin'....
  13. Mike Monsos AKA flyman219

    Posts: 423
    Redmond, Washington, USA.
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    I like the 1000/8000 norton waterstone (I flatten it with 250 git wet or dry on a granite tile piece often) with the veritas guide I use. One thing that I have realized is that sharpening before the iron is dull is a lot quicker. As soon as I notice the plane dragging a bit I'll take about five minutes and give it about 10 strokes on the 1000 side and about 20 strokes on the 8000 side. Micro bevelled of course. The tool I find most difficult to keep a edge on is my LN scraper iron, when it's good it's great, when it's off it's I have my work cut out for me. The LN is the go to tool for the final few thou on the form.

    Mike
  14. Tom Bowden Active Member

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    Black Diamond, WA
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    Mike & all, the key to "sharpening" a scraper blade is to leave a burr on the edge of the blade. It really doesn't matter how sharp the blade is, because the iron is placed at a reverse angle in the scraper & you are actually scraping with the burr. To put a burr on the blade, simply draw it across the sharpening stone a few times. On high quality blades like my L/N, the burr will last for 6 strips, sometimes more.

    This is probably obvious to a lot of people, but I was taught to sharpen the scraper blade like a normal plane iron. I struggled with the tool for a couple years until a rod maker friend of mine showed me the burr technique. He used to be a luthier, i.e. he made violins and bases that required scraping wood down to very precise thicknesses. Like rod making, sharp tools are very important for luthiers.

    Tom
  15. Tim Cottage Formerly tbc1415

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    Outer Duvall
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  16. Mike Monsos AKA flyman219

    Posts: 423
    Redmond, Washington, USA.
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    Thanks Tom and Tim, I'll see if I can improve my scraper iron results next time I'm stroking the stone. I can see many things that I'm doing wrong so this should be a vast improvement

    Mike
  17. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

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    Hey Mike,
    So far, so good with the Norton 1000/8000 waterstone. I'm very happy with the edge and it shaves my arm like butter, but, I have a question about flattening.
    You say you use 250 grit sandpaper. Does it seem like the sandpaper loads up really quickly? I did a bit of flattening and I think I will be going through sandpaper like crazy at this rate. I was using 150 grit. Maybe I'll go down to 220 and see what happens.
  18. Mike Monsos AKA flyman219

    Posts: 423
    Redmond, Washington, USA.
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    I place a sheet of wet or dry on a 12"X12" polished surface ganite tile. A few spritzes of water on the tile first will hold it well. Then I put a bit of water on the wet or dry and just swirl the stone in a figure eight type of motion. I turn over the stone and look at the surface, when I get contact over all of it I'm done with that side (it's easy to see the fresh surface). Turn it over and do the other side. Rinse off the wet or dry and place it flat with another tile on top and you are ready for the next time. This works fine for me but I am no authority on water stones.

    Mike
  19. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

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    Sounds good...I'll give it a whirl!!! Thanks Mike!!!
  20. Mike Monsos AKA flyman219

    Posts: 423
    Redmond, Washington, USA.
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    You know if you shave your arms clean, your legs are next. Your fishing buddies may start to wonder about your new hobby.:p
    Alex MacDonald and bitterroot like this.