How sharp is sharp !!!

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Ernie Jurick wrote:

Careful you don't drop that on your foot. You might get yourself pinned to the floor, no matter what the floor is made from.
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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in that tools will only get so sharp. How sharp they get depends on the nature of the steel it is made of. if you want really sharp japanese tools will get you there. Just because a tool is really shiny does not mean it is any sharper.
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Knight-Toolworks & Custom Planes
Custom made wooden planes at reasonable prices
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On Tue, 09 Sep 2003 12:02:10 -0700, Tim Douglass

Well, I haven't done any scientific experiments but, the last time I ran my fingertips over 1200 grit sandpaper it felt a lot rougher than my 8000 grit waterstone. Even 2000 grit sandpaper felt rougher. But I don't know it could be just me. :-)
Layne
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(Layne) wrote...

The abrasive particles in an 8000 Japanese waterstone are typically 1.2 microns, about the same as those in a 2000 grit silicon carbide sandpaper, but particle size doesn't tell the whole story.
The particles on the paper sit proud of their backing. Sandpaper is called a "coated abrasive" not because the abrasive is coated, but because the substrate is coated with the abrasive. Imagine a bunch of rocks stuck to a piece of flypaper. Virtually the whole of each particle is exposed.
OTOH, the abrasive particles in a fine waterstone are embedded within a soft binder, which limits the height that the abrasive edges project above the mean surface. This case is more like a miniature version of the sharp rocks (I.e., the aggregate, not the sand) in concrete. Less of each abrasive particle is exposed.
The shapes of the abrasive grains are different, too.
Jim
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Also, the particles on (in?) waterstones abrade exposing fresh (sharp) abrasives, where as the sandpaper just gets duller. I think this dulling of the abrasive combined with the swarf of metal particles begin to polish the edge long before it is really sharp. This gives the false impression to those new to sharpening hand tools and who've never used other types of sharpening methods that the edge is sharp enough. Yes, it is sharp, very sharp but, to get that final smooth finish on the faces and edges of boards you need to take the thinnest shavings possible and only the sharpest edge can do that. That's why whenever this subject comes up regarding Scary Sharp I always advise people to go up to the highest grit sandpaper possible 1200 or 2000 and then strop with a fine honing compound (chromium oxide); go up to a hard Arkansas and strop; go up to at least a 6000 or 7000 grit waterstone.
These guys probably make the best honing compound. http://www.handamerican.com/chrom.html
And these guys probably have the best honing leather. http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/Merchant/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=toolshop&Product_Code=MS-HORSEST&Category_Code=TH
Usual disclaimers apply.
I finally found the table comparing grit sizes of different mediums.
http://www.ameritech.net/users/knives/grits.htm
Layne
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wrote:

To me microbevels only make sense in that they reduce honing time by a smidge, not "hours". The hours pertain to having to reestablish the primary bevel after the microbevel wears away after repeated honing.
Once, while reestablishing the primary bevel I decided *not* to create a micro bevel again. I found my plane taking even thinner shavings...shavings so thin they came out incredibly wavy rather than curly. I was amazed as this was with a vintage 60s or 70s Stanley #6 with a stock iron. Now, no more microbevels for me.
Layne
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What is the best bevel angle ? I recently rediscovered the pleasures of hand planes.
Regards George
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On 10 Sep 2003 08:17:03 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (George SA) wrote:

Experiment! :-) That's half the fun of WWing. I'd say though that 25 to 30 degrees would be a good place to start. Remember though that WWing is not rocket science with regard to bevel angles. Plus or minus a degree or two isn't a big deal. It's more important to have a properly sharp edge. I'd recommend a set of waterstones up to 7000 or 8000 grit. A good set of waterstones are relatively inexpensive (about $100), and will last a long long time. The only chore is keeping them flat, but that's easy to do with sandpaper on plate glass or granite.
Layne
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Layne Thanks for the reply I have been using a 45 degree (scary sharp method) which has given me quite good results on softwoods like pine (paper thin shavings)On hardwoods (Teak & Spruce) results were not so good. I will try an 25 Degree angle + - on the hard woods. At this stage I will have to keep to the scary sharp method as I am still saving for a Steve Knight plane. Unfortunately items purchased in US $ is quite expensive in South Africa due the exchange rate of the SA Rand vs the US $
I have two handplanes inherited from my father (Stanley no 4 1/2 age 50 years plus and a Stanley no 9.) I am also busy restoring a Stanley no 2 which I recieved as a gift from a friend.
I like the part about WW not being rocket science. I expect that is why using handplanes gives one so much satisfaction in this highly technical world we are living in.
Regards George SA
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If you mean included angle (bevel angle + blade angle), then you got it about right and ignore all below.
When you say 45 degrees, do you mean just the blade? That's a bit strong for a plane blade. You can certainly get it sharp, but you may not be strong enough to push that wedge through the wood. On the #9, that's going to give a total angle of 65 degrees, and is going to make it a cast iron beech to use. On a 4 1/2, well that just boggles my mind. The bevel would be parallel with the sole of the plane! I don't even think it would work.
Sharp is just two sides meeting at a point, so you can have sharp at even obtuse angles (eg 135 degrees), but that would not be very useful in a wood plane. Most manufacturer's grind their blades to 25 degrees. That's a good starting point. You might use a little more or less, but for plane blades, I can't imagine getting more than 10 degrees difference in either direction, and you would probably be trying something very specific to even get nearly that far, at which point you are probably the expert and don't need our advice.
Cheers, Eric
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On 11 Sep 2003 07:46:05 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (George SA) wrote:

As Steve and Eric said 45 degrees is a bit steep for your plane iron, If you lower the bevel angle you'll see it cutting much better.

The Scary Sharp method is inexpensive when starting up, but it is more expensive in the long run when compared to waterstones. A set of waterstones will last a long time. I have 220, 1000, 4000, and 8000 grit stones. If you stick with SS go up to at least 2000 grit sandpaper and then strop with honing compound, or use the ultra fine (and ultra expensive) 3M abrasive papers. If you only go up to 600 or 2000 grit like so many people do because that's the highest grade sandpaper they can find you're not getting your irons and chisels as sharp as they can be.

That #2 is a keeper! My plane collection is small (for now) and include a late model Stanley #4 smoother, a 60s vintage #6 fore, and an old Lakeside 9 1/2 block. I too am saving up for a Knight infill plane, probably the Japanese infill...when he finds a new machinist. *sigh* :-/

They're also much quieter than a stationary planer and jointer. You won't get a better finish than with a properly tuned and sharpened hand plane.
Happy planing,
Layne
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