Shapton Stones, Yep, they work

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Woodcraft has 15% off on Shapton stones, at least the ones that Shapton recommends for woodworking tools (1000, 5000, and 8000 grits). I've been using scary-sharp but not getting that have the "hair fall off your arm in front of the blade" sharpness that I've been looking for. Since I've been trying more and more to avoid the use of sandpaper on my projects and to use planes and scrapers as exclusively as possible (I'm finding that this is actually faster than sanding since one doesn't have to progress through grits), I used this as the justification to pull the trigger and try the Shapton system. Got the stones home and unpacked and pulled out the blade on the #4 smoothing plane. In the process of going through the first stone, my hand slipped and the blade contacted my left thumb -- yep, even at the first grit, it's sharper than anything I've gotten thus far. [Dang, that smarts! -- it took quite a deep cut into the corner of the thumb]
After getting the bleeding under control and some bandaids on it (I figured that the ER would just butterfly it shut anyway and charge me $200 for the privilege of sitting around bleeding for 2 or 3 hours), I progressed through the 5000 and 8000 grit stones. While the finished sharpening doesn't have the mirror surface I was getting with scary-sharp, I can honestly say that I have never had scary-sharp provide the sharpness that this does -- the blade shaved forearm hair with no effort and was producing very fine shavings in ash that was quite course-grained.
With a couple of process changes for safety, I'm a happy camper. I'll have to get the lapping system in the future. Even for the price, I'm still in it for less than I would have paid for a Tormek or other electric system.
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Follows me exact experience as well. The Shapton's were a wonderful investment going from scary sharp.
For flattening I use a DMT course duo-sharp stone.
Alan
Who was hoping the 120 would have been on sale too!
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wrote:

I like the extra course for all of the stones.
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Two things. Small cuts, superglue!
Second, you will find the stones will actually be cheaper in the long run and give you better results. As for the mirror finish, the 5000 and 8000 grit stones should provide a very nice mirror finish with a little practice.
Dave
PS, I have family in Tucson, they love it there!
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I'm glad to hear you're happy with them, but my own validation was when Frank Klausz made the switch. I've been using them for about two years, had to flatten them twice, and they really do work like they're supposed to.
What are you going to use for a flattener, by the way? I bought the cast iron with the grit particles. Works good.
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I plan to get the cast iron and grits as well. That wasn't on sale, Woodcraft didn't have it in stock, so I'll probably order it direct from Shapton. The cast iron base probably would have saved my thumb because it would have been more stable than the plastic base.
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Mark & Juanita wrote:

Thanks for the review. I might have to pick up a set now.
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I've not used these stones before but they have a good reputation. One think I always do when I want that final super sharp blade is a quick run over a leather strop charged up with green oxide (Lee Valley sells it). That gives me a mirror finish! Cheers, cc
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>> >> Woodcraft has 15% off on Shapton stones, at least the ones that Shapton >> recommends for woodworking tools (1000, 5000, and 8000 grits). I've been >> using scary-sharp but not getting that ,,,,(snipped)
James "Cubby" Culbertson wrote: >I've not used these stones before but they have a good reputation. >One >think I always do when I want that final super sharp blade is a >quick run over a leather strop charged up with green oxide (Lee Valley >sells >it). That gives me a mirror finish! >Cheers, >cc
I am curious about this. Fine polishing pastes on a leather strop will polish the blade, no doubt. But would not the softness of the leather actually cause the blade edge to ever-so-slightly bed down into the leather from your hand pressure and cause the edge to round up some? Seems like it would leave the edge *less* sharp, but highly polished so it would still cut well. I just can't see how this would *not* happen. I guess the only real way to find out is to pre, and post examine the edge under a microscope to see what actually happens. Anyone out there do this already?
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Sailaway wrote:

The amount of "rounding" is miniscule - it's a polishing operation. It could be considered a microscopic micro-bevel.
There's a reason that the old time barbers always had their strop handy. It works.
R
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because it was fast and you don't need a razor as sharp as most woodworking tools.
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Are you looking for a laugh?

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Steve knight wrote:

Let me guess - you have a beard. ;)
I'd love to have the talented apprentice sharpening my tools constantly. Preferably a Norwegian coed, but that's me. In reality I find the hair-popping sharpening to last a short time. The tools are still plenty sharp, but the hairs they ain't a popping.
Most of my work isn't bench work and I don't always have sharpening plates/stones and jigs at hand. I always do have a leather strop and/or leather gloves - both impregnated with some jeweler's rouge. Every so often a swipe on the strop or glove keeps the edge sharp longer.
Not having studied the history of sharpening, I'm curious to what degree the old masters took their sharpening. I know they didn't have Shapton stones, probably would think Scary Sharp was a look that their wives gave them and didn't have anywhere near the quality of metals we enjoy. Still did nice work.
Just call me a sharpening heretic.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

[snips everywhere]

Well that's not like for like. You've already given the blade its edge, now is the strop "sharpening" it, or straightening out any hook on the edge put there by use?
er
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Enoch Root wrote:

Both. I use the strop as the final touch while sharpening, and also use it during use to "buff it up".
R
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It's a matter of only 2-3 swipes with very light pressure. I can't see it rounding the blade unless I were to use excessive pressure and make several passes. It worked for the barbers of old so I figure it works for my blades too! Cheers, cc
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Difference being that they didn't put the abrasive glop on the leather. Not needed.
> It

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One thought that came to mind, has anybody tried using a flat glass plate for the final honing? Or, a flat glass plate with the honing compound on the plate?

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Mark & Juanita wrote:

Seems like that'd be more sure to give it a hook if you weren't right on the money.

er
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wrote:

Idea here would be if one were using a sharpening jig; move from the stones to the flat glass, or charged flat glass.
Probably a silly idea, but it would be a flat surface

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