Sharp, but not scary

I'm in the process of learning the pleasure of good quality and properly setup tools. I recently bought 1000x and 4000x waterstones and sharpened my block plane iron and my Marples blue chip chisels (and my kitchen knives) following the instructions in Leonard Lee's book.
I was able to get the chisels to be pretty sharp - I chopped mortices in pine using only hand pressure, no hammer or mallet. The back and bevel are pretty shiny, though not quite mirror finish (I could see my nose but not my nose hairs). The plane creates beautiful, thin curly shavings, though I haven't tried hardwood yet.
But they're not scary sharp - I couldn't cut off arm hairs and I didn't have any magical transforming experience like I've heard you get from super sharp tools. Is there another level of sharp I need to achieve? Would an 8000x waterstone get me there?
Michael
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Power strop with Chromium Oxide after your fine Arkansas or ceramic, and you'll have a superb edge.
BTW, as carvers can tell you, the use of a mallet is to give control, not apply force.

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Michael, Yes, true sharpness and the full appreciation thereof will come with more practice. I would suggest you go to the 8000 grit stone and then finish off with a touch of the strop.
To help in your technique, get a jewelers or photographers loupe and inspect the edge after each transition from stone to stone.
However, with the Marples blue chips you might have a hard time. They are not capable of retaining a fine edge for more than a few strokes.
Dave

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Hi Michael,
I, like you have not achieved the zen of scary sharpness either, but I have come to terms with it.
Once I get my Marples face (not got to hair) sharp, I tentatively test them on my forearm to see if some hairs will actually scrape off. If they do, then I oil it down and place it gently in its original wooden storage container only to gently lift the next larger size out for the same exercise.
Call SWMBO down to the shop to "see" herself - get a "yawn".
I have 6 of those babies and am up to the 5/8.
Of course, I never use them - just use my old beat up Stanley's handed down from my (rest in peace) Uncle. Scrape them over the sandpaper remnants from the Marples exercise and actually use them.
Once I get my good set scary sharp. there's no telling where my woodworking will go.
I can't even imagine what one could do with something better than Marples, but that's where I am - lowly as it may be.
Sick but basically (sort of) true.
Lou
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On Wed, 28 Apr 2004 13:57:38 -0400, Michael Press

No point going beyond 4000 grit unless the steel is up to it.
--
Smert' spamionam

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I've been very happy using the Scary Sharp system, but the steel I'm using for plane blades (old guillotine paper cutter; automobile leaf spring) may not be good enough to make a difference.
I wonder if a plane blade sharpened on an 8000x waterstone would be any better than my scaryshare blades after the first couple of strokes on wood??
Question: Has anyone who has placed in, say, the top five at the national planing championships been a scarysharp sharpner?? That should be good evidence for what works best at this incredible, though perhaps not "real life", competition.
Jim
On Thu, 29 Apr 2004 01:23:25 +0100, Andy Dingley

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On Wed, 28 Apr 2004 13:57:38 -0400, Michael Press
snip

4000 grit is good enough for knives and such, but you *need* to go up to 8000 grit for things like plane irons and chisels. You'll see your nose hairs and then some and you'll be able to shave all the arm hair you want. But, like Steve Knight says, shiny doesn't mean sharp. Your plane iron honed to a mirror finish on 2000 grit sandpaper is not as sharp as your semi shiny plane iron sharpened on a 4000 grit waterstone.
Layne
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Also, I forgot to mention for 4000 grit waterstones and up you need to prep the surface of the waterstone with a nagura stone. Lightly run the nagura stone back and forth and sideways over the wet stone and build a slurry.
Layne
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On Wed, 28 Apr 2004 13:57:38 -0400, Michael Press

It could. As long as you've gotten to 4000 properly, an 8000 stone will give you a sharper edge. Just remember to flatten the stones on a regular basis.
Barry
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Drag it over a piece of plain leather about three strokes. You will shave hairs.

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