Veritas Power Sharpening System - Primary / Micro-bevel Not Parallel

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snipped-for-privacy@sourcegear.com wrote:

If you skew the blade slightly so that it is parallel to the mouth of the plane, do you get better results? If so, then that's the basic solution.
If you still don't get good results, then you need to start working on the plane itself, and/or your technique.
Lastly, is the blade properly sharp? You should be able to shave hairs off your arm really easily.
Chris
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Chris Friesen wrote:

I'll try that and see.

Yeah, it seems quite sharp to me. Nobody's noticed the bald spot on my left forearm, but it's there. :-)
Thanks.
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As little out of square as you describe would make no difference. The lateral adjuster will take care of that.
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I have been looking for a review of that system. If I am guessing right it is the Veritas, flat plate, dry abrasive disk system you are using??? If anyone else has bought this I hope they will post their opinions here. It looks like it should work, at least from the catalog description.
By "out of square" I assume you refer to the bevel not be square to the edge of the plane iron. It seems to me you can correct that shifting the blade to the left or right or am I missing something here?
Please keep us posted.
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A search on this forum should turn up a thread on the subject. The general opinion in that thread is that it is difficult to impossible to sharpen squarely. The OP was not at all happy with it.

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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net says...

(snip)
I wasn't part of the original thread but I do own the tool and have had it long enough to disparage it. I saw the tool at a woodworking show a few years ago, the first iteration of the machine, which wasn't even in production at the time. And I really wanted it, thinking, at last, an affordable surface grinder.
To some extent it is that. The problem is, I think, the sandpaper wears unevenly and quickly, and that's the source of the "out of square" problems. (The sandpaper is not cheap and so far as I know you can only buy it mailorder.)
Veritas will tell you that it really doesn't matter, the plane iron will be sharp, and while that is basically true it is not what I thought I was buying into.
I can't blame Lee-Valley for not making a $20,000 surface grinder for almost $400, but if I could do it over again, I would buy a Tormek.
My 2 cents, etc
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LDR wrote:

I think the higher grits, 80x, 120x, etc. are just 8" Klingspor PSA disks with a center hole punched out. The back of the nut in the center can be used to punch out the hole in the middle. It looks to me that that is the intended purpose of that little post. The finer grits appear to be 3M micro-abrasives. In any case, you can buy from sources other than LV, but the abrasives seem to be pretty expensive everywhere.

I think if I were to do it again, I would shape the bevel using either a 1" belt sander, a course silicon carbide bench stone, or maybe good quality sandpaper on glass. Then I would finish up with scary sharp. I've come to believe that it is unrealistic for a machine to do the whole thing. The machine should just be used to speed up the primary bevel shaping.
Mark
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

Good advice, Mark, about the abrasives, and thank you. About 3M. They sell a Mylar designed for extreme polish but they are only available to industrial sources which do not sell retail. At least that is what 3M told me. (I wanted it for an Edgepro which I use for kitchen and pocket knives.)
Not too long I read that the reason most people never learn to sharpen to their own satisfaction is that they don't stick long enough to one system. Those words should be illuminated with a picture of me. However, I do have some redeeming sharpening value, after all. I have learned to sharpen with a 1700rpm grinder and white wheel, waterstones and a honing device, thanks in both cases to Lee Valley. My point is that just about any system will get results; the problem is our inpatience which makes us willing victims to the demon gimick purveyors in our society. There probably isn't five minutes difference no matter which way you sharpen a plane iron.
(For what it's worth: I have had success with the Veritas power grinder in putting on the microbevel freehand. I do it very quickly and very slightly and, for me, it come out much better looking and a lot less aggravating than following the manual.)
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LDR wrote:

You can buy the 3M mylar abrasives from Lee Valley, Tools for Working Wood, or Japan Woodworker. You just get the PSA sheet and stick it on the disk and then cut it out. (I did this with the 0.5 micron paper to get a finer hone.) LV says their disks are aluminum oxide and the other PSA films are silicon carbide. I'm not sure if that matters.
Mark
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Yes, it's the Veritas. Its proper name is:
Veritas Mk.II Power Sharpening System
and currently you can see it on the web here:
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pH435&cat=1,43072
Yes, its a flat horizontal plate with abrasives stuck onto it, spinning at 650 RPM.
Yes, it seems to be very, very difficult to use this thing to get an edge which is square to the side of the blade.
However, it also seems that this problem isn't fatal. As I said, I'm a newbie with planes. Last night's session went much better. I fiddled with the lateral adjuster and cleaned the plane and tuned it carefully and tried it in several different boards.
In general, I'm still annoyed that I can't get a square edge, but I'm less concerned than before.
Search the web and you'll find lots and lots of people who really like this sharpening system. It's not perfect, but after using it for a couple days, I can see why it's popular.
-- Eric Sink
Joe Bleau wrote:

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I participated on the original thread and wanted to provide an update.
First, about the edge being square, I would say that a little light showing through when you put a square up to the edge is fine. I have noticed that almost none of my chisels or planes have parallel sides, so if you reference off one side when sharpening and the other when measuring, you will see that kind of variation. The problem is if the micro-bevel can't reach the edge of the tool or if it is so far out of square that you can't adjust your plane to take a full-width shaving.
My problem was that a portion of the bevel, specifically the "right" side, near the outside of the abrasive disk, was getting ground down more than the rest of the bevel. This was particularly bad with the 80x abrasive and made it difficult to get the micro-bevel to go all the way to the edge. The micro-bevel would reach the edge except for the last 1/8" or so. Just before the right edge, the secondary bevel would taper off and the micro-bevel would not reach the tip of the blade.
I have been working with Lee Valley support on this issue and they have been responsive (as usual). They sent me new platters and new abrasives in different grits than I had. The grits they sent me were 120x, 220x, 500x, 1200x. Using these grits and the new platters, I was able to consistently grind a good primary bevel and secondary bevel. I really like the 120x and 220x abrasives. The 120x is still pretty fast, but not nearly as brutal as the 80x. It seems better for cases where the bevel is already pretty close.
Like I said, using these new abrasives, the machine worked well. I have become convinced that the problem I was having was related to abrasive wear. I think what happened with my old 80x is that I ventured near the edge of the disk, which was seldom used. The abrasive was not worn down as much, so it cut much more aggressively. That made the bevel not flat, which made it difficult for the 9 micron reach the tip of the blade. This is not a phenomenon specific to this machine. The other day I was using the Scary Sharp method with 15 micron paper and when I ventured too close to the edge of the abrasive, which was new and sharp, much more metal came off part of that part of the bevel. I have not yet worn out these new abrasive disks, so I don't have a feel for how long they last.
I asked Lee Valley if there was a way to take the blade off the edge of the platter or something similar to make the abrasive wear more evenly and the answer was a sophisticated version of "not really."
Mark
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Mark,
I read with interest your most recent post. Veritas also sent me new platters and the milder abrasives. Unfortunately, I didn't have as much success as you and I'm still having problems. This became most noticeable when trying to sharpen a 1 Hock plane blade that was 3/16 thick. This blade as you can imagine has no flex whatsoever and it is nearly impossible to finesse it in order to straighten out the micro bevel. In this case the micro bevel was nearly wide on one edge before a bevel started to appear on the opposite edge. It was so bad in fact that I wound up having to re-hone the edge on a water stone.
As I pointed out in my original post, I've measured a wobble of .005 at the outside edge of the platter (actually in from the outside edge). I spoke to George Hammond at Veritas Tools and he told me this was within what they consider a normal tolerance. I originally didn't think this would make much difference, but after some additional thought it occurs to me that this could make a significant difference and may well explain why the outside edge of the blade is ground faster than the inside, resulting in the blade not being square.
Let me try and explain. Assume for the sake of this example that the downward pressure on the tool holder is constant and that the blade holder is held stationary. On every revolution the outside edge (perimeter) of the platter rises slightly and therefore applies more grinding force to the outside edge of the blade. As the platter rotates through another 180 degrees the grinding force on the outside edge of blade is very slightly reduced in relation to the inside edge, but because the relative velocity at the inside edge is less (and the amount of wobble is also less as you approach the center of the platter), the net result is that that outside edge of the blade will still be ground faster. This would also explain why it's easier to obtain a square edge on a chisel than a 2 wide plane blade.
The reason that some users may have better luck than others may simply be because their machines exhibit less platter wobble. Before I totally give up on this thing, I'm going to shim the platter at the hub with some .001 brass shim stock and see if I can reduce the wobble. If I can and the situation improves I'll be a very satisfied (and wiser) user. If not, it's back to the water stones. As it stands right now, I can't recommend this system to anyone.
Joel
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On Jan 21, 11:15 pm, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Joel,
It sounds like you are less satisfied now than your original post. That's a bummer.
I have relegated my system to an expensive grinder. Steve Knight must have said 100 times on this group that all the power sharpening systems, Tormek, Makita, etc. are really just grinders and that if you want to get sharp edges, you have to finish up by hand. I was hoping the Veritas system would be different because it allows you to use finer abrasives, but I think I'm wrong.
My current strategy, which I am still learning, is to grind the primary bevel on the Veritas system and then hone by hand, making a secondary bevel that is 5 degrees higher than the primary bevel. When I resharpen, I just work on the secondary bevel (by hand). When the secondary bevel gets too big, I go back to the Veritas and regrind the primary. HOWEVER, I don't grind the primary all the way back to the edge. I carefully watch the grinding progress to make sure that I don't hit the edge of the blade. Using this scheme, the issues of inconsistent grinding are much less of an issue.
Given my use of the Veritas, I think a 1" belt sander would have worked just as well.
BTW, I tried a 4" belt sander, thinking that I could get a more consistent bevel on a 2" blade than a 1" belt sander. The 4" sander seemed to grind down the two corners of the bevel much faster than the middle. I don't know if the paper was wrapping around the edge or what, but I think with a 1" belt sander, you could much more easily correct that by grinding more in the middle of the blade than at the corners.
Mark
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wrote:

True, of course, using a wetstone is a grinding process too.

Not at all true. Machine sharpened edges can be just as sharp as hand sharpenend ones. The Tormek, in particular, takes care of that with the leather wheel.

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I have had a Makita wet grinder for about 15 years. I have used it primarily for sharpening my 8" joiner blades and it has served me well. Occasionally I use a DMT diamond plate to flatten the 1000 grit Makita original stone. When, in the past year, I moved to the scary sharp system I started using a 1" belt sander and spent a lot of time creating a jig that allowed me to get the bevel I was looking for. I was never really satisfied with the belt sander for some the reasons already mentioned in this thread. Now I use the Makita before moving to my plate glass and mylar microabrasive sheets. I also use the Veritas Mk II jig. The whole system works great and the Makita puts a more polished finish on the primary bevel faster and with more ease than the belt sander.
Joe

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I agree with you that you can get a mighty sharp edge using a power sharpening system. In fact I think the Veritas system does a fine job as far as that goes, assuming you use the appropriate abrasives. My main complaint with the system is and always has been that it's nearly impossible to get a square edge, with a micro bevel that's anywhere near parallel to the primary bevel, especially on wide, thick blades. Initially I didn't think this was a big deal because the difference between the two bevels was slight and easily overcome by applying a bit more pressure to one side of the blade, or the other. Unfortunately, what I ultimately came to realize was that the problem becomes far worse as the blades get wider and / or the abrasives began to wear. As I pointed out in my last posting, the problem became so bad on one of my 3/16 thick Hock plane irons (for a wooden plane) that I had to revert back to my water stones.
Now I suppose I could forget the micro bevel and just work the entire cutting surface of the blade at one angle, but that makes short work of the 9 micron disks, which are both expensive and a pain to replace. It also does nothing to insure that the blade is ground square, which can be a real problem in certain situations. An example that comes to mind is setting up a precision wooden smoothing plane with limited lateral adjustment capacity and tightly set chip breaker.
It might be possible to improve the results by using different abrasives, tweaking the blade holder slightly, using both the left and right sides of the platter, etc., but for nearly $400 I don't think I should have to. In my opinion, at this price point I should receive a precision device, capable of precision results, which the Veritas PSS certainly is not. As an aside, it's interesting to note that the Lap Sharp, which is essentially the same design, has none of these problems. In general, I'm a big fan of Veritas products but I think they need to go back to the drawing board on this one.
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On Jan 25, 9:17 am, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Is this really true ? Do you know this from acual experience ? I've been wondering if the Lap-Sharp was better in regard to the issues we've been discussing here. It certainly is more expensive.
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