When sharpening a blade on a waterstone, or any other stone I suppose,
should you work the blade only in one direction or both? If only one
direction, Forward or Backward? Forward means towards the blades
On 14 Feb 2006 21:19:15 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
Here's one set of opinions.
I use an Arkansas stone and typically a straight forward-and-backward
motion, sometimes figure-eights with chisels. Plane irons are too
wide to do figure-eights on the stone I have.
Me too, but I use waterstones or wet/dry sandpaper for coarse stuff.
One alternative I read about somewhere and have tried a few times is to
hold the blade perpendicular to how you describe and sharpen so the
LENGTH of the blade goes front to back. Sorry, that's confusing - if
you were planing the stone, your plane would be perpendicular to the
stone - that's the orientation I'm talking about. Then hold the blade
so the sharp edge is flat on the stone with your left hand, and the
back end sticks up at an angle in your right hand. If that makes any
sense at all - I guess I need another coffee. Let me know if you want
me to try to clarify further. Anyway, for thicker plane blades, at
least, I've found it's easier to hold blades freehand this way without
"rocking" and getting a bellied surface. Or you can use a honing jig
and go front to back.
In short, I think it doesn't matter what direction you sharpen as long
as you end up with a sharp blade.
A long time ago a read an article claiming that sharpening front to
back would leave microscopic "teeth" on the edge whereas side to side
would leave long scratch marks parallel to the edge and weaken it.
This would make it more likely to chip under load. 'Don't know if its
true, but food for thought.
Maybe is true for grits large compared to grain size, but not for
I was going to ask about the extensive research using scanning electron
microscopy on metal treated to various sharpening methods and their
influence on the blade (sharpness, cut, durability) that must precede
that statement. I'm a little shy, though, +(8-)> so I cracked a book
(about sharpening) instead.
This thread fell off my radar for a while. Good thing, I suppose,
because it gave me time to notice the difference between what I wrote
and what I thought I was saying a couple of weeks ago. Maybe I could
have used a *brain* that's properly sharp.
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