Scary Sharp (TM)

I apologise in advance to all the regulars who are fed up with such posts, but I am quite simply over the moon!
This is absolutely no exaggeration!
It really does work.
This sounds like spam doesn't it <ebg>
Although I've been messing around with wood forever, it has only been as the status of DIY - and then only when I can't get away with doing something else. Well, I been out of work for about 4 months now, and have started working on an aquarium base (48" x 15"), taking my time and *trying* to make it look like it wasn't simply knocked together in an afternoon <g>
So I'm taking the opportunity to learn a bit about woodworking in general, and cabinet making in particular.
Well, today I got my piece of 6mm plate glass from Travis Perkins. I went straight home to try out this new fangled way of sharpening tools. I grabbed the oldest, meanest chisel I have and went to work. I've had it for 20 years and it has *never* been really sharp to my satisfaction. I mean, I've had it sharpish, but never so as I would ever /want/ to use it unless I had no choice.
It was badly rounded due to the hollow in the carborundum stone (which I have yet to find out how to flatten properly) instead of straight edged as a chisel is supposed to be. The roughest Wet & Dry I had was 240 grit, so I spent the best part of probably an hour and a half flattening the chisel on that. I should really have got some more course stuff, but I couldn't be bothered going out to get some.
I could see the mirror effect beginning to appear as the flat became...err.. flat (for the first time ever). I was amazed even at this stage, and couldn't wait to see the final effect - *MY* chisels have *NEVER* looked like /that/ before, even when new. The final effect was acheived with just a few stokes over 1200 grit and only took about 10 minutes (including me examining the edge through magnifying goggles and repeating "WOW!!" over and over again) once I had reshaped the chisel, going through the range 240, 400, 800, 1200 grits.
I could probably have got the effect even better with a little more patience (and almost certainly better if I had a leather strop) but I simply couldn't wait to start using it!!
This process has given my chisels a new lease of life, and has given me a new /desire/ to get my hands on the wood for real. It now cuts through knots like they're not there at all, and I don't think I've ever achieved a see-through curl like that - even with a plane (not that I've used a proper plane since school) - it's probably thinner than cigarette paper!
I've shelved the carborundum stones - probably for ever - and I've taken that so-called "sharpening kit" (ha!) back to B & Q. I've been using the chisel all afternoon, and it's still razor sharp (and I've got the plasters to prove it :-) I've been cutting through the end grain *without a mallet*, just using the heel of my palm and I've been really enjoying shaving wood for the first time in decades - and with a 1" chisel no less!! I wouldn't have dreamed of doing that only a couple of days ago. What a kicker! I vote this the best woodworking discovery since... well... forever really!
If you're new to woodworking or haven't come across it before, then you absolutely MUST read <URL:
My thanks go to Steve LaMantia for discovering the method and sharing it with us all, and to Andy Dingley for mentioning it in one of his recent posts which caused me to Google for it.
I can't think of any more superlatives for now.
John Patmore - <mailto:>
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