For years I'v been sharpening with Arkansas stones, carving gouges, chisels,
planes... I have a soft, hard and translucnet (all 3"x12") and a couple of
diamond stones. I rough them with the diamond then usually go to the hard
followed by the translucent then strop.
For grins a bought a set of watter stones and started farting around,
thought the 1000 was cool cause it cut fast and thought the 8000 was cool
cause it produced a mirror finish. Before I knew it I have gone through a
dozen of my Lie Neilson planes and was amazed cause the seemed as sharp and
looked even sharper than my oil stones.
The other day I was working on a hard maple project with my son and pulled
out the No. 8 but soon noticed it was leaving ridges like a nicked blade, so
I grabbed the No. 6 and continued. Before long it wasn't working verry well
either.Later I moved to the 5-1/2 to smooth some joined boards and it wasn't
long before it was working like crap and tearing out badly.
Now I sharpened these when I bought them (with the Arkansas) and think only
once since over the last year.
The watter stones looked nice but the edge sure didn't hold up. Wonder if
this is why people complain about sharpending all the time. I always
wondered why, now I think i see.
Too sharp can dull more quickly. The only thing that I can think of is that
you may not be adding that extra 3 or 4 passes at a steeper angle when you
are finished polishing to create the micro bevel. This bevel helps
strengthen the edge and make it last longer. You may simply be sharpening
Something you said threw me. You sharpened the planes when new and
only once over the last year? I'm not sure how much you use them, but
that seems to be an extremely infrequent sharpening schedule. The
water stones give a great edge, but as Leon said, you might be getting
a sharper edge than you're used to and the sharper edge degrades
Water stones require a lighter touch than oil stones. It's also
important to flatten the water stones against one of those diamond
stones periodically. Generally I take a few swipes on the finest
stones a couple of times a week at the least. That's very quick and
prevents you from having to go through the complete sharpening process
Come to think of it I didn't do the secondary bevel but did strop, never did
secondary bevles before. Come to think of it maybe the angle doesn't really
matter as long as it's less than that of the frog (on bevel down that is).
I finish by alternating front and back for a few swipes on the finest stone
then strop. One other difference is on the water stones I only pull the
blades where on the Arkansas i go back and forth, on the water stones it
felt like it was digging in going forward. And yes, I flaten the damn
things all the time.
I use them quite a bit and was really impressed at how long they stayed
sharp, attributed it to quality planes and blades. I always hated planes
cause ones I tried before worked like crap. I got these and find myself
using them for everything.
Thanks for the input all,
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