Showing posts with label eze-lap. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eze-lap. Show all posts

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chisel Sharp

I discovered I needed my chisel for a woodworking project.  I’m taking a course in hand-cut dovetails.  I need a special saw, which I have courtesy of my grandfather.  The chisel I have courtesy of myself.

I bought it maybe 30-35 years ago.  It’s a Stanley 5/8 inch wood chisel made in the US.  The steel?  Beats me.  I bought it at a time when Stanley stood for quality and that was enough for me.

I took it once to a community theater when I did technical theatre.  We were building a set with lots of doors, so that mean lots of passage sets (aka doorknobs and locks).  I looked up and found a co-volunteer using my chisel to hammer small nails out of wood.  

I’d like to say that he was able to use his hands after a few years to therapy but I’d never hurt anyone that bad over tools.  Fortunately I put a halt to his activity before too much damage had occurred.  I just took it home and kept the damaged edge as a reminder never to lend any tool I cared about. 

Now it was time to rehabilitate that tool.  So I got out my stones.

Just in case you don’t know, most wood chisels are sharpened on only one side.  Hence the term, chisel-grind.  The flat edge lets you cut straight through the wood, while the beveled edge clears the wood away from the cut.  If you sharpened both sides, yes it would be sharper, but it would drift away from the cut line.

I have a nice Norton combination coarse/fine stone I bought years ago.  It’s 11.5 inches long and 2.5 inches wide and I really like that size.  It’s hard to get the right angle for each stroke, but once you get it, 11 inches gives you a lot of sharpening distance.

I oiled it up and started on the coarse side, but it wasn’t taking the metal off as fast as I wanted.  So I switched to my little DMT combo diamond stone.  These stones use water as a lubricant so it’s easy to clean up and store.  I bought the DMT so I could touch up an axe or knife blade in the field.  The coarse diamond worked great, but the relatively small size made the job tedious.  I also thought the ratio of diamond material to open polymer made the effective sharpening area significantly small and reduced the metal removal efficiency.

My selection of sharpening stones
On the left the Norton combination stone; the red is the fine grit. The EZE Lap, and the right is my diamond DMT Combo.
I pulled out my EZE Lap, a six inch long fine diamond stone.  That really took the edge down.  Before long I had worked out all the edge damage and had a nice wire edge. 

Now it was back to the Norton stone.  I continued on the coarse side, which made finer marks than the fine diamond EZE Lap.  I guess it makes sense.  The coarse stone is less abrasive than the fine diamond.

I first flat polished the wire edge away on the back of the chisel and did a second uniform one across the chisel’s edge and moved to the other side of the Norton stone, the fine side.  ("Come to the fine side Luke!  I am your father…") Again I removed the wire edge and repeated the sharpening until I had a third wire edge.  I carefully polished the back of the chisel and was finished.

Almost a perfect job, the right edge isn't perfect, but it's very good
It's a pretty good edge, but the right tip isn't perfect.  I suspect its part of the way I put pressure on the chisel during sharpening.

Did I get it sharp?  I think so.  I shaved a few curls from a block of yew wood I had in the basement and was very happy with its action.

Sharpened chisel shaves yew wood
I shaved a few small shavings with my chisel.  I wanted to see how thin I could make them and how much effort it took.

Could I get it sharper?  Maybe.  Depends on the steel.  I could have gone to an ultra fine polish and left the face mirror shiny.  But would the edge hold up?  Steel for chisels is selected for impact and bending properties not necessarily hardness or even edge retention . Some woods are so hard the best you can do is to slowly remove a 32nd inch thick shaving at a time.  Most woodworkers would rather have to resharpen more often than break a chisel.

I’m happy with the way this sharpening project turned out.  I got a uniform edge at about 25 degrees, with a straight, sharp cutting edge.  

In the spirit of complete honesty I used a little wheeled gismo that holds the chisel at a constant angle.  I don’t have any idea where I bought it, but for sharpening a chisel or wood plane blade, it’s the bomb!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Edges and Observations

Speaking of sharpening….

I picked up an Eze-Lap diamond hone for work.  I use a rubber mill knife to cut rubber hoses and belts at work.  Many of these products have Kevlar fabric which can be cut but ruins the knife edge.  My co-worker has been using a cheap ceramic pocket sharpener in which he has ground a flat spot.  The diamond hone works better, but I noticed a “thunk” at the end of the sharpening stroke.  Of course, when you work with microscopes it’s easy to take a look. 
I found a small bump at the edge of the hone.  I don’t think it will affect the sharpening, but it gives me the shivers every time I make a stroke.

Eze-Lap coarse with bump at the edge

A new Spyderco has arrived.  It’s the Balance.  The closed knife resembles an equal arm balance, the favorite of classical analytical chemists.  That’s not me, but still it speaks to me.   
Spyderco Balance

Open, it’s a mini- gurkha knife or khukuri.  The knife is less than 3 inches closed and weighs 1.4 ozs.  That’s less than two first class pieces of mail!

The handle is carbon fiber and the steel VG-10.  The small clip can be moved to any of the four positions: tip up, tip down and right or left.  

If you look at it and ask what’s it’s for, well sorry, but you’re not a knife person.  Sometimes they are just for the heck of it.  Other times you have a specific need that a knife fills in a specific way.

I had a knife on sale on eBay, a byrd Meadowlark from Santa Fe Stoneworks in spiny oyster.  
byrd knife with Santa Fe Stoneworks spiny oyster grip
Somebody got a very good deal, but that’s beside the point.  It didn’t want to sell here so it sold somewhere else.  The thing is, the winning bid came in the last 12 seconds.  Was it sniping software, fast reflexes, or just good timing to get the bid in so late that nobody could counter bid?  

As a seller or buyer, I’m not sure I approve of sniping software.  But if you really want something, bid your maximum in the last 15 minutes.  eBay will auto bid to your max against incoming bids.  You’ll either get it or not at some price including your maximum.  But you will not fall victim to a sniper while trying to get a deal.