Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Craftsman Moulder Sharpening Tricks

You can spend $$$ on jigs and stones and I know the edge is better because of it but by how much?  I believe in the law of diminishing returns and feel taking 2 min to get 75% is better than taking 10 to get 80%.  With the exception of planer blades I just hold all of mine by hand and only use two stones.

The pair of stones I use are both diamond, about 2 1/2 x 6 inches and come in 'coarse' and 'fine'.  If I had to guess 600 and 1500 grit respectively.  I like the diamond stones because they stay flat and need so very little care, just wipe them down.  They were sold as water stones but I use a sharpening oil.  Water causes rust and I normally sharpen on the bed of my tablesaw. 

Cutting face: Carefully hold the blade at the angle you want on the coarse and draw it backward over the face of the stone.  Lift at the end of each stroke.  This is the only 'skilled' part of the process.  You are sharpening by hand so it isn't like you can wreck the edge in one pass.  Check often to see that you are getting a polish over the full edge.  If the cutting face glints you need to keep going.  Move on to the back but return and give the cutting edge a few more strokes on the fine stone and the last swipe should be lifted up onto the cutting edge slightly to give a last micro-bevel.  I find I only need to hone the cutting face every 3 or 4 backside sharpenings.

Backside:  This is where most of the work is.  Lay the blade flat on the stone and move in a circular fashion until the polish extends all the way to the cutting edge.  This can take a while the first time depending on how the blade was made.  However once you get it flat from that point on all you have to do in normal sharpening is hit the backside on the stone and you are ready to cut.  Once to the edge move to the fine stone, hone the cutting edge to remove the bur and polish the backside.  This step will go much quicker.  I also sharpen hand plane blades this way.

I know sharpening purists will feel I am cutting corners but I am a practical man and this works for me.

1 comment:

  1. I have a couple of these cutter sets where the hole for the Allen screw is slightly off-center in the groove, or the groove is crooked and the cutter sits crooked on the head. Have you encountered this? Do you know of a solution?