Honing follows grinding. The more finely gritted stones make finer scratches in the steel, eventually leaving it mirror polished right down to the point where the bevel and the flat face intersect. You don't need a microscope to see this. Look straight on at an edge held in the sunlight—any brightness is dullness. The intersection of two lines is a point, and a point has no width and will not reflect light back at your eye. Intersection is a big word for a tiny place, but that's your edge.

Just as with the sandstone wheel, whetstones need to wear away to keep fresh sharp grit at the surface. Some stones need oil and some need water to carry away the worn particles of grit and steel. Sandstones and Belgian clay

stones are common natural water stones. Arkansas and Washita stones are natural oilstones.

Olive oil does fine on oilstones, but any oil makes stones pick up all the dust and dirt in the shop. Lamp oil can help de-gum a sticky stone. Any stone needs to be wiped clean and kept covered. Natural stones are particularly fragile and deserve a wooden box to live in.

Start honing with the flat face of the tool lying flat on the flat stone. Work it in a figure eight pattern over the whole stone until it shows polish down to the edge. A coarser stone will cut faster if you're not reaching the edge, but keep the flat side flat. You can't easily flatten on a hollowed stone, so you may need to level the stone by rubbing it against another one or on a flat surface covered with abrasive.

Move to the finer stones for the final polish on the flat side and then turn to the bevel face. Again, start with the coarser stones and work toward your finest.

You have already ground the bevel edge to 30 degrees, and you can continue honing that entire face until it is polished and flat all the way to the edge. Some prefer to reduce the work by raising the angle of the tool a few degrees to hone a second bevel. This steeper honing bevel still needs to be dead flat, and you need a steady hand to keep the tool at this consistent angle.

As you hone, you may see a wire edge develop. You're always pressing the tool against the stone to keep it cutting, but right down at the very edge, the steel can get so thin that it bends away from the stone rather than being cut. You can take off this wire edge by bending it back and forth, stropping it on leather or your palm with alternating strokes on each side of the tool, always away from the cutting edge. Breaking off the wire edge leaves behind a microscopically rough, work-hardened edge that then needs further honing with a stone, which in turn leaves a finer wire edge which again needs to be stropped off.

I have become a convert to removing the wire edge by honing the tool on my finest stone alternately on the flat side and the bevel side — sharpening off the wire edge rather than breaking it off. I do wonder though, if the magic effect of new sharpening techniques comes from renewed attention to the routine more than anything else.

The proof of the edge is in the cutting—over time. A too-acute edge won't hold up, and microscopic scratches from insufficient polishing will leave tiny points that bend over and blunt the edge. Testing the edge on your thumbnail will tell you if it is sharp, but only wood and work will tell if the edge will last.

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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