Flattip Diamond Dresser

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Dress for Success

Ever lose your temper? I mean your chisel's temper. Don't get burned by a clogged, uneven grinding wheel. Dressing your grinder wheels periodically to keep them clean and flat helps prevent the excess heat that leads to bluing and loss of temper(s).

Single-point diamond wheel dressers do a great job but they're difficult to use freehand. Try a flat-tip diamond dresser instead. It has 36-grit diamond stone particles imbedded in a 1/2-in. wide by 3/4-in.-long face. Simply place it on your grinder's tool rest and make contact with the wheel.

Flat-tip diamond dressers are available from Woodcraft Supply, (800) 225-1153, #124670, $18.

You've probably heard other woodworkers talk about what a great tool the scraper is, but maybe you've never had much luck with one yourself. Using them is easy; getting a good edge on them is the tough part. The hardest step in sharpening a scraper is the first one—filing the edge square and flat. Start off right with this easy-to-make file holder: Cut a kerf equal to the thickness of an 8-in. mill file in a 1-1/4-in. thick by 4-in. wide by 6-in.-long piece of wood. The kerf should be a little deeper than half the width of the file. This allows you to set the file at different depths to avoid dulling it in one spot. Clamp the scraper in a wood-jaw vise. Push the scraper firmly against the holder while filing for a perfectly square edge.

Surefire Scraper Filing

Less time sharpening means more time woodworking. Isn't that what we all want? Honing guides get the job done fast but setting the blade in the guide to get the right bevel angle can be time consuming.

Here's a quick trick: Mark the appropriate blade extension for each bevel angle on your benchtop, or a wood scrap, for convenient reference. Hold the edge of the blade to the desired bevel mark, butt the guide to the edge of the bench and tighten. The side-clamp honing guide, shown above, automatically squares the blade and prevents it from rocking or shifting in the jig. This guide is available from Garrett Wade, {800) 221-2942, Item # 10M0701, $12.

Chisels and planes have bevel angles from 25 to 35 degrees depending on their intended use. You can buy a jig for grinding these angles, or make your own angle blocks at no cost!

Make one block for each angle. Glue up a block 2-1/2 in. deep by 4-in. wide by 10-in. tall. Mark the desired angle on the top of one side. Drill a 1-in. hole through the side of the block at the halfway point of your angle mark. Then cut the angle on your tablesaw. The remaining groove makes an excellent guide for your fingers. Cut the block to length so the top is equal to the center height of your wheel. To secure the block, drill a 1-1/4-in. hole near the bottom of the block for a bar clamp.

The edge left after filing a scraper is a little rough for fine work. Use a piece of wood to align the scraper when moving it against the stone and you'll retain the square edge you achieved with your file jig.

An extra-fine (1,200) diamond stone is a good choice for this because the scraper won't wear a groove in the stone. You can get one from Trend-lines, (800) 767-9999, Item # DM6E, $45.

Fine Edge On Your Scraper

It would be great if chisels and planes came from the factory ready to use, but they don't. A perfectly flat, mirrorlike finish on the back is essential for a truly sharp edge. Flattening always requires a large dose of elbow grease and patience. The fastest method is to use an extra-coarse diamond stone. It won't dish out the way oilstones and waterstones do and it can easily be clamped in a vise.

Once you have a flat surface, move on to finer stones until your chisels and planes shine like a mirror.

Extra-coarse diamond stones are available from Lee Valley & Veritas, (800) 871-8158, 8" x 2-5/8," Item #70M04.01,$66.

Waterstones are great for sharpening bench tools, but their soft binder makes them prone to dishing out and grooving. Fortunately, flattening them is no big deal. An 11 in. by 12-in. piece of 1/4-in. plate glass and a sheet of 180-grit wet/dry sandpaper provide a cheap, perfectly flat abrasive surface for flattening all your waterstones. The glass will cost you about six bucks (be sure to have the edges sanded) and the wet/dry sandpaper about 70 cents a sheet. Both are available at hardware stores. Use water to hold the paper on the glass and to flush away the slurry.

9 Keeping Waterstones Dead Flat 10

3 Ways to Test for Sharpness

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