Water stones, kanaban plates, carborundum powder and Japanese woodworking tools are available by mail from:
GARRETT WADE, 161 Ave. of the Americas. New York, NY 10013,(800)221-2942.
HIDA TOOL & HARDWARE CO., 1333 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702, (415) 524-3700.
HIGHLAND HARDWARE, 1045 N. Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, (800) 241-6748.
LEE VALLEY TOOLS LTD.. 1080 Morrison Dr., Ottawa. Ontario. Canada K2H 8K7, (613) 596-0350.
WOODCRAFT, 210 Wood Country Park. P.O. Box 1686, Parkersburg, WV 26101, (800) 225-1153.
THE JAPAN WOODWORKER, 1731 Clement Ave., Suite 200. Alameda, CA 94501,(415)521 -1810.
hard steel on the back of the blade —the side that forms the cutting edge. A thick, soft steel makes up the rest of the blade. (See Fig. 1.) The Japanese blade is slightly hollow on the flat, backside of the blade. This lessens the amount of steel that must be removed to keep the back of the edge flat and true, but this construction requires some additional steps to maintain the flat back of the blade. (See page 29.) Flattening is the most difficult part of conditioning a Japanese blade.
Sharpening—If the edge is damaged or badly worn, you must first flatten the back of the blade before sharpening. When the edge is merely dull from regular use, sharpen by honing the bevel on a 1000X or I200X stone, then proceed to a 6000X stone and an 8000X stone. The flat back of the blade is honed only on the 6000X and 8000X finishing stones to remove the fine burr. The sharpening procedure is shown on page 28.
A word about grinding; Don't grind Japanese blades on high-speed grinders—it's too easy to burn the edge. Coarse 200X to 400X "green stones" remove metal almost as quickly as a grinding wheel when you need to reshape a bevel. If you must grind a tool, use a slow-speed, water-cooled wheel.
Once you have learned how to sharpen plane blades and chisel blades, you will understand the cutting edge well enough to sharpen most other types of woodworking blades as well. A
Toshio Odate is a noted sculptor and shoji maker in Connecticut. He teaches sculpture at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and conducts workshops on Japanese tools. He is author of the hook, Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition. Spirit and Use (1984, Taunton Press, 63 S. Main St., Newtown, CT 06470).
JANUARY'FEBRUARY 1991 A 31
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