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Super Sharp!!

Over the years I have acquired all manner of sharpening and honing stones for sharpening my chisels etc. These include diamond, ceramic, silicon carbide and water stones. I also have a grinding machine. To get that super polished, extra, extra sharp edge needs a buffing and polishing system. Now I know that Tormek make such a machine, but here in the UK I find that I cannot justify paying such a high asking price for one. (about 160+extra for the required jigs).

So, some time ago, using my trusty 'Rat, I made Aldel's cheapskate honing disk that works very well. You do need a drill press to use it safely though.

To make one you need to gather together a kit of parts: 1 old leather belt, some contact glue, a bolt with a long plain shank, some steel polishing compound and a disk of 18mm (3/4") thick M.D.F. or close grained and stable hard wood.     

border="0" O.K. start off by roughly cutting out a disk like this.  Here I have used hard Ash but M.D.F. would be best. I made the diameter 6" or 150mm.
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Using your drill press, drill a small  hole to take nail or pin. It is important that the hole is perpendicular to the flat face or the finished disk will 'wobble' and vibrate in use.

 

 

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  In the usual way, nail or pin the disk onto a batten, track under the plate and route a disk as described else-where in this site and in the Woodrat manual. Warning! Only take small bites at a time whilst turning the disk or there will be trouble!   

 

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Cut a length of leather belt to go around the circumference of the disk. Cut the joining ends at an angle as shown here. Apply contact adhesive to the belt and disk and allow to dry before attaching to the wood.

 

border="0"  I used linked tie-wraps to hold the leather in place for a couple of hours to be sure of strong fixing.
border="0"  I found a long 6mm stainless steel bolt and cut the head off to make a mounting spindle. I did need to increase the thread length to enable me to use lock nuts on the end. I also made use of dished washers as shown. Use the drill press to cut a 6mm hole in the centre. The locknuts are an important safety feature to prevent the nuts coming undone in use. You could use a spring washer and thread lock as well to be doubly sure. If you have a suitable left threaded bolt then that would be perfect.
border="0" When assembled it looks like this. You may have to run the drill and lightly sand the leather to get a reasonable finish. Wear a face mask!!
border="0" Run up the drill and apply the metal compound/ polish. In this instance I have used green compound which is suitable to give a high final polish on steel. Notice that there are some minor areas on the the leather which are low. Don't worry, if minor they will disappear as the leather 'beds in'. If the areas are large you will need to sand it down a bit more.
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This photo shows an M.D.F. disk where the leather has been 'run in' and a coarser first cut grey compound has been applied. Notice the highly polished edge of the chisel. This would be given a final polish on the back and cutting edge with the green compound.

 

border="0" Using this system will give you a very sharp edge indeed
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 In use you must only apply the chisel on the disk side that is moving away from you as indicated by the directional arrow. Failure to do so will result in broken fingers and/or chisel, considerable loss of blood or other parts of the anatomy!!!!!

 

border="0" By using first a coarse compound followed by a fine compound this honing system will give an incredible cutting edge.
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 The disk can be frequently used to brighten any slightly dulled chisel.  To be of any use the chisel must first be properly ground and sharpened to the correct angles. It cannot fix chipped or damaged edges. Don't forget to first lap the back of your chisel to a fine finish on your preferred flat stone before finally honing. Practise on an old tool first. I find that it helps to place a lamp so that it shines down onto the cutting edge when honing. You can use the lack of shadow to judge the correct angle

 

Hope you find this of some use.


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