stroppy question

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stroppy question

Postby kikodenzer » Thu May 23, 2013 9:48 pm

I did search on "sharpening" and "stropping," and didn't find anything to address this, so here goes:

When I started out (last summer) I was a bit confuddled at a comment Ben Orford made in one of his videos, to the effect that it was better/easier to use a less-than sharp knife when turning bowls. Later, I was working with some lovely bits of holly, and by way of experiment, I used my best, sharpest crooked knife (one of Del Stubbs') for some finish cuts, and reduced tear-out to almost nothing (course, Holly is so fine-grained, it wasn't as much of an issue as it might have been).

So lately I've been practising my bowl turning again, this time using olive and madrone woods (madrone is a lovely and very hard wood common in the drier parts of the coastal Pacific Northwest forests). I started dreaming of a sharpening set up I could put on the lathe that would make it easier to get a really good edge on these tricky, awkwardly shaped hooks. Then I realized I could just strop the tools on the bowl, as I worked. I shifted my work rhythm from "foot down, press tool in, cut" to "foot up, press tool lightly, strop" (if that makes sense). Of course, the blade fits perfectly in the cuts it just made, the angle is just back of the angle I'm using to cut, and it seems to work. My blades seem to cut easier. And it's easy! Anybody else tried it? I haven't had time yet to fully test it, but am pretty excited so thought I'd share...

-- Kiko Denzer
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Re: stroppy question

Postby gavin » Thu May 23, 2013 10:48 pm

Hmm - I think this idea has merit. You'll have to watch the warping of any bowl as it seasons i.e. you would need to make sure your sharpening bowl was either seasoned or had not had time to warp into oval shape. You could glue your abrasive to the inside of your sharpening-bowl. Do try marking the hook with felt pen to see where the pen is removed. That will give you some idea of how accurately you can hold the angle of attack.

But since your bowl's profile will NOT match your hook's profile, you'll only be doing part of the hook at once. Because you move your upper body as you treadle, you will cause more changes in the angle of sharpening attack than if you just anchor your hook somehow and file or slipstone or strop it with your chosen abrasive? There are a lot less variables in doing that.

BTW: Are you the Kiko Denzer who wrote the wonderful book about earth ovens - now I think in multiple editions??
Gavin Phillips


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Re: stroppy question

Postby kikodenzer » Thu May 30, 2013 4:37 pm

Hi, Gavin,
I was doing this on the green wood as I cut the bowl -- effectively trying to just reverse the wear as I work. As I examine my blades, it looks to me that the edges get pretty severely rounded, which makes me think my options are either to re-grind the entire bevel, or put an increasingly steep micro-bevel on the existing edge.

I'm also thinking about how to work the inside of the hook...maybe a separate "stropping cord" of round leather or even braided nylon, impregnated with compound? Or a chainsaw file fixed into the middle of a cord?

Anyway, I'll keep working on it...

Thanks, too, for the nice word about the oven book, for which I am the guilty party -- it gets around a lot more than I do!

-- Kiko
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Re: stroppy question

Postby gavin » Thu May 30, 2013 5:22 pm

kikodenzer wrote:Hi, Gavin,
I was doing this on the green wood as I cut the bowl -- effectively trying to just reverse the wear as I work. As I examine my blades, it looks to me that the edges get pretty severely rounded, which makes me think my options are either to re-grind the entire bevel, or put an increasingly steep micro-bevel on the existing edge.

I'm also thinking about how to work the inside of the hook...maybe a separate "stropping cord" of round leather or even braided nylon, impregnated with compound? Or a chainsaw file fixed into the middle of a cord?

Anyway, I'll keep working on it...

Thanks, too, for the nice word about the oven book, for which I am the guilty party -- it gets around a lot more than I do!

-- Kiko

Kiko,
Why don't you master conventional sharpening first i.e. where your tool is held rigid fixed and you pass some abrasive over it? There will be a lot less variation in angles of attack if you do. You have to ponder why your idea has not been widely distributed up to now. I doubt that it is because no one thought of it. It is more likely that there are better ways to sharpen.
Gavin Phillips


- teacher, demonstrator & supporter of greenwoodworking & human-powered turning
- Supplier of Fun & Confidence

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http://www.shed-therapy.com
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