First bowl carving tools - which ones?

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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby ToneWood » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:42 pm

gavin wrote:...
I reckon 40X is too much, 20X or 30X is about right.

The biggest downside of monocular i.e. one-eye viewing devices is if you move the object right physically, the image moves left. Also they are a b8gger to keep focussed as they have a poor depth of field. But for the money, you cannot complain.

Do keep an eye open for binocular microscopes 2nd hand - they are WONDERFUL for sharpening.
Coincidently there was a very nice binocular microscope, x30 only, up for auction on ebay yesterday - I put a bid in. It went higher though and sold for £24 + £8 shipping - not bad. And in a nice wooden box too. Probably to somebody who read your posts yesterday! :D Would probably have been perfect for this task - but difficult to get past the (long suffering) wife-unit, after so many recent tool purchases -- it's probably "a bridge too far". Maybe I should see if I can borrow one from somewhere...
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/160757006378?ssPageName=STRK:MEDWX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1532.l2649
Image

How about this pocket microscope (more highly rated on Amazon, albeit for kids use :D): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Prezzybox-Pocket-Microscope-Magnifies-30x/dp/B0046Z3R5A/ref=sr_1_4?s=kids&ie=UTF8&qid=1331830751&sr=1-4
Image
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby ToneWood » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:51 pm

gavin wrote:...The single most fascinating thing for me was watching Ben Orford demonstrate his sharpeningsystem at Bodgers Ball 2011 . His knives sharpened with 600 grit paper looked rough under microscope, but they cut beautifully...
The spearos had a discussion about knife sharpening/sharpness a while back. Suffice to say that there are quite a lot of knife collectors in the USA that are really into sharpening. One interesting thing that came out in discussion is that sometimes/often you want a sharp blade that is not super-polished/scarey-sharp, because the micro-serrations left behind can actually aid cutting (for example, when slicing tomatoes or cutting rope) - however, strictly speaking, such a blade is not as sharp as a super-polished/scarey-sharp blade. I'm guessing that for woodcarving/bowl-making/Swedish-carving, that the aim is to get a scarey-sharp blade. [However I noticed myself, & Jogge pointed out, that you really need to draw a wood-carving knife/draw-knife sideways as you cut - and you mentioned 600 grit providing sufficient sharpness - so perhaps some low-level of micro-serrations is acceptable, perhaps even beneficial. Perhaps the "micronauts" can shed some light on this?]


Also, I notice that carving tools generally use a "Scandi grind" (Scandinavian, single bevel per side). Unlike, say, bush knives (and regular axes?) where a blunter, much smaller bevel is added at the end of sharpening, ostensibly to make the edge last longer - although I find it also makes it quicker to achieve an acceptable edge, almost seems like cheating :D. Although I saw one reference mention that some add a tiny micro secondary bevel to carving knives.

I can get a decent edge on many/most tools now - but not to the same super-sharp, highly-polished level as these new Swedish tools. I'm thinking my fine diamond stone will be too coarse for now. Maybe I need something quite fine, such a high-number Japanese waterstone (6000/8000/12,000 + naga-stone slush?), or perhaps just some grinding paste on the strop (far cheaper and simpler)?
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby bulldawg_65 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:01 pm

I can get a decent edge on many/most tools now - but not to the same super-sharp, highly-polished level as these new Swedish tools. I'm thinking my fine diamond stone will be too coarse for now. Maybe I need something quite fine, such a high-number Japanese waterstone (6000/8000/12,000 + naga-stone slush?), or perhaps just some grinding paste on the strop (far cheaper and simpler)?


Personally I have 4 stones and a strop... I've been using Arkansas stones all my life. So I have a fine Crystolon stone to either reshape a blade or re-edge a badly damaged blade. I have a soft Arkansas stone for very dull blades or mildly chipped/nicked blades and a hard Arkansas stone for just mildly rounded edges and finally the Black razor stone for getting the keenest edge possible. I use the strop with green chromium compound to hone the edge while I am carving/whittling. You can feel when the knife needs it as it requires a bit more force to slice through the wood.

My next sharpening purchase will either be a wetstone setup or a belt sanding set up as it is easier to sharpen axe blades, adze and gouge blades with them.
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Sharpening / Stones

Postby ToneWood » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:11 pm

Yes, I saw Arkansas stones and another type (Witchita?) while in the USA. They seemed rather expensive (though not really at around $10-$12) as I just has a pocket knife & some garden tools to sharpen. It sounds like there is a system based around these that has probably developed over time in the US. As far as I know, we don't get those over here. We do get a lot of cheap artificial stones.

I have a lot of cheap artifical stones, including:
- 1 big very coarse, double-conical cylinder artifical stone (like Grandpa used to sharpen his billhook & rip-hook - but softer, it crumbles). Dropped & it broke in half. Cost me £2 but have seen similar stones (not) selling for £6.
- 2 flat files of similar shape to the above. Appear to be for coarse use but actually quite smooth/fine.
- 2 similar cheap coarse/fine artifical stones one old and oily (my father's probably), the other dry and rough (probably mine). Cost £1 each.
- a new cheap coarse/fine stone in a bench box. Looks finer that the above. Cost £1 (reduced as one small corner piece is missing - not a problem).
- 1 decent red/blue Draper/Faithful coarse/fine stone - new last year. Cost £6? I've used it dry or with water but it is still clogged immediately with oil from the tools. Quite smooth & fine still.
- 1 small, wooden-handled, fine, oily oddly-shaped stone from the local charity stone - odd shape (hard to described, ovalish with a tent ridge shape on both sides!), possibly worn that way or designed for something specific (pen knife/kitchen knives/...?). £1

I suspect all of the above are intended to be used with oil but I hate using oil as it makes such a mess everywhere. So I used them dry or with (insufficient) water. And they clog up (did Robin say you could boil them clean...with detergent perhaps??). Could really do with some advice on the above. Maybe I should boil them clean and get some food grade mineral oil (hard to find in UK) or use vegetable oil or perhaps glycerine/glycerol (sweet, smooth, derived from fat) - I use this on diving gear, seals & such like. Is it practical to use water with them instead of oil?

The main event: I have a small, electric waterstone that I use for most things now. Its supposed to be 250 grit but it gives a smoother, finer grind than that suggests.

I recently bough a 10" mill b@stard file to restore an old axe and sharpen the cheap Lidl axe. I ended up buying an 8" second cut file to follow the other file. I don't intend to ever use these on my Swedish tools though :D.

Last week I bought a set of medium size diamond stones in a bench box from the local cheap hardware store, £8 (£15 elsewhere): coarse, medium and fine -- although I think they are all rated under 1000 grit, so all quite coarse. Intended to be used with water (but they rust if left damp!). [The cheap store also offered a really nice 2 file set, 12" mill b@stard & 12" Secondary cut file for £7.50 - half what I paid for my 2 smaller files of similar or lesser quality, might even have been 14" - really nice big files. Although I gather larger files are generally made coarser - something to consider.]

A few years ago, I almost bought a lightly used Veritas Japanese waterstone system, including bath and stones - missed a bargain there. I just didn't need it then.

Last week I also bought some sheets of sand paper & wet & dry, inc. some 600 grit. Glue and my son has some spray adhesive (as recommend by Ben Orford). I've also made a Ben-style strop.

I've got a Priory sharpener (expensive kitchenware when new) and a cheaper copy - charity store & ebay - (they actually don't sharpen at all but work as an iron - I use them the keep the edge on kitchen knives). A pocket sharpener. A couple of cheap kitchen sharpeners (disk stone sandwich between to plastic and metal guides). A small disk stone that fits into an old electric drill (good for initial sharpening of big rusty old metal things quickly). A dremel clone.

So plenty of so-so sharpeners - but where to begin?!

Ideally, I would trade all those in for one good system that just works. Perhaps 3 Japanese waterstones (250-800-ish, 1000-1200-ish, 6000-8000-is) + naga stone for slush, the diamond stones to keep them flat. Not sure about belt sanders - although I see Ben uses one and Robin says most pros do - wouldn't they heat the metal? Tomeks look great for pros or their new competitor (I forget the name, Jet or something like that). Slow-ish water-cooled wet stones seem pretty good - my little one has been very good. That said, I am convinced that I already own the makings of several perfectly good sharpening systems - I just need to learn how to make the most of them.
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Re: Sharpening / Stones

Postby gavin » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:38 pm

ToneWood wrote:Last week I also bought some sheets of sand paper & wet & dry, inc. some 600 grit. Glue and my son has some spray adhesive (as recommend by Ben Orford). I've also made a ben-style strop

That Ben Orford is the one to focus on. Cheap to make, and you cannot drop it and break it - that's really important.
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby bulldawg_65 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:14 am

I agree with Gavin here. The sand paper sharpening system is a very inexpensive and effective way of sharpening your tools. Just make sure the grit in the paper you use is tougher than the metal you are trying to sharpen. One other thing to be concious of, the surface you glue the sandpaper to has to be absolutely flat. MDF seems to be the best choice if you want to glue the paper down. I've seen systems using a wet granite or glass base to hold the wet/dry paper while sharpening.

As for the Arkansas stones, they are my personal preference, mainly because I've been using them all my life and my father taught me how to use them. Also if properly maintained, a good Arkansas bench set will last a lifetime or more. Washita is the softest and coarsest of the Arkansas stones. Here though, I believe a Crystolon stone does the job better. It wears almost as fast but seems to remove the metal faster.
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby nic » Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:37 am

I recently bought a set of Japanese waterstonesfrom this company : http://www.turners-retreat.co.uk/acatal ... ening.html - they are about a quarter of the way down the page


I was at a show and they did the large 1,000 and the 3,000 and 6,000 for £50 - I know cheaper waterstones can be a bit of a lottery but I tried them out at the show and was really pleased with them, the progression between the grits was good, you could make the jump from 1,000 to 6,000 but it is slower; it even came with a water bath.

They are more expensive on the web; possibly they might do something if you speak to them in person.

Having some experience in sharpening on papers I consider these a much superior system.
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Japanese water stones

Postby ToneWood » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:56 pm

Hi, Nic - £50 is a lot of money but from what I've seen, that is a great deal for a complete set with the bath too (and a base/holder?). That'd get you 2 stones & a holder on ebay, if you shop carefully. Companies often do promo's at shows (see, it works, you remember them, recommended them and I just checked out their website, as will others :) ) . Especially on the last day - as nobody wants to pack up unsold goods and cart them home again.

Actually, I see they offer a set of 3x7" stones (220, 1000, 3000) for £38, each has its own stand (JWS0113). Their curved edge water-stones might be handy for gouges (240, 2000, 4000).

Nic, I just took a look at your website - I've come across it before - v. nice. I take it you are a full-time professional? I see you use these stones to sharpen the carving knives that you make, which are - "...ground, finally they are honed on diamond and Japanese bench stones" [ref. http://www.nicwestermann.co.uk/hand-forged-tools/cat_6.html] - so presumably you have to use these things a lot?

Nice looking blades. Do you get the mirror finish from the 6000 stone? How do you recommend customers maintain that initial sharpness - just regularly strop unless/until more work is required?
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Japanese water stones - Welsh slate sharpening stones

Postby ToneWood » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:09 pm

BTW I notice that Robin Wood bought a particular brand of harder Japanese stone (Shapton?) - more expensive than many and probably cut less quickly but stay flat longer. For professional use, might be important.

I found this webpage informative: http://www.fine-tools.com/japwas.htm
One thing it indirectly suggests, is that you might want to choose different grade stones from different manufacturers. For example,
perhaps King or Sun Tiger for the coarser stone(s), as they are cheaper and cut quickly. But perhaps a CERAX 8000 or Naniwa stone
for a fine, mirror finish.

BTW I notice there is a chap selling Welsh slate sharpening stones on ebay, reckons they are about 15K with slurry (i.e. very fine, for razors):
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NATURAL-WIDE-WELSH-SLATE-RAZOR-HONE-15k-SHARPENING-STONE-slurry-stone-/180838864445?pt=UK_Kitchen_Accessories&hash=item2a1ad6163d
I would think they would last well (v. hard).
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Gouge sharpening / Oil Stones re-visited

Postby ToneWood » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:20 pm

I came across this page, which has some interesting image jpegs that you can expand, showing one way to sharpen gouges (much on my mind currently): http://villagecarpenter.blogspot.com/2010/02/sharpening-honing-gouges.html

Interesting American article on oil stones (this guy prefers them - and he has a Tomek): http://www.norsewoodsmith.com/content/oil-stones
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Re: Japanese water stones

Postby nic » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:42 pm

ToneWood wrote:Hi, Nic - £50 is a lot of money but from what I've seen, that is a great deal for a complete set with the bath too (and a base/holder?). That'd get you 2 stones & a holder on ebay, if you shop carefully. Companies often do promo's at shows (see, it works, you remember them, recommended them and I just checked out their website, as will others :) ) . Especially on the last day - as nobody wants to pack up unsold goods and cart them home again.

I just took a look at your website - I've come across it before - v. nice. I take it you are a full-time professional? I see you use these stones to sharpen the carving knives that you make, which are - "...ground, finally they are honed on diamond and Japanese bench stones" [ref. http://www.nicwestermann.co.uk/hand-forged-tools/cat_6.html] - so presumably you have to use these things a lot?

Nice looking blades. Do you get the mirror finish from the 6000 stone? If I were to purchase one of your blades, how would you recommend that I maintain it for the first month of so of weekend use - just strop?



Hi Tone;

It was a good deal; and having tried the stones out I was even happier- I have bought more expensive stones on the net that have been as good; but I have also had one that was so bad that I very quickly stopped using it. I pretty much make and sharpen blades all day at the moment. So I was looking for a set that would see a lot of use; Diamond can be better but at present there is nothing on the market that suits my needs right through the grit range. I am working with a manufacturer to address this and hopefully will try some prototypes before the end of the year. That will be a treat- you need so much less pressure with diamond- and you never have to dress them.

I don't get a mirror polish but can get the 6,000 grit marks out very quickly on a leather strop; I have a 10,000 grit stone and it does give a better edge than the 6,000- but after stropping they both feel the same when actually cutting wood.

As to maintaining my blades : The show I just came back from I was shown two knives that I sold the previous year- and the owners had yet to put them on a stone; just stropping. However that really does depend on how much use they have had.
- If you strop carefully to minimise rounding the bevel you will only need to put it on a stone every couple of months. I tend to strop little and often, before the blade gets noticeably blunt.

Edit: I was pondering this post as I worked and it occurred to me that good technique is much more important than the difference between paper v's stone or oil v's water or diamond or splitting it further the brand of stone you use. Again at the show I was at there was a guy demonstrating sharpening and he went down to 8,000 grit then stropped, he didn't get a mirror finish and his edges were distinctly ragged; he was however a great showman and his audience were mightily impressed by his patter !

Nic
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Sharpening

Postby ToneWood » Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:46 pm

Yes, I suspect technique and judgement are the most important things for sharpening - in the right hands, I suspect a cheap oil stone would be enough. Market sales pitches can be entertaining, I was recently reminded that as a youngster I used to love watching guys selling baskets of China at the local market when visiting relatives (in hindsight, that must have been a hard thing to sell).
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Bowlmate - Forstner v. auger

Postby ToneWood » Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:18 pm

I was thinking over Gavin's proposal that I should make myself a Robin Wood-style bowlmate - he's quite right. I was thinking it would be a chance to try out my inexpensive but supposedly good quality, War Dept. 1" scotch eye auger, from ebay. Although Gavin suggested that as a minimum size for the leg holes. I strikes me that 1" might be a bit too small for me, as I am quite big and have a habit of breaking things by applying too much force.

Image

I was looking at spoon-maker Barn the Spoon of Bristol's blog, Spooning, and the video on this quirky but excellent chopping block: http://barnthespoon.blogspot.com/2012/02/axe-blocks.html

(Bristol is a great, quirky city, not unlike Seattle - the Banksy v. Bristol Museum exhibition was a hoot.http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=banksy+v+bristol+museum&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=Vcg&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=a7xjT5CfFKnC0QXnqMiLCA&ved=0CD4QsAQ&biw=1600&bih=681&sei=wrxjT8K3L6qu0QXqouiXCA)

Any hoo, he mentioned using a Veritas tenon cutter, to cut 1.5" holes I thought (probably my misunderstanding, that would be a morticer presumably) - I didn't know what that was, so I looked it up. While looking that up, I came across some Forstner drill bits alongside. I suddenly recalled that years ago I bought a set of fancy Forstner drill bits cheaply somewhere, as I was frustrated trying to drill big, clean-cut holes (I forget what for). Anyway they have never been used and I now have them sat next to me. I can't recall much about them now - are these capable of drilling deep holes, if used with an electric hand drill (I recall jrccaim writing some about them - perhaps on the auger thread - about them needing a smaller pilot hole(s) drilled first to reduce resistance)? The diameters look impressively large. Surprisingly they're metric - so perhaps I bought them in the UK rather than the USA(?) - 15mm, 20mm, 25mm, 30mm, 35mm. An inch is 2.54cm, so I guess the 30 and 35mm bits should add a bit more strength (35mm ~= 1.37" - metric is great for calculations, but imperial is so much more practical/meaningful for normal, everyday things). I can't afford a fancy large diameter Veritas tenon cutter for the legs (and they come in inches anyway!) but it should be easy enough to whittle the ends of the legs to fit with axe & knife - although it might not be such a precision fit :D.
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Re: First bowl carving tools - which ones?

Postby Ian S » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:59 am

Use the 35mm bit, shave the top of the legs to approximate diameter and batter them in to the holes with a big hammer. As long as the legs are tightly jammed in to a depth of say 4 inches, they'll be fine.

Cheers
How sharp is sharp enough?
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bowlmate holes / draw-knife

Postby ToneWood » Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:50 am

Thanks. 4", I probably wouldn't have gone that deep if you hadn't said. My Forstner bits are just less than 4", including the section that goes in the chuck, but with such a big hole, I guess the chuck will fit inside the hole :D, excellent.

I did some final draw-knife work on the bottom and top edge of the bowl this morning. Inspired by the sharpening discussion, I touched-up the edge with my little water-wheel (tip from gouge-sharpening link: start with the flat on the back - this revealed an unexpected shiny line of metal all along the back of the edge, a burr on the back!) and then used a cheap, fine, flat dry stone and then stropped. Not perfect but pretty darn sharp. After about 10 minutes use I somehow just touched the edge of my thumb on the blade :( - it drew blood but only barely, thankfully. Odd, the draw knife is usually one of the safer tools.
Tonewood 2& 3 side.jpg
New bowl, Tonewood3, front - old bowl, Tonewood2 in back.
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