Thursday, 30 January 2020

Lie Nielsen Honing Guide

A few years ago I bought the LN honing guide but when I found it wouldn't cope with my 6mm Blue Spruce chisel I bought the smaller set of jaws as well. But in practise I reverted back to my old Eclipse guide (which didn't involve changing jaws) and the LN guide was put in the back of the draw.

On the recent sharpening course I fished it out and gave it another go and was pleasantly surprised. The design automatically squares the back of the chisel which was nice, giving a nice straight hone.

Although changing the jaws takes time I was rewarded by the ability to hold both my 3 mm and 4.5 mm chisels as well as the 6 mm. Achieving a square edge on these narrower chisels can be a challenge free hand but the guide worked a treat.

As this was going to be my new best friend I also invested in the long jaws which allows me to hold my spoke shave blades as well. With all that investment (yes it's very expensive!) I bought myself a couple of screw drivers that fit the screws perfectly and made a little tray from scrap materials.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Sharpening Course.

The one day sharpening course went very well and you can see the set up we used to flatten the backs of chisels and planes. A sheet of 40 mm wide 100 micron, microfilm abrasive is stuck onto a small granite tile and the chisel is pulled back in a single deliberate stroke. Although this is slower than using Waterstones it is more consistent for the inexperienced. The blue masking tape indicates the start of the pull stroke which means the edge starts off the abrasive so there's less chance of rounding it over.

Where there is a lot of flattening to be done (see the drooped corner above) it can be speeded up by removing some material with a Dremel. You'll note the sides and front edge have been left in a similar way to Japanese chisels. Although the scratching looks ugly by the time the back has been fully flattened there is hardly a trace left. I first saw this tip at the Barnsley Workshops many years ago.

The Tormek grinder does a great job of finishing the bevel grind and squaring up the edge. The main bevel grind is done at approximately 23 degrees on a course aluminium high speed grinder.

Both the back and the bevel are finished off using progressively finer grits, often called the Scary Sharp method. This gives a lovely sharp edge with less mess than water stones, although not quite as finer finish. The large plate I'm using is a Quartz tile 600mm x 300mm x 12 mm thick and cost just £11.69 (Tile Giant), which is a great deal less than a similar sized piece of float glass.