Post details: Rockler's Recommended Sharpening System


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Rockler's Recommended Sharpening System

Sharp Tools are a Woodworking Necessity

If you enjoy woodworking, you know how important it is to have sharp power and hand tools. With enough use, even the best tools eventually get dull. So, if you're serious about woodworking, you'll need to develop some sharpening skills to keep your tools in good, safe woodworking order.

Three Methods to Keep Tools Sharp
Rockler recommends these three methods to keep your tools sharp:

1. Hand Sharpening
Cost: Starting around $30
When done correctly, hand sharpening produces very sharp edges. When done incorrectly, it will produce dull, unsafe cutting edges and frustration. If you are committed to developing old-fashioned hand sharpening skills — and have the patience to complete it properly — this system will serve you well. Rockler has a complete line of hand sharpening supplies that will keep your tools in great shape and last a lifetime:

The Hand Sharpening Method
Unless your tool is in good shape, you'll want to start with the Grinder. Grinding will give your tool edges a hollow grind, or a concave shape, that will allow you to hone only the back and front length of the tool edge — a faster way to sharpen. It is very important to use an aluminum oxide wheel on your grinder to prevent your tool from overheating. Aluminum oxide wheels run cooler than the wheels that come with most grinders. (Tool steel loses its hardness and its ability to keep a fine edge when it is overheated.)

The angle of the bevel is produced on the grinder (generally, chisels and plane irons are 30 degrees) using the aluminum oxide wheel to prevent overheating. Next, hone your tool using either the Rockler Plate Glass Sharpening System or a series of Water stones, working up through course, medium and fine grits. Oilstones cut much slower with similar results, so we do not recommend them. You can also use Diamond stones. They're not required unless you're sharpening carbide cutting edges, and they are more expensive.

You'll also want to invest in a good Honing Guide to keep your tool steady and at a consistent angle while honing.

Makita Blade Sharpener2. Makita Blade Sharpener
Cost: Around $260
The Makita Blade Sharpener is a 560-RPM, motorized grinding station. It will reduce the time and skill needed to produce sharp edges on a wide range of tools, including jointer and planer blades up to 15" long. The large, slow turning, precision-made aluminum oxide wheel offers a peaceful and quiet alternative for precise sharpening. The continuous water feed keeps your blades cool to prevent them from overheating. The Makita Blade Sharpener is a good value for a motorized sharpening system.

The Makita Sharpening Method
The Makita system uses a horizontal, aluminum oxide water stone wheel. Using the blade holder (included as standard equipment), you hold your tool firmly against the rotating face of the wheel, mounted horizontally in the grinding station. This produces a perfectly flat edge rather than a “hollow grind” produced with a typical 6" grinder. With a few additional accessories, you can sharpen a wide range of tools, including jointer knives and planer knives. The water stone wheel will eventually wear, but it can be easily re-flattened.

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