Monday, April 07, 2008

You may remember that I recently bought the Scary Sharp System from Rockler. I've had time now to sharpen one garage sale chisel and two plane irons, and my verdict so far is: Wow.

First off, the aforementioned tools are now (on the cutting edge, at least) shiny. And I'm starting to see the differences between the tools. The cheap, beat to hell chisel sharpened up very quickly, which makes me think it will dull up just as fast. The plane irons took a long time just to flatten the bevel. And, actually, there are significant sections of both plane irons that are still a bit rough, which is a sign of how far from flat they were when they were shipped from the factory.

On the other hand, they were extremely cheap, and they do seem to have been made of good steel. And, damn, are they sharp now. I'm going to have to remember to be careful about cleaning chips from the throat, as the cutting edge is definitely sharp enough to cut skin now (and, no, I didn't draw blood).

If you're not a tool geek, and are confused by terms like iron, throat, frog, sole, chipbreaker, etc., and you don't like being confused, Wikipedia's a pretty good reference on the anatomy of a plane.

All in all, I'm impressed with the system. While it takes a while to do the initial flattening, it would take even longer to do it on a stone, and because this is on glass, I know it's flat, while a sharpening stone becomes less flat the longer you use it. There are power tools that do the same job, but grinding wheels aren't good for this kind of sharpening, and this system is significantly cheaper than mechanical sharpeners that keep the blade cool (preserving its temper) and can handle multiple angle bevels.

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