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Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

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  • Pez
    started a topic Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    I am looking into getting a bench grinder but am also considering one of the Work Sharp machines. The primary use will be for chisels and plane irons and occasional lawn mower blade sharpening. Does anyone have any input on one of these options compared to another? Both would be good machines to have in the shop and being new to these not sure which direction to go in.

    For the bench grinder I am looking at a Craftsman 8" varibale speed or possibly a Delta (not as easy to find locally - not looking to purchse this online). As for the Work Sharp machine I was looking at the more expensive one, seems a little more versatile.

  • Pez
    replied
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    Thought I would post an update since I have had some time to play around with the worksharp and this thread is still kicking...

    I borrowed a friends old busted chisel and in very little time got it in the best shape its ever been. My friend was amazed which isnt easy (you have to know him to understand what I mean). The downside is he gave me a bunch more chisels to sharpen.

    As for my own chisels, I got them for xmas and have received very little use. But after some time on WS I can easily tell they are working much better. I have read that even new chisels need work but was skeptical (remember - I am new to woodworking). Well I am a believer now.

    The WS is a great machine for someone like me. In researching this I learned we all have our own methods for sharping and to each his own. As long as the end result is the same the journey really doesnt matter, unless its not fun. As for the hollow grind, I may try that sometime as its seems to be a personal decision. I have read posts going both ways on that. As I get more experienced its certainly worth experimenting but for now I am very happy with how my hand tools are working.

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  • Andy_M
    replied
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    Originally posted by wbrooks View Post
    The cheap ones work but trying to recreate an exact bevel is difficult and repeating that exact micro bevel is next to impossible. This tool is fully indexed and makes resharpening a joy. The only better tool is a trained hand and eye but that takes months if not years to refine to the point that this tool brings upon opening the box.
    I agree. The cheapos are useless. If you want one, send me the $6 and I'll send you mine. It's $6 wasted. I bought it many years ago and it's a piece of diecast junk, doesn't even hold the blade straight. It's easier than you think, though, to learn to hone freehand. This might sound odd, but if you hollow grind the blade, you'll be able to feel when the tip and the heel of the bevel are on the stone. It's harder with the really small chisels, but definitely do-able with blades 1/2" and wider. If I was going to try a jig again, I would spend the money on the better one, no question about it. There's nothing more expensive than buying something, no matter how cheap, that doesn't work.

    If you go for a jig, make sure that whichever you get clamps the BACK of the chisel or plane iron to the reference surface of the jig. I have a "beater" set of inexpensive and also a set of very expensive chisels, and on both sets the tops are not parallel to the backs. You want the back surface to be the reference.

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  • Andy_M
    replied
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    For chisels and plane irons, I strongly prefer an 8" bench grinder for shaping and removing nicks, followed by bench stones for honing. The reason is that you can "hollow grind" your bevels, which you can't do with the gizmos that grind on the flat side of the wheel. After you get the bevel slightly concave on the grinder, the honing with stones goes very, very quickly - literally a few strokes - since you're just honing the very tip. I use 1200 and 6000 water stones, which give a mirror. I don't go back to the grinder until I've honed off at least half of the hollow or gotten a large nick.

    If you can find a variable speed grinder, those are the best. The smaller chisels in particular burn blue very easily and that ruins the heat treat of the steel. If you don't have a variable grinder or slow speed grinder, use lots of water and a light touch.

    Lawn mowers and such look like hell after 10 minutes anyway, so they just get draw filed when I change the oil. Most of the time I don't even take them off the machine, just flip it over and hit it with a file.

    Leave a comment:


  • wbrooks
    replied
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    Here is the definitive guide for Stanley planes

    20° is lower than the standard bench plane (45°) but a low angle block plane is usually bedded at 12°. Since the block plane is a bevel up blade and the blade is ground at 25° you have to add the bed angle and the grind angle, in this case you get 45° (same as a bench plane). To use this plane to trim end grain the blade must be extremely sharp, the low angle (12°) is better for end grain

    A block plane is typically used for refining work - taking off small strips to fit drawers, molding etc. It can be used for smoothing small areas. It is also good at chamfers and flush trimming hot glue edge banding.

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  • masww1
    replied
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    The length and width sound about right and I'm not sure about the angle. Is there a general reference for that kind of information? 20° is a fairly low angle, isn't it? What is this set up best suited for?

    BTW I measured the gap on my flattening "stone" to be less than .002" and would assume this is adequate for sharpening purposes. That is, if I choose to use the materials I have on hand. It wouldn't be a major stretch to spring for $20 and get a piece of glass or a scrap of granite. Obviously, the granite is less fragile than the glass, but is it likely to be any flatter than what I've got?

    Leave a comment:


  • wbrooks
    replied
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    A stanley 9 1/4 is a block plane 6" long by 1 5/8" wide. the blade is bedded at 20° and the mouth is fixed. Sound like yours?

    Leave a comment:


  • masww1
    replied
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    The plane is a Stanley, but I don't know how old it is. I picked it up at a garage sale. It's got 9 1/4 on the side. Since I only see references to 9 1/2 I'm not sure what that means. I don't mind a little advertisement from someone who has first hand experience. In that case it's not advertising, it's data. Subjective, maybe, but data I don't have and can use. Thanks.

    Leave a comment:


  • wbrooks
    replied
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    This is a precision tool and worth every penny especially for those just starting out. The cheap ones work but trying to recreate an exact bevel is difficult and repeating that exact micro bevel is next to impossible. This tool is fully indexed and makes resharpening a joy. The only better tool is a trained hand and eye but that takes months if not years to refine to the point that this tool brings upon opening the box. Worth it, I say absolutely but I only buy things once. If that plane is a decent Stanley (1950's or before - newer ones are pretty much junk) or record etc - you can tune it to preform like a new Lie Nielsen or Veritas by flattening the sole and replacing the blade with a new A2 type blade
    With all the links to LV you may get the idea that this is borderline spam, I don't have anything to do with the company other than being a satisfied customer. They sell only top notch stuff, most made in Canada or USA

    Leave a comment:


  • masww1
    replied
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    I did check the glass link. That honing guide seems a little pricey. Rockler's got a cheapy at about $6. Is there that big a difference in performance? I don't yet have a planer or a jointer, so I don't need a wide guide, but the small one is still over $60. My chisels and planes(1) are not of particularly high quality. I know you get what you pay for holds true more often than not, but as a rank novice, is a $60 investment worth it?

    Leave a comment:


  • wbrooks
    replied
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    Glue sandpaper to glass and rub metal on it until sharp - scared yet?

    That is the method in a nut shell, usually people use progressively finer grits and a honing guide like this one

    Actually I use it for my jointer blades with this paper , this guide and the glass plate I linked in the rusty file post

    Leave a comment:


  • masww1
    replied
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    I've seen several references to "scary sharp." Can some one clue me on where to find a description of the process?

    Leave a comment:


  • VASandy
    replied
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    Originally posted by Pez View Post
    I ended up getting the Work Sharp 3000. I havent had a chance to give it a good work out yet but I think I am really going to like it. For those of you that own one what grits do you use to from start to finish? Should I bother with the course or fine abrasive kits? I do plan to get the leather honing pad.
    Pez, some of my hand plane blades and chisels were in really rough shape. They were hand-me-downs from my Dad, and while the tools are very good they were dull and the planer blades were not flat at all on the back. I started all of them on the very course grit to flatten them. The planer blades cutting edge had to be started on the course as well. Now that they're "scary sharp", I find I use mostly the fine to very fine grits to resharpen. I rarely use the course grits any more. I've had to purchase the fine grit kit a couple times now, and need to get a new set soon.

    As Thurman says, this is a method thing and each of us will develop our own way of keeping things sharp. I've used water stones and such, but the WorkSharp really saves me time and results in a much nicer edge for me. The method is not nearly as important as the result. As long as you have a consistent angle and it's really really sharp, you've achieved the goal. Find your method and keep 'em sharp.

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  • Thurman
    replied
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    This seems to be one of those "One method works for me, and another method works for you" scenarios. A few years back I was looking for a way to keep my wood chisels and planer blades sharpened. I looked at the Delta unit and the Worksharp unit and just couldn't decide on either one. I happened to meet an older woodworker gentleman at one of those specialty stores during a trip to the Atlanta area and we got into the conversation about sharpening woodcutting tools and keeping them sharp. He told me that if you were going to put good money in tools to stay away from those "electrified" things and sharpen your tools only by hand. He told me something my Granddad had said years ago also, never let the tools get too dull before sharpening. His method was similar to the "scary-sharp" method. He used a piece of granite, laying wet really fine emery cloth on it, using a sharpening jig and hone until you could see the angle you wanted. Then, go to the water stones, using successive grits to get that super-clean sharp edge. I got a piece of granite from a cabinet shop, the piece they cut out for the sink in a counter-top, then they even cut it smaller for me when they found out what I was going to do with it. I have found that if I take the time to sit down with my fifteen or so chisels and nine plane blades and just keep them sharp they are easier to sharpen vs. letting one get dull, and they are always ready to use. Just my opinion, Thanks, David

    Leave a comment:


  • Pez
    replied
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    I ended up getting the Work Sharp 3000. I havent had a chance to give it a good work out yet but I think I am really going to like it. For those of you that own one what grits do you use to from start to finish? Should I bother with the course or fine abrasive kits? I do plan to get the leather honing pad.

    Leave a comment:

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