Scary Sharp

i recently saw this technique for sharpening hand planes/tools. i’ve been spending more time shaping wood than foam lately and this is THE way to get a really sharp blade. it’s a bit of a read but basically it involves a FLAT piece of glass or stone tile and progressively finer grits of sandpaper(all the way to 4000 grit or so), used with a guide to achieve an edge that’s truly Scary Sharp™. enjoy

Bruce, Sharp is a good thing, but I found out that the process to get something sharp can be a bit over-engineered. Case in point: I took a woodworking class a the local community college. They spent around 8 hours turoring the students on how to reverently sharpen chisels and planer irons, using a slow water fed wheel and lots of elbow grease. The finished product was extremely sharp, but I was reluctant to use the dang tool after spending that much time getting the edge! Then I went to work for a sculptor/woodcarver and he kind of blew all of that out of the water . He said, “When I’m carving, I don’t have time to stop and go through that whole process each time. Here’s how I do it”. He went over to his 6" bench grinder and hollow-ground the chisel. Then he rubbed red jeweler’s rouge on the cloth wheel and polished up the beveled edge. The very edge of the chisel came out shining like a mirror and you could shave your arm with it. The whole process took about 30 seconds. When we, as shapers, cut stringers, we’re also cutting resin. Plane irons dull quickly. The grinder method works for me. BUT you have to start with a planer iron that has a perfectly flat back. That takes time using some good stones or a diamond whetstone. Many words here, but this can save a lot of effort and time. “When did the choices get so hard? There’s so much more at stake. Time gets mighty precious, when there’s less of it to waste” Bonnie Rait. Rambling a bit, but hoping to save someone some time. Doug

Yes! The ScarySharp system kicks ass, and it’s pretty idiot proof. It’s also cheap, clean, and doesn’t take up much space compared to sharpening stations or a bunch of stones. It’s great when the most expensive piece of your entire sharpening system may just be the can of spray mount to stick the sandpaper to the glass. For chisels and plane irons, you can do pretty good by hand, but with something like the honing jig from Veritas, it makes it a lot easier to tool the microbevel. You can honestly split hairs with a well sharpened blade using this approach. Even dark woods peel off long continuous shavings you could read newsprint through-- endgrain with a cheap low-angle block plane almost as well. I haven’t used ScarySharp to sharpen my planer blades, even though I jigged up a dull set into my guide block the other day. However, shortly after that I was reading some other thread here at Swaylocks where someone talked about the planer cutting foam (at least PU foam) better with only moderately sharp blades. Is that a pretty commonly held opinion? I was thinking the ultrasharp blades would work nice on the strange skin/texture of EPS at least. Give it a try. -church

I have both systems.The glass thing first came up in Fine Woodworking many years ago but…the bench grinder with a fine “refriable” stone and a felt wheel and rouge rendered it obsolete.Hollow ground edges technically will dull faster but it takes about 4 seconds to get em razor sharp with the felt wheel.This applies to hand tools.When it comes to electric planer blades its best to have a flat ground edge, and they don’t have to be razor sharp.A rotating planer head is basically chopping material whilst a block plane is slicing.You can easily sharpen electric planer blades with a dremel tool and a small stone without taking them out.That used to work for around 100 boards before having to remove them and correctly sharpen and reset them.I let the saw shop do the sharpening (12 dollars for a perfect job).Thats just my opinion.If you go to a woodworking forum similiar to Swaylocks you will find that the sharpening discussions are quite controversial…hinging on violence.

i haven’t done it yet, but clark foam’s free blade sharpening seems like a hell of a deal. send 'em your dull ones and they send you a sharpened set for free?

Has anyone used the Scary sharp on a fillet knife, or does it work best on blades of short lenght. As far as sharpening planer blades, what angle? I figure about 30-45 dergrees for a tougher, wear resistant edge. Does anyone put their planer blades to a steel after the stone? Does the scary sharp invole sandpaper on the edge or the flat of a piece of glass? Thanks

Belt sander and an oil stone. Quick, easy, and sharp enough to send you to the hospital.