Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lapping Iron

I've tried most sharpening "systems" at one time or another and still have most of 'em stored someplace in the shop.  All will get you to what I call "working sharp", some make a bigger mess, some cost more, some less, some are more hassle than others. I love the feel of good steel on a hard black or translucent Arkansas oil stone, diamond stones not so much, but my system of today is diamond stones.

The biggest problem with diamond stones is getting a final polish, like Arkansas oil stones the iron comes off the final stone sharp but not polished and requires either stropping or lapping to finish. For years I've used a hard leather strop charged with Herb's Yellowstone to finish the edge and backs of plane irons and chisels.

I'm beginning to change my mind on the value of the stropping step, while the iron still needs a polishing step I can't escape the feeling that stropping on leather no matter how careful you strop is more likely to dub the edge than not.

Currently I'm trying lapping on MDF charged with diamond paste, the first results are encouraging. I also have a Mike Stein style MDF lapping plate cooking* but it is still almost a month before it will be
usable. More to follow.

*Soak MDF in Danish oil for 24 hours then let it dry for a month before sanding flat and smooth.

1 comment:

  1. .

    Interesting Indeed.

    My approach after going down the grades on a diamond plate is carver's rouge on a leather strop, then on to a piece of birch ply, about 9" square. The left half is covered in the same carver's rouge, the other half is Autosol. both are bedded on a very light spray of Camellia oil.

    Many times I will omit the strop stage and go straight to the wood.

    It lasts for years, then I turn it over and use it for some more years.... finally it goes on the fire.
    The advantage of wood is that it avoids the 'rounding over' effect of soft leather.

    You'll have to show the results on your blog.........

    All best from Wales