A Better Way to Sharpen

For years, I have been trying to find a better way to sharpen my blades, and for a time I thought I did until I came across another video of the late David Charlesworth. It wasn’t a video on sharpening at all, but he happened to be sharpening at the time, and I was puzzled with his method of sharpening. With a few strokes he got a burr and then a few more strokes on the polishing stone, and he was done. I was beyond irritated by how quickly he was able to sharpen his blades. I left it alone as it was doing my head in and a year later it popped up again, and this time I was determined to find out how he did it.

I noticed in the video I was watching he mentioned something about the default bevel angle off 25°, Stanley grinds their tools too. So I ground my bevel to 25° and the secondary bevel to 30°, and true enough, I solved the mystery. With only a few strokes, I was able to get a razor edge, much to the same level of sharpness as I did after stropping. This was an eye-opener to me.

I’ve always ground my bevels to 30° then applied a secondary bevel of 33°, after which I stropped. However, applying a higher secondary bevel to a 25° primary bevel seems to get it even sharper, and after stropping it’s several levels above a razor.

After saying all that, let me ruin it all by adding this. I only experienced this level of sharpness after I ground the bevel to a hollow grind on my grinder. As I could not grind my LN chisels because they weren’t long enough, I honed a 25° primary bevel and then applied the secondary bevel of 30°. I cannot say if there was a difference in the amount of sharpness between the two. Since purchasing the low speed grinder, I’ve always hollow ground my plane blades to 30°, so I also cannot say that the hollow grind using a higher angle of 30° has anything to do with it as well either. However, what I can say is that the hollow grind at a lower angle of 25° has everything to do with it.

So there you have it. A hollow grind of 25° primary bevel with an added micro secondary bevel of 30° and above will give you a strong and razor edge with only a few strokes on your stones, therefore saving you unnecessary wear. You may end up owning two 1000 grit and one 8000 grit for the rest of your life with this method. That’s a huge saving.

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