Addicted to ArboristSite
- Aug 18, 2006
- Far East Virginia
Most of the sharpening jigs I've seen for sale are insanely overpriced, IMHO. The same goes for the Tormec system, considering that Grizzly makes a rig that's 80% as good for about 1/3 of the price. The only thing I can figure is that the Festool fanbois buying a lot of this stuff have more money than sense.That is an absurd price.
Aside from what you use to cut the steel (diamond plates or waterstones or sandpaper on glass, etc.), there really isn't that much TO sharpening. Mainly it's about holding a consistent angle at the proper bevel angle, and then being able to steepen the bevel for a microbevel. Anybody who understands the fundamentals and owns a welder (or is fairly handy with woodworking) can slap together the jigs needed in short order.
There are a few jigs that are cheap enough that it's worthwhile buying as opposed to making them. For example, for plane irons and chisels, I use something like this $10 to $15 jobbie, along with a Starrett protractor to set the bevel and secondary bevel angles, and Norton waterstones (I use a two-sided waterstone with 1000/4000 grits since I would rather spend my time cutting wood than steel):
I really like the Norton waterstones a lot. They cut faster than almost anything I've used once you have a "slurry" of abrasives on the stone. The only thing I don't like is the job of periodically flattening them with the diamond stone, which is a tedious, time-consuming process.
For the initial bevel grind on knives (I also do blacksmithing), I use a homemade jig that I saw online made from an angle grinder and a length of threaded drill rod, similar to this guy's setup:
And for grinding HSS lathe gouges, etc., I use a knockoff of the Wolverine system like this with a slow (1750 rpm) bench grinder (my jig is steel, since I have a welder, but wood also works, as this kid shows):
For the woodworkers out there, Paul Sellers has some good sharpening videos on YouTube. It ain't rocket surgery. I think some woodworkers try to make more out of it than there is to it, as if it was some black art practiced only by Tibetan monks.