My Current setup consists of:
-DMT Duosharp system (8") with extra coarse/coarse and fine/extra fine grit (200 - 1200 grit) stones
-Woodcraft 12" Granite Plate with Pinnacle Diamond Films in 15, 5, and .3 micron (1200, 5000, 16000 grit)
-Veritas MkII Honing Jig
-Oneway Wolverine Grinding jig with a Ryobi 8" Bench Grinder
Of course there are many ways to skin a cat, and some would argue there was nothing wrong with what I was doing. What I have to go on in my limited expereience is the results I achieved with my old methods, and the results I experienced using Rob's method. In the class we used the following:
- Trend 300/1000 grit diamond stone
- Shapton 16,000 grit ceramic stone
- HoneRite Gold Water Additive
- Wolverine Grinding Jig (At least I got that right!)
- Delta 8" Slow Speed Grinder with COARSE stone
I've assembled an Amazon Store here in case you're looking to buy any of this stuff. A couple of quick notes on why these things make a difference:
Trend Diamond Stone
Why would I switch to the Trend stone when I have the bases covered with my DMT's? One word: FLATNESS. It doens't matter what type and size of grit you use if your stone isn't flat. I can't even find published values on the flatness of the DMT's, while the Trend is guaranteed to be within +/- 0.0005!!! The 300 side can be used to flatten the Shapton 16,000 stone. Don't get me wrong, the DMT's work well for general shapening and I will continue to use them on my pocket knives and turning tools, but there's no way they can achieve the flatness on their plastic substrate compared to the metallic on the Trend. Oh, by the way, the Trend has a 5 year guarantee on it.
HoneRite Gold Water Additive
One thing I noticed with the DMT's is they will rust if you dont keep them completely dry. HoneRite, in addition to being a lubricant, renders water non-corrosive. One bottle of HoneRite is good for a couple gallons of water. Just add a few drops in a spray bottle and your'e good to go.
Shapton Ceramic Stones
I believe these are universally recognized as probably the best honing stones in the world. At $130 the 16,000 isn't ridiculously priced and will probably last the average woodworker 10+ years. Be careful, the one we used in the glass got knicked in a few places from inexperienced people trying to sharpening. It might be safest to use the granite plate and .3 micron diamond films. Probably won't be as good as the Shapton, but I plan on getting by with it for the short term. I'll cover how we jump from 1,000 to 16,000 in a minute.
Wolverine/Slow Speed Grinder
At least I have this base covered. I could not get by on the turning side of the hobby without this setup. I don't have a slow speed grinder, but I've kludged a setup together using one of those inline speed control boxes from Harbor Freight. I was thinking about replacing the stones on the grinder with fine ones, and this was something that Rob was against. The finer stones are going to heat the metal that much faster and you'll risk losing the temper on the metal. He also brought attention to the fact that the large substantial grinding platform of the Wolverine acts like a heatsink, especially with larger pieces like plane irons.
Check back in a few hours for Part II where I'll go into the actual honing techniques to get razor sharp edges.