Yesterday I mentioned I had a nick in the blade of my #5-1/2 and that is the first thing I took care of today. Let me talk a little about the sharpening method I use, the scary sharp or sand paper method. Now I know some people aren’t big fans of this method but almost a year ago when I got started with hand tool woodworking, it was the cheapest and quickest entry to sharpening for me.
Early on I did use a water stone and I was very impressed. However, at that time I was needing to do a lot of grinding on the chisels and planes I had and 80 grit sand paper was cheaper than a diamond plate or a grinder. All 3 of the sharpening methods work. I picked sand paper to start and I’m going to stay with it a couple of years and then try something else perhaps. AA Abrasives in Philadelphia PA is an excellent source for sand paper. I bought packages of 50 sheets of 9×11 silicon carbide for less than $21. And they have grits ranging from 60 – 2000. I have 5 or 6 different grits and I use half a sheet at a time on a piece of granite I scored from a head stone company. It was an old display model. A sheet of glass will also work. I use to use a small hand held vacuum to suck up the swarf but the silicon carbide paper can be used wet or dry! So know I keep a spray bottle and a paper towel handy. I know I know, I might as well use a water stone right?
I forgot to take a pic of the nick but it wasn’t very big. I stuck the blade as straight as I could to the grinding wheel of my Handy Dandy no 3 hand grinder and ground the leading edge back all the way across the blade until the nick was gone.
From the photo it looks as though there is a little more grinding to do but there’s not. It’s a knife edge at this point. I then honed and polished the blade up through 2000 grit paper and finished on a strop.
This blade is WICKED sharp too. I then moved my attention to the 2 boards for the lid. The gap in the joint required a little attention, which my newly sharpened blade easily handled. The larger of the 2 boards had been cupped fairly bad and was still a little out of square, so I fixed that. A section of the board on the leeward side of a knot did not get evenly planed and it seemed to be causing most of my problems at this point.
Finally I was able to apply some glue and clamp the boards.
In the class I took from Chris Schwarz at Wortheffort School, he demonstrated this step using one clamp and a spring joint. And that’s what I tried to do. However, I fell a little short. I needed all of the clamps you see in the picture to ensure a good glue joint and a flat board. Chris said we could unclamp after half an hour, but I’m going to leave mine together over night.
Tomorrow, I’m going to start on a rabbet for the lid very similar to the one on my lower front. Not sure if I’ll get it done tomorrow night, might need 2 nights. And then, hinges! Stay tuned, more to come.