I visited Itsik's shop for two reasons: to see his creations and help him sharpen some old chisels he bought on the Israeli Craigslist-like website. Itsik does not own any diamond stones Japanese stones or India stones. The little sharpening he used to do was done using sand paper. Consequently, non of his chisels were honed nor did they had flat backs. Yet he manages to build beautiful toys that are creative and inspiring. The toys have great details and are nicely finished. At some point Itsik decided that he would like to learn how to sharpen tools in a professional way, so he asked me to to tutor him and show him some of the techniques I discussed in my Hebrew blog.
The challenges associated with improvising are always exiting. And in this case I had to come up with a plan to teach, build jigs, sharpen and hone tools which were in really bad conditions. Itsik puled a bitten up rusty chisel form the pile of tools he bought, this tool was our guinea pig. We started by finding a flat piece of glass and mounted on it with wet-dry sand paper – to flatten the chisel's back.
After this we turned to make and attache a wooden tool-support to the grinder's fixed support (Itsik has a high speed grinder, 3400 rpm) we aimed for a 25 degrees hollow grind. The grinding wheels where in o.k. condition, so we did not have to true or dress them.
After hollow grinding we used the glass and paper technique to flatten an old oil stone he got with the tools he that purchased.
When we finished flattening the stone to reasonable but not great condition, we used it to hone the edge. Then we put some polishing compound on a piece of leather Itsik has, and did the final honing. The chisel where put the test immediately and manged to sheer pine end grain with very little effort.
And to conclude this talk on sharpening and cutting edges, here is a song by Aerosmith called "Livin' on the Edge"