In Shop Blog, Techniques, Tools

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Editor Christopher Schwarz is out of town , so we’ve commandeered his blog for a few days. Don’t worry , the socks on squirrels and monkey references will soon return.

When The Schwarz first handed me the M.Power PSS1, I was intrigued because sharpening has always been my woodworking Achilles’ heel , if you’re looking to round the end of a chisel, just hand it to me. I can do it. Having a device that locked everything in place to sharpen and touch-up my chisels and plane blades could be a godsend. If you’re a hand-sharpening guru, I doubt this is the setup you’ll be interested in using. But if you struggle with sharp, read on.

I read the instructions so I was comfortable with the process , but I must say it’s rather intuitive. This sharpening system includes an aluminum base and carriage and a couple small DMT diamond stones, one black preparation stone and a white stone for finishing. Three additional stones are available as optional accessories. And you have two angles (25Ã?º and 30Ã?º) for sharpening, so you micro-bevel enthusiasts can still play the game.

Setup and operation is a breeze. Clip the stone into the carriage by way of a small magnet, slide the carriage onto the base making sure both dovetails engage, and you’re ready to sharpen.

Fit your blade flat on the base and hold it tight to one of the two 90Ã?° sides. Next, nuzzle the tool against the stone then simply slide the carriage back and forth to sharpen the blade. But this is where things fell apart for me. As I began to slide the carriage, I found it difficult to hold the tool against the side while keeping enough pressure against the stone to actually sharpen the chisel. This has to be done as the carriage slides back and forth , and while not sliding the base to and fro. That’s a difficult if not impossible task unless you back the base up to a stop of some kind.

Too much feeding pressure on your tool causes it to creep toward the stone. That, in turn, causes the end of the stone to catch the edge of the tool and the base hops across your bench. So don’t be aggressive and take your time.

Additionally, sliding the carriage and stone along the edge of a chisel or plane blade uses the stone in only one spot. You can flip the stone in the carriage, but that gains you a second spot with the balance of the stone available to flatten the backs of your chisels.

With patience, this system does sharpen chisels, plane blades and other tools from 1/8″ to 2-1/2″ in width. If you’re a total sharpening novice, this would provide a locked-in and repeatable setup to put a sharp edge on your blade. But for my $85, I would choose an alternative sharpening system.

– Glen D. Huey, senior editor

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Showing 3 comments
  • Ron Boe

    What bugs me about this system is that the scratches are parallel to the edge so just what the heck is going on at the edge if you could zoom in? Seems to me there would be lines that the metal could crack at and break off strips of the edge.

    This method would also prevent a really good sharp edge.

    Other than that, it looks pretty darn slick.

  • Harlan Barnhart

    I have had one of these for several years. It has found a home in my "take on the jobsite" toolbox to do quick touch ups on site. I haven’t been able to produce edges like waters stones with it.

  • JC

    despite teh word "power" in the name, I’m assuming this is still hand sharpening. I really like the diamond stones to get rid of machine marks on my inexpensive new tools, but are diamond stones a good way to get a fine edge? I’ve never heard of a sharpening expert recommend them for that. they seem to prefer water or oil stones. it is intriguing though.

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