5 Micron Abrasive

I moved to the 5 micron abrasive. I put baby oil on the abrasive and put the 1.5mm slip under the honing jig. The slip raises the jig slightly so I am honing at a higher angle. This guarantees that I’m honing at the edge and saves abrasive.

I honed for a few strokes and then checked that the new shiny line goes all the way across. Because this blade had a little camber, I had to put a little extra pressure one each corner to get the line to go all the way across the width of the blade.

Next I start on the back of the blade. I simply turned the jig over with the slip under the jig and hone for a few strokes. This creates a small back bevel on the blade.

Remember that I had never sharpened this blade before. It looked like the back of the blade had been flattened by the previous owner, but I was in for a little surprise when I honed the back:

The shiny line at the edge shows that the back of the blade is not actually flat. See the two humps with the hollow in the middle?

Rather than waste time at the 5 micron abrasive to fix this, I went back to the 15 micron abrasive and honed the back without a slip. After that, the back looked like this:

I honed just enough to make the scratches go all the way across the edge. There must be a low spot in the middle of the iron. I then took the blade back to the 5 micron abrasive with the 1.5mm slip and honed a few strokes to make the shiny line go all the way across the edge:

When honing the backs like this, I focus much more on pulling the jig than pushing. If I push when honing the back, the abrasive easily tears, especially if it has a small bubble.

You may be surprised that this is the first time I have worked on the back. Most other sharpening instructions start with a laborious flattening of the back. If you use a small back bevel, then flattening the back is not necessary. Furthermore, the back bevel eases resharpening later.

The blade is now ready for the final honing.

Daddy,  Can We Play in the Workshop?

If hand tool woodworking is your passion, you may enjoy my children's book, Daddy, Can We Play in the Workshop?