Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Scary Sharp to Go


If you're a regular reader of this blog you probably know that I am a huge fan of the Scary Sharp system or method of sharpening. (Here's a link to my original post on Scary Sharp, and I've added a label if you want to read more about my experiences with it.) Last year, when I was getting ready for my classes with Roy, I decided I wanted to take Scary Sharp with me, so I created a smaller, portable version that could travel.

First, I needed a flat surface to bond the sandpaper to - and it had to be small. After poking around my local Borg, I found these small marble tiles that were just the right size and seemed pretty flat (and actually, if you can't find ones that are flat enough, you could lap them, although I don't really think you need to do that). The tiles are approximately 3"x6" and about 3/8" thick.

I sprayed nasty adhesive (I still want to create my own non-toxic version of this) on one face of the tile and on the back of the abrasive sheet. After it tacked up, I placed the sticky face of the tile on the sticky back of the paper and then trimmed the sheet flush to the edges of the tile. I decided I wanted six grits, so six tiles in my kit.

Here it is with my marking knife for scale:


From left to right: 100, 180, 320, 600, 1000, and 2000 grit. I was basically trying to double the grit on each consecutive tile, which I find works well. But of course you could have less grits if you wanted to spend more time on each one, but I find it too tedious. Plus, with more grits, each one lasts longer.

Here's a shot of the kit rolled up in its canvas cloth:



The tiles are on edge in this shot, which is why the proportions look different. Also, what you can't see, is that I cut spacers from file folder stock to put between each tile to keep the abrasive clean and protect it from its neighboring tile.
 
I'm not really done messing with this kit yet (it's only been a year). I have an extra tile that I might experiment with - I am thinking of bonding some leather to it to use as a strop with the Lee Valley green compound. If that works, I'll post about it. Eventually.



13 comments:

  1. Nice, I'm sure it travels a little safer than expensive stones as well!

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    1. Badger - True! Of course, since my expensive stones just sit in their boxes on a shelf, they are extra safe in my shop as well! I really should sell those... Thanks for commenting.

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  2. You might check Jeff Peachey's bookbinding blog and see what he does with aluminium plates - lighter and less likely to break.
    dig around at http://jeffpeachey.wordpress.com/

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    1. RFrancis - Thanks for the link and the idea - looks like an interesting site.

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  3. Dan,
    Thanks for the blog! It's a pleasure to read.

    I've tried the scary sharp technique a few times and have been pleased with the results, however I keep running into a problem. The adhesive does not spray on evenly to the paper and there are "globs" that land on the back. I can't seem to prevent this no matter how carefully I spray. When I sharpen the chisel the paper immediately tears where these "globs" are. I'm using 3M sandpaper from Autozone and Loctite adhesive. Do you ever have this problem or know a solution?

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    1. Anon - You're welcome, and thanks! I've never used Loctite, so I don't know if that is an issue. I use 3M 77 (nasty stuff, but works great)and Sulky KK 2000 (very much nicer, non-toxic in fact) but not the best adhesive, although it does a fair job. One thing I forgot to mention, which might really help you, is that I roll the paper with a hard rubber roller (as for linoleum block printing) after adhering it to the tiles, glass etc. This may be helping to flatten out any uneven blobs. I'm not sure... Good luck, and let me know if you solve the problem. Thanks for commenting.

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  4. That’s a great creation Dan. You might want to look at issue 126 of ShopNotes on page 4. Issue 127 is the current issue but 126 might still be on the magazine stands. While it’s not as compact as your Scary Sharp To Go package, it might have an idea or two for you. The fellow designed and made it for his cramped shop space, but it’s still very portable. Please let us know what you think of it.

    Thanks, Dean

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    1. Dean - I'll see if I can find it. Thanks for letting me know about it.

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  5. I love my strop, give it a try.
    Ian W

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    1. Ian - I have a strop in the shop, which I use regularly, but for some reason never thought about adding one to this kit. Funny.

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  6. That would be an awesome Christmas present. As simple as it is to make, it would be even simpler if someone did it for me!

    How long does the paper last for you when you use that many grits? I don't have that many, and I seem to go through paper awful fast.



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    1. Joe - Did you ask Santa? "Ho Ho Ho - You'll cut your finger off kid."

      How long does it last? Well, a lot longer than it used to. It took me a long time to trust how fast it works. Unless the edge is extremely dull, or you are reworking a full bevel, it only takes a few strokes each on the upper grits. I was definitely over sharpening until I figured out the right balance - it might be worth experimenting a bit to see just how few strokes it takes, and which grit to start with based on the edge you are starting with. Oh, and the "Wet/Dry" paper also makes a big difference - used dry of course...

      I realize that doesn't exactly answer your question. In general, I'd say I change the paper about once a year (that's on the full setup in the shop with even more grits (okay, a lot more grits...) and my time in the shop is limited now that I have kids.

      I hope that helps - Dan

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    2. Heh, no, Santa didn't bring it after all.

      Wow, I think I may have to re-evaluate my sharpening and see if I'm going overboard.

      I have 3 small ones so I don't get out there too much at all, especially in the winter. But when I have time and am more active I go through more that that.

      Thanks for the help!

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