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After my first inspection of the Narex-Richter and Stanley 750 chisels, I was ready for the sharpening process. Before sharpening a new blade, I like to check the flatness of the back with a precision square or a straight edge of the knife. This gives me an indication of whether the back is convex or concave and who will work hard to flatten it. If the blade needs a lot of work, start with the back, then mount it in a sanding mask for the remaining conical sharpening procedure. In the case of the Richter, my test concluded that the back is quite flat and will only need slight lapping, so I decided to mount it in the mask and start the initial phase.
To accurately mount the chisel in the desired angle for the edge retention test (27 degrees), I use my mask to search for the angle. Read how to build one to work in curtains with your Eclips style sanding mask Here.
I started to lay my back on a 600 grit diamond stone, then on a 1200 stone and finally on a 5000 grit Japanese water stone.
Then I turn the blade and I start sharpening the bevel. The bevel angle produced by the factory is 25 degrees, so I actually created a micro bevel (also known as a secondary bevel) of 27 degrees. I repeated the process on stones 1200 and 5000 (including occasional removal of the developed burr) and gave the blade a try on a piece of paper.
The paper test should be final. You want the blade to cut continuously diagonally to the long edge of a standard-weight printer paper. Having said that, testing a regular cutting motion on a sheet of paper has many variations and is by no means a perfectly controlled scientific process. First, not all sheets of paper are the same, so the moisture content of the paper can vary and affect the test. And what’s more, we have the randomness of the corner in which we “attach” the paper, the way we hold the paper, and perhaps finally – the sheet has folds or creases. But with all its delicacy this is still one of the best methods we have in our DIY arsenal. Since the test did not produce a perfect slicing, I resorted to another interval on the 5000 stone. I then finished the work on a strop, turning the blade upside down and smoothing on a piece of leather that was loaded with a smoothing compound .
After this, I tested the blade again and was satisfied with the results. I repeated the same procedure on Stanley’s chisel. Now everything was ready for the edge conservation competition between the two chisels.
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