Friday, February 03, 2006

Not the daily grind

Okay, don't throw stuff; not at me anyway... No chair progress to report 'cos I was reminded that I was supposed to have given my wholely unqualified opinion on something and I hadn't done it yet. So I started to do that instead - ain't guilt a wunnerful motivator?

As I was doing that, and the hollow grind I was doing went exceptionaly smoothly, I thought I'd share a couple of pics in case it might be helpful to someone out there. The first is the grip I've taken to using for grinding. It's perverse of me, but ever since RL came up trumps a couple of weeks ago with a replacement alignment pin for the one that I lost from the blade holder/clamp, I've not used the blade holder/clamp again. I'm sure I will, when the next chisel needs a regrind probably, but for plane blades freehand has become my preferred method. Bear in mind that I can only use one hand, the other being occupied with the cranking, so it's only come about after lots of practice. The most useful thing is my forefinger can tell me if things are getting warm long before any damage can be done. If I start jumping up and down, sucking said digit and going "ow, that burns" I know I should stop... Notice the tidy work area in the background.

The wheel is a coarse one and the grind stops just short of the edge to further help in avoiding burning. You can probably see the old honed bevel in the pic. The whole white/pink/ruby wheel thing is best left for turning tools, IMO (I do have a ruby wheel for the powered grinder by the lathe). The coarser the wheel the quicker the grind and the less heat you generate; the finish is unimportant because the stones provide the edge, the grinder just needs to remove metal quickly. Probably why I just don't see the point of the Tormek for planes and chisels. But I do like a hollow grind, especially on a thick blade like this, because it makes honing so easy. Rest the toe and heel of the bevel on the stone, rock forward slightly, 6 or 7 passes across a fine oilstone and you have an edge (no, it's not A2 - that takes a few more passes...) In fact it was so quick I started to worry that the blade was soft and the edge wouldn't stay long , but I needn't have worried. Of course it doesn't always go as smoothly as that, and sometimes I wonder how I could ever think I knew how to grind and hone, but when it does all click like this you just want preserve the moment in a little box and take it out to look at it when things don't go so well.

Or is that just me...?

The decision to be good and do what I was supposed to came before the postman arrived this morning, and it became a difficult promise to keep when I opened a parcel to find, entirely unexpectedly, a proper travisher, all ready to go. Indirectly I have JB to thank for it, so thank you JB, but more importantly, CS. It will be put to good use and documented within these very pages, whether you can stand it or not... I did sneak in a little play with it and managed to make shavings - which is encouraging. The curve is greater than my Frankenstein attempt, so I think they'll compliment each other nicely. But I'm starting to wonder if my dubious thumb joints are going to be up to the strain. Heigh ho; no pain, no gain.

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