Get Sharp the Diamond Way
How to sharpen chisels and planes using diamond plates
Synopsis: Woodworkers love to argue about the best sharpening method for their tools, and Brian Boggs has listened to most of the arguments, trying and losing patience with many of the methods out there. But more and more, he gravitates toward diamond sharpening these days. Diamond cuts fast and requires virtually no maintenance. It seems to sharpen every type of steel well, and is available in paste form in a wide array of grits, allowing Boggs to turn any piece of steel, aluminum, brass, or wood into a sharpening or honing tool. Read on for this veteran woodworker’s tips on how best to combine diamond stones, lapping plate, and diamond paste to get your tools super sharp and keep them that way.
I ’ve been listening to the debate over the virtues of different sharpening systems since my first days in the shop 31 years ago. The array of opinions broadens with each new stone technology, and I’ve tried most of them. I still like to explore which system is best for a given job and to retest them over time to see if my conclusions hold true as my techniques and skills evolve. I’m sure I won’t end the sharpening debate here. But having multiple options at my disposal, I’ve watched most of them gather dust as I gravitate to diamond sharpening time after time. There are three main reasons for this.
Speed. Diamond cuts fast and requires virtually no maintenance. My current diamond plate has kept its flatness for five years and still cuts quickly.
Versatility. Diamond seems to sharpen every type of steel well, whereas softer abrasives like ceramic or waterstones don’t perform as well on some of the alloys I sharpen, like A-2 steel, or on carbide.
Finally, diamond abrasive is…