Sharp and Sharper
Nine honing systems are put to the test
Synopsis: This article compares the attributes of nine common honing systems to determine which method produces the sharpest results: diamond stones, Arkansas stones, wet-or-dry sandpaper, ceramic stones, waterstones, microhoning compound on a leather strop, the Tormek system, and diamond paste on various substrates. After honing a plane blade with each system, author Aimé Ontario Fraser examined the blades for sharpness, performance, and ease of sharpening. The article includes microscopic images of each blade, as well as the author’s recommended honing system.
Learning to be a better woodworker means learning to be a better sharpener. That’s a simplification, of course, but sharpening is so fundamental to fine woodworking that the two are bound together like a double-wedged through-mortise and tenon glued with epoxy. And just as woodworkers have strong opinions on how to cut, wedge and glue that joint, they have strong opinions about sharpening. Ask six woodworkers about the…