When you first get into woodworking, you realize really quickly you need to learn how to sharpen your tools. Dull blades just won't cut it. Sharpening is a skill that has to be learned just like anything else but it also comes with a cost, possibly a big cost. In this article I want to go over a cheaper option for sharpening that yields great results. I really shouldn't say cheaper, but lower initial cost because since this is a disposable system, in the long run may become more expensive depending on how much you need to sharpen. I would not recommend this system if you need to sharpen on a regular bases, I probably sharpen my two plane irons and 6 chisels once a month maybe even two so I think this will be a good setup for me.
What to buy:
options, options, options. There are so many choices of sandpaper out there, its really hard to decide what to buy. I'll share with you want I decide on but I’m sure there are other great options out there. First I went to Canadian tire to see what I could find local. They actually didn’t have to much to pick from for metal so I grabbed what they had which was 3M wet/dry sandpaper 800, 600 and 400 grit (aluminum oxide) which was 5 bucks for 5 sheets. Next I went to the internet to find some higher grits for the final polish. Lee valley tools was having there usually free shipping week so I went there and order some 3M™ Aluminum Oxide Films which is specifically made for Sharpening. This Stuff is a lot more money but I think it may be worth it because it should last longer and it also has an adhesive back for easy mounting to a piece of glass. I chose the 9, 3, and 1 micron which is equivalent to 1200, 4000, and 8000 grit. This stuff is about 3-4 bucks a sheet.