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Rocklers Plate Glass Sharpening System

The D&S Scary Sharp system originates from a post on the usenet group rec.woodworking, although the method itself probably predates WWII: with a piece of plate glass and progressively finer grits of sandpaper, you can hone your tool to an edge a professional sharpener would envy — without messy oil or water.  And if you don’t have the materials on hand, Rockler sells a kit with everything you need to get started for just $30.

Rockler’s kit contains four different grits of peel and stick “high quality” sand paper, 25 rubber feet, a honing guide, and a a 12” (square) x 1/4” glass plate.  The course system includes 220, 320, 400, and 600 grit sand paper for cleaning up nicks and correcting angles.  The fine sharpening system includes 800, 1200, 1500, and 2000 grits — best for maintaining the razor like edge on your tools.

The D&S Scary Sharp(TM) System [rec.woodworking]
Plate Glass Sharpening System [Rockler]


10 Responses to Scary Sharp Tools With The Plate Glass Sharpening System

  1. Fantastic find Benjamen.. I’ve been pulling together the stuff I need to do the Scary Sharp system, but this makes it really easy..

  2. KMR says:

    I’ve used just the same method for many years, but not for sharpening items. Often in the shop there are flat washers / shims / etc that I want to true up and provide a fine finish on or to remove say 0.001″ worth of material on one side. I use a piece of plate glass, and also finer grits of wet and dry. I do find that water helps, as it washes the particulate away…

    Very easy to do, great results…. sometimes can be time consuming if you’re using this method the way I do.

  3. I have also used the scary sharp system to lap computer heat sinks. Premium heat sinks, are pretty flat, but the heat sinks boxed with processors are not very smooth or flat. Lapping the heat sink can make a cheap heat sink perform like a mediocre heat sink.

    It is a lot of work, since there is a lot of surface area, but a few degrees of cooling can go a long way.

  4. theminor says:

    The Sandpaper sold by Rockler is listed as going down to 2000 grit, but it is actually P2000, which is much coarser than 2000. I ordered this system and had to return it bacause of this difference. If you really want to sharpen tools to a “scary sharp” edge, 3M sells sandpaper that goes down to 0.3 micron! You can get a really good kit with multiple grits at http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/Merchant/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=toolshop&Category_Code=THS

    The sandpaper comes in PSA and non-PSA backed paper.

    The Guru site on this sharpening system is here:

  5. JamesBrauer66 says:

    Yeah, I remember rec.woodworking – back before all this fancy schmancy forum blog stuff 🙂

    I use this method for my plane irons and straight edge chisels. For curved chisels I really like a hard felt wheel with that gold bar paste for touching up edges.

  6. olderty says:

    What’s up with the guy’s belt buckle in the photo? That looks scary sharp to me.

  7. Tony Clifton says:

    This is the method that many single reed musicians use to true up the backside of their reeds.

  8. Lorn Cramer says:

    Is there a quick way to clean up the plate glass in order to put down new self adhisive sandpaper?

  9. Chris says:

    Lorn: Haven’t tried it, but how about a razor blade scraper and some lighter fluid or rubbing alcohol? Seems like that would be fairly quick.


    • Keith says:

      The easiest way I have found to remove the sandpaper from the plate glass sharpening system is use a heat gun on a low setting and displace the heat over the sandpaper till it feels warm to the touch, then use a scraper to start up an edge and it will peel right off

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