Sharp Enough, From Now On

I use diamond plates for hand-sharpening (with window cleaner as lubricant).  Specifically, I use DMT Dia-Sharp continuous diamond plates and I currently own four: coarse (320 grit), fine (600 grit), extra fine (1200 grit) and extra extra fine (8000 grit).  I am truly happy with only the coarse and fine.

I don’t know if it’s the wheel on my sharpening guide or bad manufacturing luck, but both the extra fine and extra extra fine plates have developed a stripe down the center where the grit has worn almost completely off.  This happened almost immediately with the extra extra fine and took about a month of heavy use with the extra fine.  I try to change up which parts of the plate I use, but for thick plane irons, I have no choice but to run right down the center and the difference in grit leaves a dull hump in the center of the irons.

DMT, if you are listening, I am not particularly happy with these two diamond plates.

DMT: if you are listening, I am not particularly happy with these two diamond plates.

So I am trying something new.  Rather than purchase replacements (new territory for me, I know), I have decided that from now on, my plane irons are only getting sharpened to 600 grit (i.e., on the fine plate).  After re-watching Paul Sellers’ Sharpening to 250 Grit video a couple times over the last few days, I think it will be okay (I sharpen pretty often as is).  I’ll still do my chisels and router plane irons to 1200 grit on the extra fine plate (since I can run them up and down the remaining grit on the sides).

I don’t really even use the 8000 grit plate anymore.  Given how proactive I am with re-sharpening, I haven’t found the extra effort makes much of a difference on edge retention.  And I think I remember hearing somewhere that the edge dulls to a lower grit pretty quickly anyway, so what’s the point?

We’ll see how it goes.  If nothing else, it will cut the weight of my tool chest by a diamond plate’s worth of ounces.



  1. I’ve also reached the point of confusion of not being able to convincingly answer whether there’s much point in going above 4k on my waterstones. I think one approach is to sharpen higher if you feel you can’t achieve the level of precision/fineness with your current sharpening limit. Necessity and frustration should really be the level that drives how fine we should sharpen.

    Fyi – enjoy the blog, I too am an apartment woodworker, using the kitchen table for my workbench 🙂


    1. Thanks! Glad to have you as part of the community.

      I agree. So much of woodworking is the right tool for the job. I think in almost all cases, hypersharpening is unnecessary. 1200 was my limit before my stone failed anyway, so we’ll see if it ever matters.


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