For this month’s Wood News Online we received the following Ask the Staff question from D. Grover:
I recently acquired a Pfeil bowl adze, which needs sharpening. I am at a loss in figuring out how to accomplish this and what type of honing stones, etc. to use. With the size, inside bevel and the angle of the adze head vis-a-vis the handle, I can’t quite figure out the best way to do this. I’ve not seen slip stones large enough. How should I go about sharpening?
Read our answer in the comments below and feel free to leave your own answer in the comments section!
These gouge slip stones are fairly large at 2″ across at the widest end: http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/waterstonegougeslipset.aspx.
If the length of the slipstone gouge becomes and issue and you can’t get the correct width part of the stone to the inside bevel edge on the tool because the adze handle gets in the way, you may have to consider shortening the slip’s length. They would then be custom slipstones for your adze.
If the inside contour of the gouge slipstones is not large enough to do the outside of the tool (lay flat to hone), you could consider altering the gouge slip by grinding on the edges to have that side of the slip then lay flat on the outside of the adze head.
I find that clamping the head to immobilize it in a comfortable position in a vise or clamped to your bench, so you can bring the slip to the adze head for honing, works best. Trying to hold the tool in one hand and the stone in another I find cumbersome.
I take the adz to the local hardware store and find a piece of schedule 40 PVC that matches the curve of the adz. If it’s not perfect you can heat it a bit and make it fit. I then use a base PVC and mount it horizontal (so it would poke you in the chest). Then I use Self Adhesive Sandpaper and go through the grits, Once it’s sharp I leave a 2000 grit on the PVC to touch up the edge. It’s quick and easy to make. The lengh of the PVC only needs to be long enough to sharpen the bevel and give you enough room to get around the handle. 5″ to 6″ max.