Tag Archives: sharpening

Keep it Clean: Preserving the Life of 3M Finishing Film

One of the most common mistakes in sharpening is to allow your stone or film to glaze over. This significantly increases sharpening time, since the knife is not abraded by the grit, but is burnished against embedded steel. Not using enough lubricant is a common reason for this, as is not regularly cleaning your substrate. Depending on the size of the grit, either a microfiber rag or a white vinyl eraser works best.

My sharpening setup, above, consists of a bright swing arm lamp mounted directly above a cork faced workbench (PSA cork shelf liner), a microfiber rag, a large squeeze bottle of water, and the Peachey Sharpening System. I find it more comfortable to sharpen at a lower height, around 34 inches, than my regular bookbinding workbench. Many hundreds of knives have been sharpened here!

The microfiber rag is perfect for cleaning larger grit 3M micro-finishing film, from 80 to around 15 microns. This rag was white when I purchased it, a testament to how well it picks up and retains small metal particles. I also use it to clean off the knife between grits in order to examine the scratch patterns.

For 5 micron and smaller grits, a white vinyl eraser works wonders.  Pictured above is the neon lime green  1 micron film, which glazes quite easily. Using the eraser on coarser grits eats it up too quickly.

Of course, over time, the abrasive will wear to the point nothing much happens, and you will need to replace it. I can usually sharpen ten knives or so on one piece of 2 x 11 inch film.

By using plenty of water as a lubricant, and cleaning the film after each use, the effective working life of finishing film will be prolonged.

Upcoming Workshops in the Netherlands, 25 May — 4 June 2016

I’m really looking forward to these upcoming workshops.  The organizers are making a beating hammer so I don’t have to carry mine! Dutch hospitality! If you are considering traveling from North America, Iceland Air has reasonably priced flights to Amsterdam and you can arrange a layover Iceland if desired.

 

Two workshops by Jeff Peachey – 25 May – 4 June 2016

organised by Restauratoren Nederland, the Netherlands

Two specialized bookbinding and conservation workshops lead by American bookbinder, conservator and toolmaker Jeff Peachey. Jeff combines his research of eighteenth-century French leather bindings with his practical knowledge of conservation, bookbinding and toolmaking. He will be teaching these workshops at Boekbinderij FopmaWier, a professional bookbinding studio in the Frisian countryside. Surrounded by an enthusiastic group of international colleagues and hopefully bathed in a warm spring sun, these workshops promise to be the perfect working holiday!

Making and sharpening knives: a rational approach, and modifying a spokeshave

https://www.restauratoren.nl/agenda/workshop-jeff-peachey-1/

This workshop is an intensive three day introduction to one of the most basic human tool making activities – making and keeping an edge tool sharp without the use of jigs. This workshop will use 3M micro-finishing film, but the freehand techniques learned are applicable to water, oil, or diamond stones. Participants will be provided the materials, instruction and equipment to make several knives by stock reduction of their choosing, and to resharpen any type of edge tool they bring with them as time permits. The specific tools of bookbinders will be examined: paring knives, lifting knives, scissors, hole punches, spokeshaves and board shear blades. Tool steel, edge geometry and grit progression will be discussed. A Stanley 151 spokeshave will be modified for leather paring, and there will be time to learn how to use it. The goal of this workshop is to free participants from the plethora of misinformation and mystique that surrounds sharpening and to instill confidence in sharpening, maintaining and resharpening bookbinding knives and other edge tools.

Course: €375, Materials: €175 Dates: 25-27 May 2016

 

Late eighteenth century French binding structure

https://www.restauratoren.nl/agenda/workshop-jeff-peachey-2/

Apart from the French Revolution, one of the most exciting aspects of late 18th C. French culture is the existence of two full-length bookbinding manuals. This five-day workshop will focus on reconstructing a typical full calf French structure of this time period, by comparing and contrasting the descriptions in these manuals and examining extant bindings. In some respects, this structure is the end of 1,200 years of utilitarian leather binding —50 years later the cloth case begins to predominate. This class is a hands-on explication of a written text. Some of the interesting features of this book include: beating the paper, sewing 2-on on raised cords, beating pasteboards, trimming edges a plough in-boards, edge coloring with vermillion, sewn front-bead single paper core endbands, parchment transverse spine liners, edge paring calf, “marbling” the leather, and achieving various shades of brown without using leather dyes. Reproductions of 18th C. French tools, constructed from plates in Diderot’s Encylopedie (1751-1780) will be available for experimentation. Participants will learn to use and maintain a plough, and gain experience in translating written descriptions of bookbinding into the construction of a model. Extensive notations (in English) on Gauffecourt’s Traite de la Relieure des Livres (1763) and Dudin’s L’Art du Relieur-doreur de Livres (1772) will be provided. An overriding theme in this class is to interpret historic bookbinder’s techniques by reconstruction. Basic bookbinding skills are a prerequisite.

Course: €540 Materials: €100 Dates: 30 May — 3 June

Excursion

On Friday afternoon, June 3, the eighteenth-century French binding structure course will be followed by an excursion to the local archives and rare books library: Tresoar, Frysk Histoarysk en Letterkundich Sintrum. We will look at several examples of eighteenth-century bindings from this collection using our freshly gained knowledge.

Adress: Tresoar: Boterhoek 1, 8911 DH Leeuwarden. We will travel together in available cars.

How to get there: https://www.tresoar.nl/over/Pages/Route.aspx

The tutor, Jeff Peachey

Jeffrey S. Peachey is an independent book conservator and toolmaker. For more than 25 years, he has specialized in the conservation of books and paper artifacts for institutions and individuals as the owner of a New York City-based studio. He is Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation, has taught bookbinding workshops internationally, and was recently awarded a fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, Italy. He is the inventor of the Peachey Board Slotting Machine, used in conservation labs around the world. His most recent publication is “Beating, Rolling and Pressing: The Compression of Signatures in Bookbinding Prior to Sewing” published in Suave Mechanicals: Essays in the History of Bookbinding, Volume 1. More information at: http://jeffpeachey.com

Registration

Please register by emailing: herre66@gmx.net

Please indicate which workshops you would like to register for.

The location

The picturesque village of Wier is situated in the north-west of the northern province of Friesland. In 2009, FopmaWier bookbindery was established in this village of 200 inhabitants. Wytze Fopma, owner and director, specializes in unique graphic productions, mostly in limited editions, for designers, artists, printers, editors, photographers and collectors. Wytze welcomes you into his studio to experience the quiet and space of the Frisian countryside during the most beautiful time of year. What better way to welcome in the spring of 2016?

Boekbinderij FopmaWier, Tjerkepaed 16, 9043 VM Wier, www.fopmawier.nl. Contact person is Wytze Fopma: info@fopmawier.nl

The nearest train station is Leeuwarden. From here, bus 71 leaves for Wier 1-2 times per hour. You can also be collected at the train station if you inform us in advance of your arrival.

Accommodation

The small campsite “De Brinkhoeve” is located within a two-minute walk from FopmaWier bookbindery. Here you can pitch your tent on an open field with view of the village’s historic church. Two recently renovated trailer homes and a cabin are also available at very affordable prices (€10-25,- per person, per night). Booking can be done directly: http://www.debrinkhoeve.com/ or by phone: 0031 (0)518-462287. We strongly advise you not wait too long and please tell the owners you are coming for the workshops at Wytze’s studio. If you would like to share a cabin or trailer with other participants, please advise us and we will get you in touch with other interested participants.

If the campsite is not what you are looking for and you don’t mind missing out the evening social contact with colleagues, please contact us for further information on alternative accommodation in the vicinity of Wier.

Meals

During the day, coffee, tea and lunch (Dutch bread with a variety of toppings) will be provided. This is included in the course costs. Breakfast, dinner and lunch during the excursion are at the participants’ own expense. We are happily to recommend good restaurants, supermarkets and grocery shops in the neighbourhood. It is also possible to cook at De Brinkhoeve, a good occasion to enjoy the end of an inspiring course day together with colleagues.


Organisers

Herre de Vries, contact person: herre66@gmx.net

Natasha Herman,

Wytze Fopma.

Hospital Grinder

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One of the many great things about New York City is the plethora of sidewalk vendors.  Recently, amidst a pile of used clothes, I saw this beautifully polished aluminum machine.  I sent some photos to mixed media artist and pathologist  Dr. Charlie Weissman and he speculates:

Never seen this exact machine, but probably dates from the era before most equipment was disposable, now it is easier to dispose of much equipment rather than try to get it sterilized completely and reconditined and sharpened. Looks too large for blood-drawing needles, but there are a variety of round penetrating devices– trocars  and such– for drawing off thicker fluids from various body sites, which could have been reused.  Bone-marrow biopsy needles could have this caliber.  Large biopsy needles for liver and prostate used to be reused. Modern  breast biopsy and brain biopsy needles can be large but they are not reused.  Looks a little large for spinal needle. Interesting.

The arm is adjustable for length, and simple slides back and forth to switch from one wheel to the next, which are three different grits.   It operates at a fairly slow speed, and since the motor is not shielded from the wheels, I’m guessing it was used dry. The clamping mechanism near the wheels forms a 90 degree angle, so it was likely used for round objects.  It even came in a velvet lined, fake leather grain covered wood box with a handle. Stylistically, it looks circa. 1930’s to me.  All for $10.00!

Sharpening on a Book on Sharpening

Most bookbindings function as protection for the text contained within.  This, however, is a bookbinding that also functions as a strop. I rebound Ron Hock’s The Perfect Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Sharpening for Woodworkers in reverse calf in order to make it work as a not-so-fine binding/ strop.  This book is one of the best on sharpening, containing an excellent overall assortment of information.  It is loaded with practical advice, overviews of the various sharpening systems and informative photos.  I recommend it as a textbook to accompany the sharpening workshops I teach.

Anyway, this was the first time I constructed a reverse calf binding– the paring took a bit more time since most of the strength of the leather (hair side) was cut away, and the caps were a bit tricky to form. The book was sewn on 5 quarter inch linen tapes, the edges decorated with Golden Fluid Acrylics chromium oxide green mixed with airbrush medium and Staedtler Karat water-soluble  pencils, and the endbands simply sewn in purple silk over a cord core.  The front cover was coated with a .5 micron chromium oxide honing compound, for preliminary stropping, the back left bare for a final polish.  It will be interesting to see how it looks in a couple of months when the metal particles start to build up.

Poor Quality Steel and Sharpening

This is a great example of both sharpening problems and low quality steel. This photo is of the back of a curved leather paring knife. It is a bit difficult to see in the photo, but the darker, shiny area below the cutting edge has been highly polished. Unfortunately, our unnamed client,  let us call him Mr. B, neglected one of the first principals– feeling the burr. Once you feel a burr on a cutting edge, it means that the two planes (bevel and back of the knife) have gone past the point where they meet. As William Blake says in the Proverbs of Hell, “You never know what is enough unless you know more than enough.” The burr lets us know we have sharpened the edge more than enough, and can proceed to the next grit. A great deal of time was spent creating a polished area , that will not affect the cutting ability at all, and be instantly removed once someone attempts to regrind the knife.

The knife edge was dropped, and on the left side of the blade there are some chips, and on the right side you can see bent metal. What does this tell us? That the steel was improperly hardened. Any steel that is hard enough to pare leather (at least Rc 55 or so) should be brittle and chip if damaged, not bend like on the right side of the photo.