|| However, it’s
extraordinarily easy to use, very quick, doesn’t create a
mess on the workbench, and meets most of the sharpening
needs of the average woodworker. Plus, the whole system
only costs about as much as a decent bench stone.
Among the handful of manufacturers offering diamonds
in the wood shop, DMT (Diamond Machining Technology,
Inc.) has been a leader for more than 30 years. Each PSS1
unit comes with two DMT-made mono crystalline diamond
plates. These are a 220-grit prep stone and a finishing
stone at 450 grit. These aren’t really stones in the normal
sense. They are nickel plates with a coating of mono crystalline
diamonds, housed in a plastic frame.
According to DMT, mono crystals are strong, single crystals,
while polycrystalline diamonds are fragmented compounds
that break apart and wear away easily with use.
Sharpeners made with polycrystalline diamond, they say,
will wear out and need replacement.
In addition to the two stones included with the PSS1,
M.Power offers three other DMT stones as options, including
a roughing stone (120 grit), a fine finishing stone (600
grit), and a super-fine finishing stone (1200 grit). For quick
touch-ups on bench chisels and plane irons, the two included
stones are ideal. If you’re looking for a mirror finish,
the fine and super-fine stones, used in sequence, seem to
deliver an edge that’s pretty close to the one I can achieve
on my 6000-grit water stones. (The grit numbers can be a
bit confusing, as Japanese water stones are measured on a
different scale than American oilstones.)
In a shop test, the coarse 120-grit stone worked well
to grind a new edge on a damaged chisel, although it took
awhile. For a minute there, I was tempted to cheat and
use the bench grinder, but then the angle wouldn’t have
matched up properly when I moved on to the rest of the
stones in the PSS1.
M.Power’s included instructions are simple, sequential
and very easy to follow. If the tool is dull or has lost its
edge, insert the coarsest stone in the sled, place the tool
to be sharpened on the bed and steady it against the
fence. Then glide the carriage (sled) back and forth until
the cutting edge has a bright line across the total width of
the blade edge. Move up to the next grit and repeat the
The original PSS1 came with a diamond-impregnated
plate that the tool or blade would sit on. Feedback
from woodworkers encouraged the company to remove
this feature. It was apparently scratching
the back of the tool.
|| Now, M.Power suggests stropping
the newly beveled edge to
remove the burr.
If you’re new to sharpening, a burr is a minute raised
area on the back of a freshly ground or honed blade. It
can be felt with a finger. To remove it, touch the tool gently
against a leather strop or a cotton buffing wheel that has
been charged with a fine grinding compound. Be careful
not to overdo the stropping, as you can quickly dull
a newly sharpened edge. When a burr forms across the entire width of the back
or underside of
a tool, it means that you are ready to
move on to a finer stone.