Tips & Tricks Issue 91: Heat Sink for Sharpening

Grinding a chisel or plane iron generates a lot of heat, and quenching the blade in water can create minute fractures that can affect the quality of the cutting edge. Oil will cool the metal more slowly and safely, but it’s messy. Instead, try a passive heat sink scavenged from a computer motherboard. This small square of metal (typically aluminum alloy) is deeply grooved on one face, creating “fins” that help disperse heat quickly. Before your tool gets uncomfortably hot to hold, cool it down by pressing the flat face against the heat sink, which will dissipate the heat in short order without damaging the steel. 

—Hunter Clyde, Lancaster, Kentucky

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