Well i have been hankering for a granite flat surface to sharpen on for some time. So when i could not get the deal i wanted at the habitat restore it I decided to heck with them and went to my trusted store yup you guessed it Lee Valley.
If you aint got one of these beware, if you get one you will be doing what i spent a week doing. Sharpening everything in your shop.
You might remember that a friend of mine gave me a whole roll of wide double sided tape. Well this stuff is tremendous. I lay a sheet of it over the granite (which by the way comes with a certificate of flatness) and then peel off the top cover and voila you have the perfect flat sticky surface. Sheet after sheet of sandpaper can be placed down used and then lifted without disrupting the sticky surface.
So i took out evey plane and started from scratch with sole flattening and blade lapping and sharpening.
Yeah i got tired of reaching for tools that were less than sharp and nicked etc.
This slab of granite is wonderful. If you like the scary sharp sandpaper method of sharpening boy this is for you. Forget glass. forget the shapstones etc, this beats it all. Oh and a few sheets of the 15u water paper by 3M but for that i take some varsol (mineral spirits) and clean the top of the granite off and stick it down on its own. That stuff is amazing for honing. Until you have tried this stuff you will never believe how amazing.
I am also convinced its better than herbs yellowstone and leather for honing. Why? Simply because the danger i found with the leather honing is the tendency to round over the edge ever so slightly. As ya all know sharp is when to straight edges intersect. When you click to that point then you get to know what you looking at.
Gotta tell you before this i lapped on a sheet of melamine thinking it looked flat. Nope. Then tried glass but never got to get a real thick piece because i thought my luck would be to get a piece that is not entirely flat.
But after lapping the back of blades and soles of planes on this granite i just love it.
Thick enough and heavy enough that i put it on my workbench ( which i cover first in standard dry sheathing cardboard) then lay a piece of dollar store non skid mat like we use in routing, then put the granite down and it dont go know where and is at perfect work height.
The results are delightful and amazing and make sharpening a joy.