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Satisfied Customer

Started by jobewan, April 09, 2020, 08:30:43 PM

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Hey All,

I recently bought a Edge-On-Up PT50B.  If you aren't familiar with it, it is a sharpness testing system that relatively shows you when a tool/knife is sharp.  I think I was rounding my edges, so I decided to sharpen a chisel following the Tormek method entirely.  Sharpening through all three grits of CBN wheel, and then using the settings to hone the edge on the leather wheel.  I have never had as sharp a chisel, and it registered 240 on the edge tester.  None of my other edges were below 500.  (FWIW - 240 is listed as being as sharp as a new razor blade...).  I am truly psyched.  I think you can use this system to back engineer your methods, testing throough the process to see where you may be going wrong.  I had some very good luck.  Best result I have ever had off the Tormek.  I just hope I can repeat the process.  I will let you know.

My comment about being a satisfied customer waas regarding the Tormek.  the edge tester is great, and yes I am happy I got it, but my investment in the Tormek is much greater.  I am a very happy sharpener!   More to come soon.   You may want to think about the PT50 - A,B, or C.  Nice to have.


Ken S

I am a very early and avid fan of Edge on Up and BESS. I find working with BESS a most useful adjunct to using my Tormek. If you have not joined the BESS Exchange (, I heartily recommend it.

I use BESS for woodworking tools as well as knives. Although the equipment is really not designed for chisels and plane blades, the numbers are useful indicators. While I don't get hung up on producing the lowest numbers, I like being able to share common numbers globally.
It's a fascinating technology.


Hey Ken,

Exactly my perspective.  I just want to be able to understand the relationship between how I am sharpening and the quality of the edge I am creating.  This is an easy and accxurate/repeatable method of being able to get that metric.  Its not particularly expensive, and the concept is clear and well executed.  I will join that Bessex community.  See you over there!

I sharpen my household knives and pocket knives in adddition to all my WW hand tools.  I can see myself getting very into the edge of the knives all over our house.  I am almost more interested in sharpening than actually woodworking.  My shop reflects this - I think my investment in sharpening equipment/tools is higher dollars than my WW equipment.  Hi, my name is Joe, and I am a sharpaholic. I have a Worksharp. a Lap Sharp, and  a Tormek, in addition to all of the Shapton stones made, and literally every sharpening guide made.  I also do a lot with Japanese tools, so I can see me getting into Japanese natural stones at some point, but that is a whole 'nother ballgame when it comes to money. 

Thanks Ken.  BTW - not to sound like a sycophant (I love that word) but you do a fantastic job on this board.  I really appreciate the care and dedication.




Congratulations on getting a BESS sharpness tester.  I love mine, and like you, it really upped my game on sharpening.  It, in conjunction with paying much more attention to sharpening angle control, has hugely improved the edges I produce.

I had a somewhat similar experience last fall, at a bamboo fly rod makers gathering, although it was in regard to plane blades rather than chisels.  One of our premier rod makers was presenting on sharpening plane blades.  He was using high end blades of PMV-11, which reputedly sharpen easily and retain their edge longer.  I had coordinated with him ahead of time and he asked me to also be at the presenter's table with my BESS tester. 

He said, prior to me testing any of his blades, that he only sharpens to a "point" because bamboo is so hard and dulls blades so quickly that it is useless to sharpen further for the bulk of his bamboo planing.  He did say that for the very final stages, he does sharpen more.  My testing showed that his routine sharpness to be around 200-240 BESS.  His finer sharpness was around 140 BESS.  He uses traditional flat stones and I don't recall what sort of method he uses for angle control or the stone grades used.  He was very pleased that my tester confirmed his sharpness routine, as he had previously had not way to know just how sharp they were. 

I did not say then but, I believe those higher end steel plane blades could be taken quite a bit sharper.  I do not dispute his contention that it is pointless to take them that far for bamboo planing.  I do not use hand planes for planing bamboo, so I do not have knowledge or experience in that regard.  I use a planing device that uses two carbide inserts mounted at precise angles to plane both sides of each strip at once.  So far, there is no method for sharpening those inserts, but I am intrigued to try using diamond wheels on my Tormek. 

As a result of the above presentation/demonstration, I came home wanting to buy a few of those PMV-11 plane blades and do some testing to find out whether his contention that sharpening further was pointless.  But, time and money intervened and I have not even bought any blades for my woodworking planes.  I don't use them enough to warrant those blades for my woodworking activities. 

Quality is like buying oats.  If you want nice, clean, fresh oats, you must pay a fair price. However, if you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse, that comes at a lower price.


I have been using Vadim's sharpness chart where he correlates BESS results with common cutting tasks.
It would be nice to know exactly where I am using the BESS tester. Perhaps the best test result for me is customers that actually notice that there knives are sharper than they were new out of the box. Using Vadim's chart I think mine are in the BESS 100 ± range. With Spring weather close at hand I have stopped testing using my arm hair. My wife says my forearms look like I have some problem.

This weekend I hope to do some experiments with a second honing wheel to see if I can improve on the standard setup. I will need to put on my mask and go to the drug store to by some cigarette paper for testing.
Sharpen the knife blade
Hone edge until perfection
Cut with joy and ease