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My Biggest Sharpening Challenge to Date

Let me say right off the bat that I have sharpened HUNDREDS of carving tools. I have a Pfeil #12-1 mm v palm tool that has lain around unused that I had picked up along with others from an estate sale. I finally decided yesterday that it was finally time to put it into working order. It was not cutting at all and, as best as I could tell, it had been worked on but had never really been used. Now I know why. I tried heavy magnification and every trick I knew, starting with flattening the end to establish a clear understanding of the interior grind shape and establish the wing angle. The root was nearly a sharp intersection with no obvious radius. After repeated attempts to develop a decent shape on stones by hand as I normally would, I found that I could control the overall shape better straight off of the grinder where I could actually observe the edge development. Internal faces and the root were worked lightly with fine abrasive paper to remove any burrs  Attempts to further refine the keel at a stone (along with light stropping) invariably resulted in a weak, malformed, and nonfunctional edge at the keel which bought me back to square one in the process and no useable tool. After at least 10 attempts with no workable (and a shorter) tool, I decided to just walk away and nearly threw the tool away. After several repeated attempts this evening I decided on a different approach. Using a small diamond triangular file I reworked the interior profile near the edge which resulted in a very tiny but barely noticeable radius at the root.

Because the radius was so small, instead of stoning the keel I only had to strop the profile to eliminate  any "point" at the keel. After that the tool worked beautifully. I realize that the file will probably be used again in the future as part of the maintenance of the tool but feel that is a small price to pay for having a useable tool.

If anyone has any helpful hints in dealing with other tiny challenging profiles I would love to hear them.