Different raking lights show different defects

One very important tool in my shop is my LED flashlight. It’s most important use is for finishing. It has two light levels and a focusing ring that allows me to focus the beam from wide too very narrow.

I wished photos could be shown here, but the only way to really see what a raking light can do for you is to try it.

The low beam wide angle is great for showing raised grain (even after raising the grain with water and sanding) and dips in the surface from over sanding. Then I wipe on mineral spirits and use a focused high beam to see areas that need to be filled or further sanded. Everything from machine marks to snipe, as well as gaps in edge banding, will jump out at you when using a raking light. I keep a pencil handy during this process, circling or marking the areas that need further sanding or filling.

The use of a raking light is essential in getting the best finish possible, and in the end, being satisfied with your project.

DMT Extra Extra Fine Dia-Sharp Diamond Stone

Just picked this up at my local Woodcraft. For about the same price as a Norton 4000/8000, it has a dual personality in that it is more aggressive than a 4000 stone, yet gives an equivalent edge to the 8000 Norton.

I must say that it does not give the polish that an 8000 Norton stone does, but diamond stones have to be broken in for a while. Since this is my first diamond stone, I’m not sure how long that will take, and may end up using the rest of my Norton 8000, or a strop, until that time comes.

One thing I really like, other than that it never needs to be flattened, is that I can use it wet or dry. Wet seems better as its really abrasive, so the water is a good lubricant. I may try a bit of soap in my spray bottle though.

I’m also looking forward to sharpening my carving chisels without worrying about wearing grooves in my water stones. Of the couple I’ve sharpened so far it works great.

I plan on a sharpening day in the shop soon. Something I’ve never done before because of the amount of time it would take to sharpen every edge in my shop. Hopefully that will help break in my new sharpening friend!