Intaglio Printmaking Tools: Burins : Fine Tuning Burin Sharpening

Intaglio Printmaking Tools: Burins : Fine Tuning Burin Sharpening


Hi I am Jason Shoemaker at Slugfest Printmaking
Workshop and we are going to talk a little bit about fine tuning the sharpening of the
burin. The combination stones can get you cut metal, it is just fine they are plenty
sharp. I like to get them as polished and as nice as I possibly can. The more polished
metal is the sharper that metal is and the longer it is going to hold its edge. So what
you can do, actually still using the sharpening stone you can start with some 600, move up
to finer sand papers and this is some emery paper which is really fine and it is for polishing.
Actually for maintenance this is a strop and barbers use these to sharpen their shaving
equipment, knives, anything. It is a great thing to have just as you are working if you
feel the burin is getting a little dull hit it on the strop and you are back in business.
So what you want to do is you have you sharpening stone out and when you are sharpening the
face before you take it out of the jig go ahead and sharpen it to its polished point
and that will make sure you keep that 45 degree angle on there. So we have got our 600 which
is just regular sand paper, you can get it at an auto parts store, Home Depot, any of
those kind of places there, put a little oil on there and it is the same process with this
jig, one way and then the other. Do that a couple of times and make sure the face is
nice and even. Then we will move up and this is 1,500 I believe. You don’t want to make
too big a jump. That might be too big a jump if you go from a combination stone to the
1,500 you are going to be sharpening for a long time so you want to stage the sharpening
and again one way and then the other. You will see that your face gets more and more
polished. You may see that there are some imperfections and you’d have to go back to
the sharpening stone. Doing the runners is the same way, start with your 600. Make sure
you are standing up, the runner is nice and square on your sharpening stone and push it
down and it is back and forth and just make sure that you switch over to the other side.

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