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Inspecting Wood Grain and Blade Edges with a Ten Power Hand Lens Magnifier
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Wood grain magnified ten times The best way to examine the grain of wood fully is through a 10x magnifier which will give you an in-close view of the nature and pores of the wood.

Studying wood with the naked eye is called gross inspection. The next level of viewing easily available to woodworkers is with a hand lens. Sold in a range of magnifications, the best for inspecting end grain is a 10-power (10x) lens.

To make the various elements clearly visible, the end grain must be cleanly cut. I sharpened a new blade on a trim knife using an 8000 waterstone and confirmed the edge quality with the hand lens. It’s not necessary to remove a large slice of tissue since the area you will look at is less than 1/4" x 1/4".

What is necessary is that the blade cuts without tearing.

Consider a 10x lens a necessary member of any tool kit. Use it to inspect the cutting edges of plane blades, chisels, router bits and saw teeth, and check joint lines, surface tearout, dings and scratches.

posted on October 1, 2008 by Ian Kirby
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