Hand Tools

Subject:
Evaluation

Warren in Lancaster, PA
I think you are getting to the heart of the matter, Wiley. The best way to evaluate an edge is performance: ease of use, quality of wood surface, edge life (that is edge life at a high level of performance), ease of maintenance.

Some think that one can evaluate an edge by looking at the number on the box, as in "sharpening to XX,000 grit". Thinking one dimensionally like this leads to emphasis on "grit equivalence" and such. This stuff is only valuable when it jibes with observable phenomena in actual use.

It is likewise with the magnification. The picture of the edge is helpful insomuch as it helps explain what we already know about the performance of an edge. If by looking at a microscope David can help explain why one regimen or one stone is better than another, something he already knows from experience, then it can help guide him in further experiments. Looking at magnification alone is a clumsy way to evaluate an edge.

For a skill like sharpening, intuition and logic should move forward hand in hand. Our progress is guided by observation and experience. For best results, a high level of concentration is needed both during sharpening and in using the tool.

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what microscope?
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Evaluation
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