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Re: Two questions
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Two questions ()

Mark Hennebury
Bill you are right in what you say;

Sharp is an everchanging range. The first stroke of a freshly sharpened hand plane will produce the finest finish, and it is downhill from there on out, as the blade edge is dulling with each stroke and throughout the stroke.

People sharpen their tools to what is acceptable to them, they use a plane until they feel or see a difference, then they re-sharpen and start again. People have different views on what their own range is to them. Nobody needs to use a handplane! Some people use 1000 grit stone to sharpen, some have 30,000 grit stones. Knife edges wear constantly during use, how often you sharpen is up to you.

Sharp, well designed tools and high precision machines, do better work, easier and more efficiently.
Having the ability to sharpen your own tools, means that you can keep the edge in that zone that you want.

There is of course a balance between what is of practical value and what is obsessive.
As in all things that humans do, there are some that want to push the limits, to see how far you can go, they are the ones that make all of the improvements to cutting tools and machines, some of which become the new standards from which we all benefit. Like Tersa head planers for instance.
The Japanese make and sell a lot of supersurfacers....in Japan. In North America, they are mostly unknown, and don't sell, because nobody sees the value of all that extra time and expense for a little nicer planed wood surface. In Europe swing chisel mortisers are big, in North America, not so much, everyone here is far more familiar with hollow chisel mortisers.

You can get by doing things many ways, and you can hone your router bits by hand and get a pretty good finish. or send your stuff out to sharpening shops, It is just nice to have the sharpening equipment and do it yourself. I got fed up with the results from several sharpening shops that did less than I expected, so I am happier doing my own sharpening. I also like experimenting with different tool geometry and having my own equipment allowed me to explore.

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