Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
not poo pooing other peoples methods..
Response To:
confused ()

David Weaver
...all of the gurus seem to have slightly different methods. I know they also all teach a lot of beginners, so I have no idea what it's like to talk about the most practically ideal (as in not theoretically ideal, but something people will complete when maybe they're on the edge of having to run off to the bathroom when they're finishing sharpening, or something where immediate edge damage after putting a sharpened plane to wood won't lead to walking out of the shop or dreading the job with hurt hands).

I have a seriously unhealthy spending habit with sharpening stones. It's slowed down a lot. The problem isn't that none of them work, the problem is that when you're curious and all of them work and they're all a little different, then you don't get the failure a few times in a row that you need to have to say "ok, this is a waste of money". I understand there are folks who like to fly fish who just go from one rod to the next and they like to really go through fly reels.

As much of a pig as I am, I still have the same basic fly rod (not even wood, and I think it was $40) and shakespeare reel as I did in high school. It hasn't broken yet, and i'm not fascinated with reels.

Back to the different methods. They all work. It's confusing as to why they're all different, but not that confusing when you see people have trouble, I guess. And for someone giving an $800 class, getting stuck the first day sharpening other peoples' tools is probably a strike out. Except for gurus selling honing equipment, the guru methods seem to address honing without addressing grinding (or the grinding is part of the honing).

Given that they all work and I've tried them all, with an endless supply of stones, nothing really works more easily than doing the material removal with a power grinder, and separating geometry from finish so that each is completed properly (rather than as part of an integrated method). The sellers method works better with an IM 313 and a crystolon stone, but then what do beginners do to flatten the backs of tools (sandpaper) without making the system confusing?

The charlesworth method got me started with a fully prepared iron and a sharp edge before I ever used a plane. I only had a king 6000 stone so the blade shaved marginally and I spent the next several years listening to everyone say that if I ever got a properly sharpened tool, my eyes would be opened. I thought there was something else out there, like some magic. There isn't. It's just a matter of manipulated geometry and speed after that.

© 1998 - 2017 by Ellis Walentine. All rights reserved.
No parts of this web site may be reproduced in any form or by
any means without the written permission of the publisher.

WOODCENTRAL, P.O. BOX 493, SPRINGTOWN, PA 18081