Arts & Mysteries: Keep Your Edges Sharp

Part 2: Test often to avoid the need to grind.

By Adam Cherubini
Pages: 20-21

From the November 2011 issue #193
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To determine if the edges are sharp on my blades, I perform two tests (depending on the tool) using scrap paper. I first draw the blade across the edge of a piece of paper, listening for the growl of a ragged edge. The blade should be able to slice the paper cleanly. You’ll be able to hear when the edge of your tool is smooth. Edges that pass this test are good enough for work in hatchets, drawknives, spokeshaves and other tools that are drawn through wood. For chisels and plane irons, however, I perform a second test. If my chisel or plane blade passes my first test, I then push the blade straight down onto the edge
of the paper. A sharp tool will easily cut through an entire sheet.

ARTICLE: Read the first part of Adam’s article on sharpening from our October 2011 issue.
ARTICLE: “What are Oilstones?” Find out in Adam’s online article.
BLOG: Visit the Colonial Williamsburg joiners’ blog on period work.
IN OUR STORE: Get “The Arts & Mysteries of Hand Tools” on CD.

From the November 2011 issue #193
Buy this issue now