The Ruler Trick

Radically reduce the time it takes to prepare and sharpen a plane iron with the help of a $5 steel ruler.
By David Charlesworth
Pages: 82-86

From the November 2004 issue #144
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I have been teaching furniture making for more than 27 years and am convinced that most amateurs are not getting the best from their hand tools. Bench-plane blades are a good example. I can resharpen a blade in less than four minutes, which includes washing my hands and putting the stones away. This short break from the work at hand should be welcomed as it gives us an opportunity for planning the next stage and the pleasure of working with a razor-sharp tool when we resume. Struggling on with a blunt tool is both tiring and counterproductive.

The methods I have developed to ensure that my students start with razor-sharp tools from day one are unusual (it involves a trick with a ruler). However, they are well-tested and guaranteed to produce the result we want. The techniques have been developed as practical solutions to issues that gave us trouble when we used a more traditional approach.

From the November 2004 issue #144
Buy this issue now