The Speed Demons of Sharpening

We test three new machines that try to replace grinders and traditional sharpening stones.
By Christopher Schwarz
Pages: 53-57

From the June 2004 issue #141
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For hundreds of years, the best way to get the keenest edge on a woodworking tool has been to rub it on a series of progressively finer abrasive stones. This hand skill is one of the last holdouts of woodworking from before the Industrial Revolution, which drove craftspeople to use their moulding planes as firewood when they traded up to electric routers and shapers.

Sharpening by hand has held on because traditional motorized grinders are – in general – too coarse and aggressive to get a truly keen edge for fine woodworking. And water-cooled grinders, such as the Tormek and Makita models, are slow and don’t offer the full range of grits that waterstones, diamond stones, sandpaper or oilstones do.

From the June 2004 issue #141
Buy this issue now