Sharpening

Sharpening is the gateway skill to getting good results from all of your edge tools – and it’s particularly important to know how to do it right when you start using hand tools. (The expensive handplane or chisel that isn’t performing like you thought it would? It’s probably the blade – and that’s an easy fix.) Here, Popular Woodworking Magazine editors and contributing editors teach you how to sharpen saws, handplane blades, chisels, marking knives and more. Plus, you’ll find reviews books and videos on sharpening, a look a powered sharpening systems and quick fixes for commercial sharpening jigs.

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Correct the Skew on a Plane Blade or Chisel

Some woodworkers would rather stick their hand into a running disposal while naked than turn on a dry grinder. So when they need to correct the skew angle on a skewed plane iron or skewed chisel they are at a loss. I even met a guy who would just buy a new blade rather...

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Repair a Shattered Sharpening Stone

A couple weekends ago I did a clumsy thing in front of an audience: I dropped my expensive 5,000-grit waterstone on the floor where it broke into three jagged chunks. Someone in the audience offered to sell me a replacement stone, but I declined. That’s because I knew I had two good things I...

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The Last Word on Sharpening

Here’s a great gift idea, because everyone can get better at sharpening. Grind, Hone & Get Back to Work Learn how to grind straight & curved edges Hone perfect micro-bevels Pick the right stones for you Achieve polished edges like a professional the first time out     Dispelling the Myths Sharpening an edge...

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The Death Knell of Artisanal Pencil Sharpening?

Those of you who routinely send me e-mails when I write about something “not woodworking related,” stop reading. You will not be amused – even though this involves a sharp blade and tiny shavings. No, really. It’s not about woodworking. You won’t like it. Go away. A few years ago, Christopher Schwarz stumbled across...

How to Sharpen a Marking Knife

Sharpening a spear-point marking knife isn’t difficult, but it sure seems to flummox some woodworkers. The bevels on the knife are small, and if you aren’t used to freehand sharpening, you might be afraid of rounding over the edge. Dave Jeske of Blue Spruce Toolworks was at the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend,...

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‘The Last Word on Sharpening,’ by Christopher Schwarz

I still remember the first time I achieved a truly sharp edge on my smoothing plane iron. Suddenly, I was able to make whisper thin shavings and achieve a shimmering surface…without a surreptitious dip into Christopher Schwarz’s cabinet to borrow his No. 4. And my dovetails started looking a lot better on the inside,...

Ron Herman: ‘Sharpen Your Handsaws’

The first time I saw Ron Herman sharpen a handsaw, I learned more about sharpening the tool in 20 minutes than I had learned in all the years I’d been a woodworker. I had been sharpening my saws for years, but I was mostly trying to replicate the saw’s existing tooth geometry. I wasn’t...

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A Trickier Ruler Trick

Anything – a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g – that reduces the time I spend sharpening my tools makes me giddy. Care Bear giddy. Monchichi giddy. Making tools dull is more fun. A few years ago I found a way to use a thin ruler to help me stone the faces of my card scrapers. It’s an adaptation of...

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DMT Introduces its Dia-Flat Plate

I’ve always preferred diamond plates for flattening my waterstones and oilstones. Though a coarse or extra-coarse diamond stone does a fine job, the sharpening stones are pretty hard on the diamond impregnated surface, wearing the diamond plate prematurely, according to engineers at DMT. I’m not a big fan, however, of the stone-based flattening systems...