Chris Schwarz's Blog

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, Wash., this week, and he showed me how he sharpens marking knives. Plus, he showed off two little tricks that will make your marking knife track even better.

I’ve been a long-time fan of Jeske’s work ever since he started making marking knives one at a time. He’s now a full-time toolmaker and has a full shop of equipment that spins out thousands of knives, chisels, awls and mallets every year. Amazingly, he’s still a one-man operation – though his family members often step in to help.

If you’d like to read more about Jeske, check out this article I wrote for The Fine Tool Journal.

— Christopher Schwarz

PS. For more on sharpening, check out our new DVD, “The Last Word on Sharpening.

7 thoughts on “How to Sharpen a Marking Knife

  1. macmarty15221

    “Sharping”? Or “Sharpening”? Or did you mean Shaping? Word, man! says Sharping does not compute. Thank goodness, blogs entries can be revised after publication, a great advance over berry ink on tree pulp.

    Sorry for being a pedantic knothole, someone has to do it.

    1. Megan Fitzpatrick

      I’m supposed to be the pedantic one! Clearly, I neglected to hit “update” after I edited that a few days back. All better. Thanks!

  2. abt

    And after the sharpening video, up pops You Tube picked videos, with one of the choices Dave Brubeck’s Take Five video from 1961; a broadcast on National Educational Television’s (NET, the predecessor to PBS) ‘Jazz Casual’ series. Songs to sharpen to. A classic tune.

    All hail You Tube.

    1. Christopher SchwarzChristopher Schwarz Post author

      The lens is clean. I’ve got dust inside the camera. Should be fixed this week. I hate it, too.

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