Sharpening: Here's What I See

I’m fairly well convinced that my ears are different than yours. The music I like isn’t going to sound the same to you. It’s almost impossible for me to share with another person what the Heartless Bastards sounds like to me. Language is too imprecise. Same goes with the eyes (and tastebuds). How you...

Highly Recommended: Saw Sharpening from TechnoPrimitives

Without fail, every week readers ask me where to get their saws sharpened. I’ve run into some great saw sharpeners in my day, and I’m always happy to recommend their services. Today I’d like to tell you about Mark Harrell, who has taken saw sharpening service into the digital age. Harrell, a 28-year veteran...

A Knife That Never Needs Sharpening? We’ll See!

When I first opened the package, I assumed that the tool inside was a prototype that had a plastic blade. That happens occasionally here at the magazine when a manufacturer wants our opinion on a tool’s ergonomics before they crank up production. But no, the white chunk of stuff at the end of the...

Resharpening a Scraper Plane

Question: I’ve noted that you’ve recently mentioned that you’ve been looking into scrapers, so I thought that maybe you could answer a question that I have about scraper-plane blades.  Recently I acquired a Stanley #12 scraper plane and the three Lie-Nielsen scraper planes (modern versions of the Stanley #112, #85, and #212).  I am...

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A Place to Call ‘Hone’

When I think of all the things that improved my sharpening skills, two things loom large. No. 1 is practice, of course, but close behind that is a dedicated sharpening tray. About 14 years ago I built a shallow tray from scrap plywood, nails and glue. No fancy joinery, no water-resistant materials and no...

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4 Tricks For Flattening French Benchtops

One of the gripes I hear about French workbenches is that the benchtops are difficult to flatten because of the end grain protruding through the top. I don’t buy it. Here are a few simple tricks that deflate that argument. 1. Start with ‘Stop Shavings’ When I flatten a French benchtop, the first thing...

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The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 8

As a furniture-maker, turning was always an uphill battle for me. Every turning tool requires a different touch and a different sharpening approach. The problem was that I never practiced enough to keep my skills up. So every time I picked up a skew, I was a baby turner again. A few years ago...