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Sharpening Angles for Dullards

The most embarrassing jig I’ve ever owned has been photographed, measured and pondered more than any single piece of fine furniture I’ve built. It’s a stupid little block of wood with stops on it for many common sharpening angles I use with my side-clamp honing guide – sometimes called the “Eclipse” guide because that...

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Another Great Place for Saws & Saw Sharpening

There are still millions of excellent vintage saws in the world, and the only thing standing between them rusting or chewing through wood is a good sharpening. Many beginning woodworkers are intimidated by sharpening their saws. That’s OK. When you are ready, buy these two DVDs from Ron Herman (“Sharpen Your Handsaws” and “Handsaws:...

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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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Sharpening with Diamond Lapping Film

Almost every system for sharpening tools works just fine, so the differences between the systems come down to speed, expense, portability and mess. In December, Lee Valley Tools started carrying diamond lapping film for sharpening edge tools. I kind of ignored it as I was busting my hump building a Campaign Secretary under a...

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Ron Herman’s DVD on Saw Sharpening

One of my goals in this job has been to help produce a saw sharpening video that makes sense of all the dogma about this simple task. Should you set the teeth before or after you file them? Should you sharpen fleam from one side of the saw? Or turn the saw around to...

Sharpening Pencils… and Geese

MemoDate: October 28, 2011To: Steve Shanesy, publisherFrom: Christopher Schwarz, editorRe: New Revenue Sources for 2011 With the recent rejection of my new ideas for revenue for FY2011 (see previous memos on “Five Editors Need Only Five Kidneys,” “PWM Plasma Clinic” and “Bake Sales”), I have finally settled on an untapped source of revenue that...

Sharpening: The Lies of the Eyes

Isshi Yamada never said much to me when I was dating his daughter in college. To us Western students who studied Eastern religions, he was an enigmatic Zen Buddhism professor who was famous for giving exams that bordered on the surreal. Most of my memories of Dr. Yamada put him sitting at his dining...

What I Don't Get About Sharpening Stones

Thanks to the steady stream of tools that flow in and out of our shop, I do a lot of sharpening. I set up more tools from scratch than I care to admit. And I wear out sharpening stones. Last week I noticed that my #1,000-grit Shapton Glasstone was getting wafer thin. This is...

Steve Cooke, 'The Sharpening Guy,' Dies at 61

I’m sad to announce that the world has lost another good saw sharpener. Steve Cooke, 61, of York, Pa., died on March 17. Cooke was the founder of Cooke’s Sharpening Service, which specialized in sharpening all forms of edge tools. But Cooke had a special place in his heart for saws, and he had...