We have a new “Kit of the Month” – Sharpening Essentials – available now in our store, which includes Ron Hock’s stellar book “The Perfect Edge” as well as a side-clamp honing guide, “The Last Word on Sharpening” DVD by Christopher Schwarz and “Sharpen your Handsaws” DVD by Ron Herman, as well as several articles on sharpening. In other words, the kit has the essentials to help you tackle one of the fundamental skills in woodworking: sharpening. (Right up there with “measure twice, cut once” is “sharp fixes everything” on my list of must-known aphorisms.)
To give you a little preview of what you’ll find in the kit, below is an excerpt from “The Perfect Edge” on rehabbing metal spokeshaves and sharpening spokeshave blades. (And for those of you who don’t already know, Ron and his wife, Linda Rosengarten, own Hock Tools.)
Metal spokeshaves are simply short-soled, bevel-down planes without cap irons. So what, you say? Well, in order for a spokeshave to make fine shavings, and hence, fine surfaces, most of the tuning requirements mentioned above for planes apply to your spokeshave.
Take it apart and clean it up as needed. Sharpen the blade – the procedure is the same as it is for plane irons – but before re-installing the blade in the spokeshave, take a look at the ramp where it beds. The average cast-iron spokeshave is a fairly rough affair as it comes from the factory. If the ramp is rough with casting bumps (and they usually are) and covered with a heavy coat of paint (ditto) remove the screw and use a file to dress the ramp reasonably flat and smooth. You want the blade to bear down on the ramp uniformly. Don’t go to extremes; reasonably good contact along the mouth opening and a few more contacts distributed evenly around the rest of the ramp should suffice. Polish the lever-cap a bit as its as close to a shaving-diverter that you possess in a spokeshave (no cap iron) and a little attention will help prevent shavings from clogging as they bump into the too-steep, leading edge of the clamp ramp. Flatten and polish the sole, too.
Wooden spokeshaves are very handy tools for jobs that require a short sole and a low-angle cutter. They make a great do-it-yourself tool-making proect, too. But the threaded posts can make sharpening difficult. A narrow stone, or a piece of MDF with sandpaper just for this purpose, can make honing easier. Or, you can simply hang the posts over the edge and sharpen side to side. Don’t forget to flatten and polish the back.
In Ron’s book – included in our Sharpening Essentials kit, you’ll discover how to sharpen all types of tools – both hand and power. Plus, you’ll learn what sharp really means, all about steel and more. Order Sharpening Essentials now!