Sharp tools are essential to doing good work, but when I was getting into woodworking, I didn’t really know where to start. And I was scared of ruining chisels and planes. But I didn’t use chisels and planes much, because they were doing more harm than good (because they never were sharp enough). That fear went away once I read The Perfect Edge.
In hindsight, it really was a fear of the unknown. I was just beginning to understand wood – how it moves, how to read grain direction, why I loved working with black walnut (despite my tree nut allergy). Plus there were all of the power tools I was learning to use, and their blades were just dropped off at a sharpening service when they got dull. I hadn’t even considered how metal works – I just had a vague feeling of when something was no longer sharp.
The Perfect Edge takes you through sharpening from the beginning, making no assumptions about what you already know (very helpful for beginners).