Sharpening

Sharpening is the gateway skill to getting good results from all of your edge tools – and it’s particularly important to know how to do it right when you start using hand tools. (The expensive handplane or chisel that isn’t performing like you thought it would? It’s probably the blade – and that’s an easy fix.) Here, Popular Woodworking Magazine editors and contributing editors teach you how to sharpen saws, handplane blades, chisels, marking knives and more. Plus, you’ll find reviews books and videos on sharpening, a look a powered sharpening systems and quick fixes for commercial sharpening jigs.

Sharpening hand tools is fast and easy with Steve Maxwell's setup.

Sharpening Hand Tools: A Woodworker’s Journey

Sometimes the journey of becoming a skilled woodworker takes you down paths that didn’t seem important at first. Sharpening hand tools was one of those paths for me. Actually, there were two paths involved. It all started when I got serious about woodworking in the early 1980s. There was a good...

Make Convex Sharpening Forms for Round Edge Tools 

Which tools are my favorites? Well, they are divided into a few categories. Sentimentality & fidelity: These are tools that I inherited from my dad or my grandfather, or that were gifted to me by loved ones and friends, as well as tools that I purchased early on in my woodworking journey...

Sharpening Shortcuts

It goes without saying that there is a renewed interest in hand tool woodworking, and much has been written on the topic, and that’s great because there really is a lot to know about these tools that are “new” to many woodworkers. That said, my experience with hand tools has taught...

The Church of ‘Leave me Alone, Please’

During the last 17 years that I have been using a honing guide to sharpen, I’ve been approached (sometimes nearly assaulted) by people who want to teach me to sharpen freehand. My response: “I sharpen freehand all the time.” They don’t believe me, and so they spend an hour or so...

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...

A Trickier Ruler Trick for Router Planes

Sharpening router plane blades can be no fun. For years now, I’ve made things easier for myself by honing the flat back of the iron through the grits and then removing the “burr” from the bevel with a polishing stone. This is way faster than trying to hone and polish the...

MWA Chats with Ron Hock, of Hock Tools

Download podcast episode No. 10 from the Modern Woodworkers Association (also known as MWA) to listen to an almost hour-long chat with Ron Hock, the owner and founder of Hock Tools, and author of “The Perfect Edge” (in which you’ll find just about everything you’d want to know about tool steel...