Blog — Sharpening RSS

The Whetstone Quarry

Roy Underhill's books, I believe, are vastly underrated. It seems that every page contains not only loads of useful information about hand-tool woodworking, but historical context, interesting anecdotes, folklore, and typical Roy hilarity. Really, stuff that you can't find anywhere else. Paging through one of his books (The Woodwright's Companion) recently, I stumbled upon a short chapter about whetstones. The popular opinion of today is that we need a wide array of dead-flat, precisely-graded sharpening stones in order to keep our tools sharp and usable, but this isn't the case historically. Roy mentions that in many old towns in Europe, the stone step of the stairway of a certain house was often discovered incidentally to be a good whetstone, and...

Continue reading

How To Restore A Hand Plane

  There is nothing like being able to tune-up an antique hand plane to put it work like it was meant to but sometimes folks are unsure about how to properly and carefully restore them without ruining their value and character. In this new YouTube video above, I share my minimalistic and pragmatic approach to restoring the hand planes found in second hand stores. I deal with general cleaning, restoring the finish on the wooden handles, sharpening the iron, and basic setup for planing. This 20-minute video is aimed at giving a good introduction without overwhelming you with minutia. Enjoy! Subscribe to our YouTube channel if you would like to see more of this kind of content! For more info on...

Continue reading

Axe Maintenance: Touching up an Edge

  Regular readers know my work philosophy is pretty laid back. I don’t sweat tear out on secondary surfaces, I think knots are fine for drawer parts and back boards, etc… That’s why when it comes to axe edge maintenance, some might be surprised at how fastidious I am about keeping it tip top. Some folks don’t feel a need to keep up on their coarser tools but I don’t buy that distinction. When your coarse prep relies on human muscle rather than machines, a keen edge is your best friend. I’ve wasted too much time straining myself working with dull tools. Saving two minutes of sharpening only to grunt through 20 minutes of miserable work is dumb. It’s simply...

Continue reading