There are many questions that I hear from new woodworkers once I educate:

Is it cheaper to make your personal furnishings?

Do I would like a tablesaw to construct furnishings?

Can I depart my job and earn the identical quantity from woodworking?

The solutions to all of the above are a heartfelt “no,” by the way in which. However, the most typical questions I get are round sharpening. Specifically, how do I do know when my edge is sharp sufficient?

Now I do know that I’m wading into harmful waters right here. Discussing something about sharpening within the gentle of day may be treacherous. I discover that woodworkers are fairly easygoing about most issues, however typically not with regards to sharpening. In the next sentences I’m not suggesting that you’re doing something fallacious or that it is advisable change what you’re doing. I’m merely explaining my ideas and expertise on the topic. If you are feeling upset, then please shut the browser window and stroll away.

To my thoughts, the easy reply is: when it’s sharp sufficient to do the job. Not all my instruments are sharpened to the identical stage. They are sharpened effectively sufficient for the duty that they do. If I needed to guess, I might say that my block airplane is the sharpest just by the character of the work it has to do. End-grain work calls for probably the most from a blade to get a clear lower. This is totally different from my Stanley No. 5 that is used as a scrub airplane. It’s doing coarse work and doesn’t have to be practically as sharp because the block airplane.

My smoothing planes are typically a lot sharper than my scrub planes, once more due to the character of the work being completed. A little bit of tearout from a scrub airplane is simply fantastic by me, however when smoothing I need lovely and lustrous surfaces. On the subject of chisels, my paring and bench chisels are all super-sharp, however my mortise chisels should not on the similar stage. Mortising with a chisel is helped alongside by a mallet, so it doesn’t have to be as sharp.

I used to make use of numerous stones, and now I take advantage of a Tormek* to sharpen the instruments in my store. If I require a mirror polish on my instruments, then I’ll end off with the leather-based wheel with some honing compound. The honing compound sits at three microns which fits me simply fantastic. I’ve gone additional than this, right down to 0.5 microns, and from what I can inform, there are diminishing returns to going finer than three microns. I’m not a sharpener, I’m a woodworker, so I don’t trouble going additional with the sharpening if it doesn’t warrant it.

As I mentioned at first, this is only one woodworker’s ideas on the topic. I sharpen as a result of I have to, not as a result of I benefit from the course of. I need to be on the sharpening station for as little time as potential so I can get again to the a part of the craft that I do take pleasure in. All the surfaces that I get with my numerous instruments work for me and I’m proud of them. I all the time say “in order to understand, you must do” so sharpen in a approach that works for you. In the top, should you’re proud of the outcomes you’re getting, then you needn’t fear in regards to the “latest” this and the “gotta have” that. You can simply do your factor and get again to the duty at hand.

Until subsequent time,


*Vic runs Vic Tesolin Woodworks, and is a Tormek supplier.

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