Ignoring Good Advice

August 14, 2011 § 2 Comments

“To assemble your sharpening kit I recommend an incremental approach, beginning with the least amount of investment. It’s not that I don’t want you to spend money, but I would hate to have you waste buying stuff you won’t use”   – Ron Hock, from The Perfect Edge

“When you pick a sharpening system, think of it as an old-fashioned wedding. You should devote yourself to one system. Spurn all others.”   -Christopher Schwarz, from The Anarchist’s Tool Chest

“There are so many methods and jigs on the market today, grinders and guides, stones and abrasives. In properly trained hands all of them have the potential to work, just pick one or two and go at it.”   – Tom Fidgeon, from Made By Hand, Furniture Projects from the Unplugged Woodshop

I'm thinking about ordering some more waterstones.


Ron Hock’s The Perfect Edge, The Ultimate Guide to Sharpening for Woodworkers  is a terrific book on sharpening for woodworkers. He breaks down the steps to sharpening into simple, easy to understand fundamentals. Buy it directly from Ron and he will give you 10 dollars towards purchasing any of his other products (you know you will buy one of his blades at some point so that’s free money). 

The Complete Guide to Sharpening by Leonard Lee is the classic book on sharpening for woodworking. This is the book that every professional woodworking shop and school in the country has on their shelf. Incredibly comprehensive – if your tool isn’t in here, it probably isn’t worth sharpening.


§ 2 Responses to Ignoring Good Advice

  • Jeff says:

    Thanks for the link to my blog – I hope an entry or two is useful to your readers.

    As you know, sharpening is one of my obsessions. Is it possible to have “too many” stones? Maybe. but one thing that I have discovered, and many others have too, is that stones vary in the way they remove steel. I don’t mean this in the sense that a 1200 grit stone is coarser than a 4000 grit stone. I mean that I can take two chisels from the same manufacturer, purchased in the same set at the same time, and feel a difference on the SAME stone.

    Japanese tools are the same. In fact, the really refined Japanese woodworkers often use a separate finishing stone for each iron. That’s saying a lot, because high-quality natural Japanese finishing stones can cost a great deal of money.

    So too many stones? Maybe not, if you are really after a long-lasting, sharp edge.

    Keep up the good work!



    • Eric Bushèe says:

      Jeff – thanks for the comment. Yes, I’ve certainly seen differences between stones and steel and different combinations thereof. I try really hard not to be a collector of tools (e.g. having 8 smoothing planes), but I’ve definitely acquired my fair share of sharpening abrasives. Some are modest in price, so it’s easy to justify. Others, like the Sigma’s I just got from Japan, are more of a splurge (but they are worth it). One thing on the “to build” list is a sharpening station, if for nothing else to store my sharpening stuff. Take care, and I hope to see you around at Gary’s place one of these days.

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