Woodwork Tools Blog



Sharpening Your Woodwork Tools

Sharp woodwork tools are an essential part of successful woodworking, and working with sharp woodwork tools definitely increases the enjoyment achieved. In addition, it is my belief that a properly sharpened tool is actually safer – a well sharpened tool requires less force to move through the material, so less pressure is required by the user. In the event of a slip or accident, this could make a significant difference.
Unfortunately, successfully sharpening woodwork tools is not an easy process to master – it is certainly not something that I feel I have mastered yet, and I am constantly on the lookout for ways to improve my skills and technique. I am sure there are many others that feel the same as I do, so here are a number of links which I have found useful in trying to improve my sharpening skills:

A Guide to Honing and Sharpening – has an enormous amount of information on sharpening, and is a great place to start if you want to get definitions and descriptions of the basics of sharpening, as well as covering the process from start to finish

Sharpen Planes And Chisels Without Going Broke – appealing title if you have a woodwork tool budget like mine, and another site with a ton of information – quite long, but plenty of information, and, as stated on the home page he would “…rather keep it simple: pictures and words”
Sharpening a Plane Blade – this site runs through sharpening a plane blade (as you may have guessed), using what appears to be a much simpler process. She does use a sharpening guide (which I personally prefer not to – maybe this is why I have so much trouble??), however I am so impressed by the fact that she actually made the plane blade before sharpening it that I felt this link had to be included!
How To Hand Sharpen Blades Using Waterstones – this site has a great video of the sharpening process – very well filmed, and detailed instructions given.
Master Chisel Sharpener – this link is interesting as a contrast to the previous ones – this video shows how simple sharpening can be. In addition, it makes me feel a lot better about the state of my workshop!!
There are also a large number of commercial sharpening systems available, many of which seem to require little or no skill at all to achieve a satisfactory result. Whilst this may be true (or not), I have not tried any of these systems for a couple of reasons:
1. I am a bit of a traditionalist, and enjoy learning (or at least attempting to learn) the skills that have been used by the masters for generations, and
2. Space and cost – I don’t have the space in my workshop for every gadget around, which is good, because my budget normally doens’t stretch to buying everything that I could anyway…
Hopefully these links will be of benefit to you in advancing your sharpening skills, and getting more out of your woodwork tools!

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