WoodSkills Issue 02 - Page 79


My six strategies address these issues in ways that are practical. There is probably something here for everyone. That’s my hope anyway. This list is not intended to teach you how to sharpen. I’m presuming you have already started down the path.

#1 -- Change your attitude

• There’s a Japanese saying that the wise woodworker doesn’t wait until the tools are dull before sharpening; he or she sharpens when they know the tools can be made better. Make sharpening a proactive, positive experience instead of a negative one. You’ll be much further ahead.

• Become the woodworker who sharpens his or her tools when you know you can make them better.

• Be realistic. Want to use hand tools at a high level? Sharpening is essential. In some circles sharpening really well is a given.

• Take this seriously. Show up. Have routines that work. Put in the time. The tools won’t sharpen themselves.

#2 -- Visualize

• Understand what sharp is.

• Understand what sharp tools can do. Have someone show you.

• Make decisions. Set goals. Sharp is relative to the work at hand. Not everyone needs to sharpen at extremely high levels.

• Not every tool for every job needs to be sharpened to the highest level. Not understanding the notion of ‘good enough’ can be incredibly inefficient. The tool that’s ‘good enough’ may not be perfect so long as it’s adequate for the task at hand.