WoodSkills Issue 02 - Page 80

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#3 – Understand Fundamentals

• You need to know what you are doing. A little sharpening theory will help you modify your methods to suit a new situation. Take a class. Books on sharpening by Leonard Lee and Ron Hock are the industry bibles. Christopher Schwarz wrote a book on Handplanes that has 40 pages on sharpening.

• There are many acceptable methods. All of them work; some ‘better’ than others. Any significant differences usually relate to convenience, speed and cost. There are compromises when we make equipment choices. Do your research. Seek advice. Remember that most people do most things a little bit differently. You can start by copying someone you trust and, over time, modify the methodology to make it your own.

• Eliminate drudgery. Get some kind of grinder or, at the very least, a coarse diamond plate.

• Understand the purpose of primary and micro bevels. Use wire edges (burrs) properly.

• Don’t waste your time perfecting the polish on the primary bevel. Leave it as it came from the grinder. It never touches wood. Focus your attention on the micro bevel.

• If you are using waterstones, make sure to regularly lap them flat. How often? Every 5-10 minutes of use works for me.