Interior of a Mechanic’s Workshop

I have stared at this painting for quite some time.  There is a lot to unpack from this one if you have any interest in hand tools.  This image is of a very organized workshop of a master craftsman plying his trade in the early 19th century.  I feel he is consulting with a client … Continue reading Interior of a Mechanic’s Workshop

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The Hardest Part of Learning to Sharpen

Wise words. Learning to really properly sharpen an edge tool by hand is an epiphany and makes wood and leatherworking a real joy.

The Literary Workshop Blog

The other day, I was teaching a friend to sharpen his plane iron, and it got me thinking about sharpening.  Of all the skills I have learned while working wood, sharpening has been the most life-changing. It started with chisels and plane irons, but then I began sharpening my kitchen knives and pocketknives.  I had no idea that steel could get so sharp!  It used to be that dull tools were merely inconvenient, but now I find a dull knife a heartbreaking disappointment.

I say this because I want to share a recent article on sharpening by Chris Schwarz, former editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine and current head of Lost Art Press.  In it, Schwarz reflects (well, more like pontificates) on how few woodworkers actually know how to sharpen an edge tool.  Even the some of the professionals who write for the big-name magazines often lack basic sharpening skills.  He…

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The Beginner’s List

A good post by Wesley from Wesleyworkswithwood. I like lists. I enjoy seeing tool lists that people think of as essential. I used to like the packing lists for backpacking that the Boy Scouts printed. I like the lists that traveling Buddhist monks put out as part of their order. Lists pare us down to the bare bones and make us think about what we have, what we need, and what we want. Head over to Wesley’s and get in on the discussion. It should be a grand old time.

wesleyworkswithwood

My beginner’s tool list:

  • Workbench
  • Panel cross-cut saw
  • Two back saws, one rip, one cross-cut
  • Stanley No. 5 Jack plane, or non-Stanley equivalent
  • One 3/4″ chisel
  • One 1/4″ mortise chisel
  • A Mallet
  • Two holdfasts
  • Two to four wooden handscrew clamps
  • Two to four 4 foot long bar clamps
  • One pint wood glue
  • Cut nails, 1″ long
  • Cut nails, 1 1/4″ long
  • Flat head screws, 1 1/4″
  • Sandpaper in grits 100, 160, 180, 220
  • Sharpening stones in rough, medium, and fine grits
  • Knock off of an eclipse sharpening jig
  • 12″ Combination Square
  • Marking Gauge
  • Marking Knife
  • 24″ Straightedge
  • Tape measure
  • 16 oz claw hammer
  • Set of screwdrivers
  • Drill with common bits in common sizes

This post got away from me. Here’s what I hope to get out of it: a conversation. Do you think someone could get started with what I’ve listed above? Can something be removed from that list?

I…

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