DIY Tools: Sharpening Your Woodwork Tools

One of the biggest satisfactions you could experience when you get interested in tools is taking a dull blade and putting a good sharp edge on it—an edge sharp enough to shave a hair off the back of your hand.

The small piece of natural stone which each carpenter of the eighteenth century brought along with him for putting an edge on his tools, as well as the large mill-cut circular stone that was turned around using a handle or a foot treadle, has gone out of style since we have learned to make stones that serve our purposes better. The small bench stone, driven by a hand crank, which some carpenters bring, is typically made of natural emery crushed to varying grades of fineness. Artificial materials done in the electric furnace, like corundum, alundum, and carbide of silicon, are crushed, sifted, molded, and baked to form stones of every size, shape, and degree of fineness necessary.

image via Wikipedia
For the novice, the common oilstone with a rough surface on one side and a fine surface on the other is all that is needed. If, in the course of time, you feel that the edges and bevels of your tools are worn down badly, it may be essential to have them professionally ground so that you could start all over again, unless you wish to buy or borrow a revolving stone where in you do your own grinding.

The grinding of edged tools is best achieved on a tit sandstone grindstone, since there is then no danger o burning or drawing the temper from the steel. If a dry emery stone is used, the tool should be dipped many times in water to keep it cool.

An improved slow-speed electric grinder having a special wheel and an excellent control mechanism is available. This grinder is highly satisfactory, though it uses a dry wheel.

Article by: TW