The Pleasure of Working with Sharp Tools
There is a phrase which keeps cropping up on or after my short courses. It goes something like this;
“I wish I had come on your tool tuning and sharpening course 5, 10 or 20 years ago.”
It is absolutely clear to me that many amateurs and a few professionals too, have been struggling with less than satisfactory tools for years. They assume that this struggle is their own fault, or lack of skill, when in fact it is not.
Many manufacturers of the last century supplied tools which were merely a crude kit of parts which did not work well. Bench planes are the best example of this unfortunate fact.
I also believe that sharpening is generally very badly taught and that the waterstones we have today produce a sharper edge, much faster and than oilstones. It is difficult to appreciate true sharpness untill you are shown it. How is an individual to know that his sharpening is not as good as his neighbour’s if they do not compare and use each others tools?
The following quote from George Schumacher of Louisiana, is posted with his permission, a perfect example.
“After returning home and putting the techniques learned in Hartland into operation I discovered my work to have improved dramatically. Can you believe that I am, after 30 years of piddling with wood, now finishing projects with a hand plane, faster, and more efficiently than ever before! My goal of no more sanding dust is now secondary to the newfound thrill of working with sharp tools. Thank You David!! I wish I had attended your course 30 years ago.”
The good news is that this revelation is available after a mere five days.