Sharpening weekends

Weekend sharpening and blade preparation course

The aim of this course is to get your tools as sharp as mine!
Every year at shows I see people’s jaws dropping with amazement when they use my planes and chisels. The planes take tissue thin shavings (0.001″ thick) with practically no effort, leaving a polished surface which cannot be improved by sanding. The chisels leave a polished surface and cut with minimum effort.
It is very beneficial to replace the standard plane blade with a thick, high quality replacement iron. The new materials available today will hold an edge significantly longer than a carbon steel blade. Cryogenically treated A2 blades by Ron Hock are available from Classic Hand Tools.


On the first day we deal with chisel sharpening, grinding, preparation and some technique. The requirements for “sharpness” are investigated with the aid of a 40x microscope. The main work is to prepare a flat polished back, removing all trace of the manufacturers grinding scratches. I prefer Japanese water stones as they are affordable, cut faster than any other medium and produce the best edge. However they wear fast and we must anticipate this wear in the way we use them. It is fatal to use a water stone in the same way one uses an oil stone! Razor sharp edges are more a question of equipment and technique than years of skill and practice.


On Sunday morning we learn a reliable and repeatable method of producing a curved edge on a plane blade, once the back has been flattened and the ‘ruler trick’ explained. I demonstrate the use of a cambered edge for essential edge-planing and squaring technique. We will consider the benefits of changing the amount of curvature for different types of work. We will cover the preparation of chip-breaker edges if there is time.
Workshop hours 9am-1pm and 2-5pm

Essential tools:
At least 2 chisels, more if you wish, one should be new. Recommended sizes 1/2″, 5/8″ and 3/4″ (12mm, 16mm, 18mm).
Stanley and Record Planes – You may want to fit a thicker, 2.4mm, high quality Hock blade, which is much recommended. Hock come in carbon steel which is the easiest to sharpen, and A2 steel which keeps you planing longer. These blades are available (with a discount of 10%) from Classic Hand Tools Limited Online Catalogue tel. 01473 784983
It is very helpful if you can bring paper for notes.
Please call David on 01237 441288 to discuss the tools you will be bringing, between 6-7pm is a good time to phone.