Wednesday 5 August 2015
There is no fool like the one at the bench who tries to sharpen their scraper and consistently gets only dust for his efforts. I was that fool. Perhaps I got a shaving or two on one side or the other of this blade. I could get 60% of my scraper sharp, it was just that I couldn't predict which side of the blade it would be sharp on. The key I learned was accurate filing. The blade, the burnisher and the stone, were all of limited importance - it was the filing that was the key to success.
One day, frustrated by my inabilities, I thought to myself, what if? 'What if' leads us to possibilities: what if it takes us to places we hadn't thought of and what if it opens doors? What if I placed the scraper flat on my bench hook and held the metal smoothing file right up against the edge of the bench hook? This was at 90° then and so my filing would be more accurate. And it was. It's a bit tricky to hold onto everything in place here so I adapted this geometry and moved the file to the vice, locked it in place and pulled the scraper past it. And voila! This gave a straight edge again, thanks to the flatness of my file, but it was also square since the vice on my bench was close enough to square with my bench top. With a good edge, and I could tell by the filings turned onto both faces of the edge, I could move on with confidence.
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