Thursday, July 23, 2015
It is curious how often the issue of sharpening tools crops up. Many people I talk to say they can get a reasonable edge on tools, but then comment that they are sure that whatever edge they can get could be better. We all know that incorrectly sharpened or blunt tools are a pain in the proverbial, but if one is not shown how to sharpen, how does one know if something is correct or it is sharp? Not all tools from the manufacturers are sharp. That said, all of the main manufacturers do have a functional angle on the bevel for us to follow. But if one is not well versed with the nuances of sharpening and honing, even this can create a problem. There is also the issue that some tools are easier to sharpen than others. The "V"-tool is one that crops up regularly and the most often for vexing people.
I do not have a solution to the sharpening issue other than there are numerous routes one can take and it is a case of finding one that works for you. The key is finding one that is simple to do and easily repeatable. The more complex it is the more daunting it is for people.
A quick trawl of the internet yielded 555,000 results. With numerous YouTube clips and website and book references as to systems and processes and, of course, lots of kit available to help with the process. So there is plenty of choice as to finding things, but the bottom line is that any process takes time to master and that requires one to do a given job - in this case, sharpening - over and over again until it becomes familiar and second nature.
Think of driving a car, when we learn we have to think about every aspect of hand, eye and foot movement to gear changes and all the other things involved, but after a while we get in synch with the process and it become automatic as far as changing gears and such like, but of course never is the observation part. That is always an active process. This is no different to sharpening. After a while aspects become fluid and in synch and the active looking part keeps you up to date with what is happening at all times. Let me know what system you use for sharpening your tools.
(PHOTOGRAPH BY GMC/MARK BAKER)