I like to sharpen things — knives, axes, chisels, plane blades, drill bits — and I have for a long time. It is something that I learned to do as a young person, working with grinding wheels and oilstones. When I started woodworking, I learned a bit more, purchased a whole set of sharpening stones, and proceeded to put super-sharp edges on all sorts of items (and gained the benefit of using truly sharp tools).
At some point, I became aware that a lot of woodworkers find sharpening not only annoying, but also a bit baffling. Which is understandable — as my friend Ian Kirby points out, sharpening is metalworking, not woodworking. In some ways, I wonder if it is a bit like sanding … something that woodworkers will go to great ends to avoid, and then not bother to learn the most effective way to do it.
So I am asking you all: When it comes to sharpening your tools … Are you good at it? Do you enjoy it? Avoid it?
Give it to me straight; I can take it!
Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal