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How To Hone/sharpen Your Tools?


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I recently got a jack plane, spokeshave, and a few finger planes, now all of the blades on these tools are brand new and have not been honed yet, as I am still faily new to woodworking, and guitar building in general, I would really like to know how to properly sharpen my blades so that I dont ruin my tools.

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Ok, my english is not really good on this subject, but ill give it a try :D

Start out on a sharpening machine (the one with a round stone in both ends rotating) The edge of the blade should be around 22.5 degrees.. It doesent have to be that precise, but thats the standard on most chisels. (a smaller angle for softer wood and a bigger angle for harder wood could be used, but it is not that important)

Check if the blade is in a 90 degree angle and if it is straight all the way.. If not, continiue with the machine until it is B)

Be careful that the iron doesent get too warm and turn blue while you sharpen it on the machine. When it gets blue, it gets soft, and soft blades are worth nothing. Dip it in water to cool it down.

When the edge of the blade is "round" (hollow) you should use a normal sharpening stone. Start with a rough stone. just slide over the stone a few times, and then its time for the fine stone.

Be sure that the fine stone is always wet when using it. turn the blade over when sharpening it, so you "sharpen" the "back" of it. Swich sides reguraly, and do it more and more, until you only slide over the stone once.

To test if the blade is sharp, slide your thumb nail gently over the edge of the blade. if you feel any bumps, you still need to do some sharpening..

When you are finished, the edge should still be "round" or "hollow". This makes it easier to sharpen the blade, because you dont have to use the machine every time, and because you only have to remove material at the two opposite ends of the hollow rounding at the end of the blade.. If you get the picture :D

It takes some practise to get good at sharpening blades, but this is the basic principle i use.. I know that some people do it differently, but this is what i have leaned.. And my blades get really really sharp :D

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I use THESE. Use them on a smooth surface, as a surface with texture will show through the paper and mess up you sharpening (I used to use them on melamine, then switched to a glass plate). I also have a fancy honing guide that is awesome, definately use some type of honing guide when doing chisels and plane blades. I get my blades RAZOR sharp with this method and can get wicked thin shaving from my planes:


For gouges I use the gouge to carve a channel the exact shape of the gouge in a soft wood like cedar, then fit the honing paper in and run the gouge through it. I also quickly hone the opposite edge of my blades to ensure a razor fine edge.

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Honing Guide

I just ordered one of these.  A neighbor has one and it works great to get the angles right.

That's the one I have, you'll love it!

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