Work Sharp Sharpening System User Manual

Work Sharp Tools

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Getting the Most out of the Work Sharp

Sharpening System

Text and Photos by Jerry Work

One of the great benefits from having my studio and small gallery where I design and
handcraft fine furniture located in the 1907 former Masonic Temple building in historic
Kerby, OR, is that I get frequent visitors who stop to see my work or just to chat. The
ones who are woodworkers range all the way from well known professionals to ad-
vanced hobbyists and to those just beginning their learning process. After the exchange
of pleasantries and (hopefully) some oogling and ogeling around the gallery, the con-
versation often turns to the layout of the studio or the tools and techniques I employ.

It is during that part
of the conversation
that the question is
normally asked
about how I
sharpen my hand
cutting tools. Most
everyone I know
sends out power
cutting tools, such
as saw blades,
shaper cutters and
router bits, to a
specialized sharp-
ening service, but
nearly everyone
tries to sharpen
their chisels, plane
blades, lathe tools
and carving tools
themselves. And,
most everyone expresses some level of
frustration trying to do so.

They read about people who are able to
put a “perfect” edge on these tools and
see pictures of the long curl of wood
shavings coming from a well tuned and

sharpened plane, but few have been able
to achieve such “perfect” edges by the
techniques they have used in the past,
hence the frustration.

Once in a while a visitor will be one of
those for whom the act of sharpening, the
process itself, is the end they are after.