Sharp Tools and My Odd Discovery

It took me a while to realize the value of sharp tools. For a very long time I was not a big fan of hand planes. I was of the opinion that newer methods were available for these same tasks, so they must be better. It all stemmed from a bad experience with edged tools early in my woodworking career. I used an old hand plane, and it worked terribly. I was too new to understand that the iron just needed a good honing.

The Book Store is Now Open!   Happy Building!

My odd discovery of sharp tools:

sharp toolsI had all but checked out when I got the wild idea to make my own hand plane a few years later. I saw the Krenov style hand planes that were being made by talented woodworkers online. Once I saw them, I knew I had to make one.

In the course of researching the Krenov method, I also ran into article after article about how to put an incredibly sharp edge on the plane iron. The fact that I kept seeing it over and over again made me read a few of these articles, and then buy a nice combination water stone.

Before I placed my iron in the plane, I had it honed to 4000 grit on the water stone, and I was able to shave hair from my arm with it.

Once I made my hand plane, and used it for the first time, the experience was magical. I spent at least half an hour planing the edge of a board clamped in a vise. The slices were so thin you could read through them. I made a huge pile of plane shavings that day, and from that point on I was in love with sharp tools.

sharp toolsThis is my first ever hand plane. It would not win any beauty contests, for sure, but it works like a champ. I really love how you can adjust these wooden hand planes with a tap of a hammer on the front or back side.

Free Woodworking Tips Delivered Every Monday! Add Me to the List!

If the cut is a little too much, a small tap on the back side retracts the blade. Too thin, and a tap on the front fixes that too.

I had a nice looking piece of Bocote that I used for the faces of the plane, with the center and wedge from Maple. The dowel is Poplar, and much larger than it needs to me. A small mistake in the angle of my drill press table lead to the hole being off center. I had to drill it a second time, and it needed to be large enough for the only dowel I still had available in the shop. I was so excited to use my new hand plane, that I did not want to have to rush to the store again for another dowel.

Attention New Woodworkers!a beginners guide to woodworking book to help new woodworkers make betterwoodworking projects

Don't let woodworking overwhelm you. Inside my book you will learn:
  • My exact process for breaking down any project.
  • How to pick out projects with high success rates.
  • Tips and tricks to avoid common mistakes.
  • 586 information packed pages.

Buy My Book Now on Amazon!

The value in working with sharp tools:

sharp toolsSince my first hand plane, I have made several more. They ranged in size from smaller units, to large jointer planes. Once I discovered that a sharp iron in a hand plane was like cutting wood with magic, I ended up using these tools all the time.

If you have been wanting to use a hand plane, or had a bad experience with a hand plane or another edged tool, try sharpening it.

Do a little looking around and find a nice book on sharpening. Once you put a razor sharp edge on your plane iron, the experience will be night and day. In fact, you will end up using that tool far more than you ever did before.

I use my first hand plane all the time to remove the bulk from something that I have to sand flush, and it works faster than my orbital sander. It also doesn’t make scratches around what I am trying to sand. Then, I sand the rest of the way flush with a sanding block.

This entire experience is all owed to Mr. Krenov, who designed a wooden hand plane that can be made by anyone. It works very well, and every woodworker should own one.

If you have any questions on sharp tools, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest! Happy building.

Free Woodworking Tips Delivered Every Monday! Add Me to the List!

 

More From Westfarthing Woodworks

woodworking and guitar making books
Buy My Woodworking Books on Amazon!

I give away the majority of my woodworking, wood finishing, and guitar making tips, but I also have several books if you want to take the next step.

You can see them in my Book Store, and they are all on Amazon.

Also, if you want to Join the Facebook Group, you can do that as well. We are just starting to grow a fantastic community and I would love for you to be part of it. 

 

Leave a Comment

An Exclusive Member of Mediavine Home

Westfarthing Woodworks LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.