Archive for the 'Sharpening' Category

May 13 2016

Save Time Sharpening With A Strop

The Old School of thought is to use your tools until way past dull when they start damaging the work, then break down and haul out your sharpening gear for a long messy sharpening session.

Now I know we all love the old school tools and ways of building things, but lock up your brakes here, stop the insanity.

What insanity? If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. In this case it’s a long dirty sharpening session. Are you ready to rethink this process? Good!

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Apr 28 2016

Tightening Up Your Craftsmanship

Craftsmanship in a word is just a word. We envision the ensemble of things we understand it to mean when we hear it, or think of it. We know what it is when we see it, on it’s face, we recognize it, but it is more than just a few simple words.

Busting a 2×4 in half with a sledge hammer is not an example of craftsmanship, it is however an example of demolition. The important thing to understand, while many people are capable of performing demolition, far fewer are capable of performing craftsmanship, even though they have the ability to recognize it, or even purchase such things for themselves.

But we all have the capacity to learn and do if we apply ourselves.

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Oct 28 2015

Maintenance Sharpening is Faster Sharpening.

Published by under Sharpening

Sharpening. To many, it’s do or dread and do anyway. Listen, it doesn’t have to be the chore that it can be, you just have to change the approach. We did and we offer the tools we developed to help make it easier for everyone.

Many of us have used the approach of working a tool until it is good and dull. The reason why is that it can be a lot of work to sharpen, so we hold out till we have to. There are two downsides to this. It is a lot of work to resharpen once you let tools get this dull, you sometimes have to rebuild the edges over again, and the other is that the indicators that we are this dull are that the tool is pushing hard, doing a poor job, or even starting to damage our work.

Why do we wait so long to sharpen?

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May 28 2015

If Sharpening Were Easier

If sharpening were easier, we all would likely do it more often.

We are working to help us all do exactly that.

Long story short; the work performed by a cutting edge will cause wear and dulling. A proportion of work must be performed to restore this cutting edge and the time spent is based on the amount of wear, the hardness of the steel and the sharpening abrasives you select.

There are two major ways you can approach sharpening.

Old School, where you run the edges into severe dullness and do a major reworking of them to restore them. (a common practice because people dislike sharpening, and it takes a while.)

New School, which is to sharpen rather continually as you work with fine abrasives so the edges rarely fail and keep cutting nicely.

It might surprise you, that even though the new school method is performed more frequently, it takes less time and effort. It can be done dry and quickly, getting you back to work and in the flow of things.

We make a couple styles of sharpening stations that target quality sharpening using either school, but they are a gateway to using the new school method. There are a few good reasons that our sharpening stations are designed the way they are. These are designs that evolved over time.

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Apr 30 2015

Tools for Creativity, Productivity, Art, and Fun

Some of the fun of being a toolmaker, is getting to be a woodworking evangelist. Talking with woodworkers and listening to what they hope to do in woodworking. Stories of wishing it were easier to make something, but oh for the lack of this tool or that. I understand. I always enjoy hearing from clients who have had their tooling we custom made for them awhile and to hear how it has made the different things they wanted to make possible, and easier.

Some of the things that have been shared with me are interesting. Epiphany level stuff a lot of the time. On the shooting board equation I recall things like; “I have thousands invested in hand planes, but I am also expecting high accuracy from a quickly made jig from scraps. I’m finding that doesn’t work a lot of the time.” “I’m on my fourth shooting board now, and I am just tired of trying to get or keep accuracy.” “I want to make intricate things with small parts, but my machines seem too risky to use for that.” “I have so many ideas, but my tools don’t seem to be able to get me close enough to accomplish it.” Making a high accuracy shooting board is harder than it seems.”

On the topic of Sharpening, I’ve listened. I hear things like: “I know I should sharpen more often, but it’s a bother, and so messy.” I spend so much time having to maintain my water stones that I hate to use them”.”I just wait to sharpen until I can’t get my tools to work anymore, because working is way more fun.” “I have such a small shop, there’s just no room to sharpen and have it be easy.”

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Apr 23 2015

Imagine Woodworking – Easier

Woodworking is a field of endeavor filled with imagination. Wood has not stopped capturing our imagination for centuries.

Wood has been used to build bridges that carry trains and large wooden ships. We have shaped it into airplanes. It has been used for housing, barns, aircraft hangars, and other large buildings. We cut and shave it into veneers and small delicate pieces that form beautiful images, and screens. We dye it, stain it, paint it, weatherize it. We ask everything of wood from engineering to art, and it rarely disappoints.

Wood asks a few things of us in exchange for forming and shaping it as it yields to us and our requirements.

For best results, wood has taught us it’s best methods for working it through practice and observation. If we learn these ways, and pay attention to the details while we work things come together pretty nicely, most of the time.

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Sep 13 2014

On Sharpening Better – Part 3

Using materials in the sharpening process that cut fast, while retaining a flat sharpening surface is good criteria. This is why powered sharpening gear uses a platen beneath the abrasives, otherwise we would have no reference for our work, and desired results would be difficult to achieve with repeatability. While messy aspects of sharpening can not be completely eliminated, what if we could minimize them?

The mess and clutter of the ensemble that is sharpening gear, along with the associated set up and clean up of the process, so it works well is also in the equation. There is only so much space to begin with, and the mess becomes part of the inertia that causes us to wait longer than we should to sharpen in the first place.

Or we have precious little space to begin with, so we would have to stop and set a process aside in order to make space for sharpening, then do that, clean up and stow before resuming the woodworking process.

It isn’t any wonder why we avoid sharpening until the last minute, even as that makes the task as difficult to accomplish as any can be.

I don’t think it really has to be that way. I’ve developed some different ways of thinking about the sharpening process and some tools that help fit them. They reduce sharpening effort with no cost to edge quality.

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Aug 28 2014

Recent New Tool Releases for Fall 2014

The 2014-2015 woodworking season is upon us, And we wanted to share a bit about what’s new here with everyone!

We have recently released a Sharpening Station System called the Magstrop™. It offers the ability to sharpen quickly and easily, using horse butt and suede leather strops, as well as glass platens for use with sandpaper’s from very coarse to microfine grits. The Magstrop sharpening system is expandable, and we have future plans for that but for now I’ll just say there is more coming soon.

We developed the Magstrop with several desires in mind…

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Aug 24 2014

On Sharpening Better Part 2

In my last post, I discussed sharpening and how changing our thinking about it as well as some of the gear used to perform it could be improved.

We covered steels and their improvements, Abrasives and their evolving improvements as well. I also touched on the learning process of sharpening, and how a lot of what we know about it comes through trial and error. When we find a sub process of sharpening that works for us, we stick with that, and usually that is good, and other times it can limit us so that we stop pushing to find better.

It is true, the sharpening process is a series of smaller processes, that depend on a lot of material factors, and the user’s experience of knowing which factor is being observed so the right process for that factor can be applied at the right time. This is an evaluative matrix of solutions that come from knowledge and experience. It can save us time, but if we miscalculate, we can spend more time. It is developed practice to be sure.

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Aug 20 2014

On Sharpening Better.

If we read and follow what is written on sharpening, we learn there have been debates. It’s all good, we all understand what we understand. It’s a developed perception, and those perceptions reflect what we understand at the point we’re at.

I am not here to debate. But I am here to share some thoughts I feel are worth considering if we want to become better at sharpening.

Depending on where one finds themselves on the sharpening learning curve, our current place on that curve is influential to our thinking on the matter. True, no matter if we are novice, proficient or between.

People are different. Some roll with the first thing that works for them and settle in. At the other end of the spectrum, are the adventurous who push the envelope, always. There is value in both types, and both can offer valuable advice and opinion. I’ve learned it is good to understand that there is always a mix, it is good to be willing to adapt, and more we can learn if we keep an open beginner’s mind.

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