Lie-Nielsen's sharpening expert shares a surefire method for getting a keen edge every time
Synopsis: Sharpening doesn’t have to be frustrating and mysterious. You can get and keep a keen edge on handplane blades and chisels and you don’t have to break the bank to do it. Lie-Nielsen’s sharpening expert shares the method he has been teaching at workshops across the country, using a honing guide, sandpaper, waterstones, a ruler, and a shopmade sharpening station.
For many woodworkers, sharpening plane irons and chisels is an intimidating and frustrating task. I’ve traveled the country teaching and demonstrating sharpening and hand-tool techniques for Lie-Nielsen Toolworks for the past nine years, and I’ve met plenty of woodworkers who struggle to get a consistently sharp edge on their tools and are convinced that sharpening is beyond their reach.
Sharpening doesn’t have to be difficult and mysterious. The method I’ll show you combines ideas I’ve picked up over 25 years of working with hand tools. I’ve demonstrated it countless times.
The heart of this approach is a collection of simple tools: a $15 side-clamping honing guide, a supply of sand paper in several grits, 1,000- and 8,000-grit water stones (or a combination stone if you like), a thin metal ruler, and a shopmade stop board that will help you quickly and reliably set the correct honing angle every time. With these tools, you can handle the most common sharpening tasks—honing, grinding, and repairs—for every kind of blade.
Using this method, you’ll get a truly sharp edge, allowing your tools to cut more cleanly and efficiently with less effort.
Start with a time-saver: The ruler trick
Many woodworkers buy a high-end handplane with the idea that their woodworking will get better. It’s true that a better tool makes for a less frustrating experience. But although you may think a new…