Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sharpen Your Mind

One of G’s recent comments reminded me of how much I miss wood working. My shop is in desperate need of being re-roofed. It presently leaks in more places than it doesn’t. Everything is under blue tarps right now until I can get to spend four days on one project when it isn’t going to rain.

My love for wood working brings to mind a conversation I was having with a friend a few years back who was telling me of a school of fine wood working in California. This institute was serious about perfection. He told me that when you enroll you don’t even get to put your hands on a piece of wood for the first month or so. Every class hour is spent on how to correctly sharpen each of your tools.

Imagine spending at least 160 hours in classes learning how to sharpen things. It may seem like it is going over-board, but once you fully understand the advantages of sharpness, 160 hours is a small price to pay. Think about the difference you feel when you exchange the blades in a razor. Think of the lengthy cuts you’ve made in the past that strained your equipment.

I was recently cutting wood with a dull chain saw. When I replaced the chain the rest of the cutting that day seemed effortless in comparison.

This sharpening class makes me think about other classes I have taken over my lifetime. I wonder if I would have been a better learner had each course had the equivalent of a lengthy sharpening exercise before the actual class began.


Blogger Syd said...

I'd love to take a sharpening class. I'm ridiculous about my kitchen knives and I still don't think I've learned to put a proper edge on them.

4:04 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I use a four sided diamond sharpening block, each side having a progressive grit. Sharpen slowly and purposefully. Practice on a piece of crap stainless knife. If you can get that sharpened you do wonders with good steel.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous g said...

I'm a sharpening nut. If I can't see my nose hairs mirrored off of my chisels, they aren't sharp enough.

Syd: You don't really need to take a class. My sharpening technique hasn't really changed much. I use a bevel jig to hold my chisels and plane blades at the right bevel. I use three higher end stones (course, fine, super fine). There is a huge amount of information on the web to get you started on the right sharpening path. Just choose the one that works best for you. Then practice, practice, practice.

7:24 PM  
Blogger loopymamain06 said...

I cried when our local school took wood shop away 3 years ago, and replaced it with a computer lab.
sold the equiptment secretly.
I love solid wood things.
I love to see the "grain" of wood.

6:27 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Good advice G.

Loopy, I guess the decided there's more jobs in computers than in wood working. It is sad.

7:38 AM  

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