Canadian Woodworking

Where new reno meets old reno and simple sharpening

Blog by Rob Brown
Brilliant Simplicity

After writing last week’s column and thinking about that photo of my chisel doing some dirty work, I realized there’s something else about that image that irks me.

Where new reno meets old reno

As you can see, fresh new white semi-gloss paint is covering the new trim, but it ends right beside a wall and some trim that’s likely 30-plus years old. What do I do when new reno meets old?

After wrapping up most of the reno it’s now becoming obvious that I need to do more work on the house. The reno consisted of adding a couple of small rooms in the basement, completely redoing a basement bathroom and redoing the stairs to the basement.

The trouble is there’s a small hallway that connects the stairway to the rest of the reno. The hallway floor is new, but the trim and walls are as ugly as ever. It’s a bit of a “nothing” hallway, about 8′ long and 4′ wide. I’ll eventually put some shallow floor-to-ceiling storage cabinets on one wall. Currently, the joists are visible above, the wall drywall is dinged and scratched and the paint is dirty and needs to be redone. The block wall where the cabinets will go is covered with wallpaper. The cabinets will eventually cover it, but I’m wondering how long we can handle looking at it.

The new reno looks great, and we’re very happy with how it turned out, but it only highlights how ugly some other parts of the house are.

This situation reminds me of a story a friend told me a few years ago. I remember it started with a new lampshade, but the details that followed are a bit muddy. I think you’ll get the idea, though. His wife went out to buy a new lampshade for their living room lamp. Once it was installed, she realized the new lampshade didn’t match the pillows and throw on the couch. New pillows and throw clashed with the couch. New couch was too high for the two side tables. New side tables didn’t look good with the coffee table. This all inspired them to repaint the living room and add some crown moulding. All because of a new lampshade.

I don’t think I’m up against this situation, though I’m certainly aware of not wanting to go down that road. I’ve got too many other projects in the hopper to spend too much time on this reno. I’ll get to the hallway one of these months, but until then we will just have to grin and bear it.

Where New Meets Old

This was the photo I shared last week. After sending it out it occurred to me there’s more than just poor chisel usage going on here. This is also an “old meets new” story.

Where New Meets Old

The Old Hallway

The hallway where new reno meets old. It should be easy to find a spot for the weights and vacuum (though they’ll both probably sit there for at least a month), but making this old hallway look new will be a bigger job. The far wall is wallpapered concrete block, in case you want to match this lovely look.

The Old Hallway

Simple sharpening

Mark Salusbury, who regularly writes great articles for us, sends me the odd woodworking tidbit now and then. Mark is a neat and tidy woodworker who likes order in his shop. In some ways we’re opposites, but maybe that’s why we get along. The other day he sent me a link to a YouTuber who goes by the title JSK-koubou, whom he stumbled across. This maker has a lot of similarities with Matthias Wandel, a Canadian woodworker who also has a mind for engineering and makes all sorts of fascinating videos. I mentioned to Mark how if these two makers got together they could surely dream up some sort of wooden device to take over the world.

I can see why Mark likes this maker and their videos. Using precision and a well-engineered approach, JSK-koubou makes all sorts of jigs and fixtures to aid in making their woodworking even more exacting. And their videos are shot with a backdrop of the cleanest shop you’ve ever seen in your life. I enjoyed the few videos I watched, but with all of those empty walls I kept daydreaming about what tools I would put on them. Where does one keep their tools if not on the wall?

One video got Mark especially excited and, again, I can see why. At the intersection of simplicity, beauty and function was a sharpening jig JSK-koubou detailed. It seemed to work flawlessly. And with an electronic angle finder, this device could dial in honing angles far more accurately than any maker ever needs. I especially liked their method of attaching blades of all shapes and sizes to the jig. A strip of metal with a groove down the center, coupled with a series of threaded inserts in the base, allows pretty much any edge to be honed with precision. You can view the video here, then explore the rest of their channel for lots of views of their pristine shop walls and cool projects.

Brilliant Simplicity

A base, a vertical stand made of threaded rod, a device that moves up and down the rod, an extension arm, and a blade clamping mechanism are all that make up this simple sharpening jig. It’s brilliant.

Brilliant Simplicity

Flexible and Secure

My favourite part of this jig is the mechanism that fixes all sorts of tools and blades so they can be honed.

Flexible and Secure
Last modified: September 8, 2022

Rob Brown - [email protected]

Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement. Instagram at @RobBrownTeaches


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  2. Hi John.

    Since it’s not my project I’m not sure I can help you out. You could always ask the maker if they had some basic overall dimensions and a source for some of the parts. Having said that, the construction of the sharpening jig doesn’t look too difficult and the parts they used where fairly straightforward if you wanted to tackle the project yourself.

    Hope that helps.

  3. I would like to see plans for the honing stand, etc.
    It would also be nice have a source for the parts.

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