Canadian Woodworking

A sharpening handbook

The author provides clear and concise information about the more established methods of sharpening along with a range of newer techniques and tools.

Author: Carl Duguay
Published: May 2023

There are several good sharpening books on the market. This one is notable for it’s succinct yet thorough coverage of both the theory and practice of hand sharpening without bogging the reader down in excessive detail. It offers practical advice that will enable you to get a sharp edge and satisfying results.

PUBLISHER: Algrove Publishing
AUTHOR: Richard D. Wile
PRICE: $22.50
ISBN: 978-189703077
YEAR: 2021
FORMAT: Softcover, 104 pages

The kind of work you do, how meticulously you do the work, and how quickly you want to get back to work, all have an impact on your conception of how sharp your tools need to be, and how much effort you’ll be willing to put into your sharpening. If you are looking to maximize the time you spend working wood and minimize the time spent keeping tools sharp, then you’ll definitely want to read “A Sharpening Handbook”.

Richard covers the more established methods of sharpening along with a range of newer techniques and tools that can be applied to the hand tools most frequently used by woodworkers, including knives, card scrapers, carving tools, bench chisels and plane irons.

He starts with a discussion about the need for sharpening along with the mechanics – bevel angles, types of steel and steel hardness. In Chapter 4, “The Basics of Sharpening”, Richard outlines the practical steps that you need to follow when sharpening most cutting tools in your shop – lapping, grinding, shaping, honing and stropping.

Chapter 5, “Abrasives and Sharpening Media”, covers the five different abrasive options in sufficient detail for you to make an informed decision on which option you might want to explore. Following this are chapters specifically devoted to sharpening knives, card scrapers and carving tools, and a final chapter that provides a few useful sharpening tips.

The text is supplemented by copious photos, illustrations and charts.

A great reference book that you won’t regret buying.

Carl Duguay - [email protected]

Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

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