Taunton's Holiday Sale!

Taunton&'s Complete Illustrated Guide to Sharpening

Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Sharpening

SKU# 070737

Master the Techniques for Hand and Power Tools

Thomas Lie-Nielsen


$39.95 $31.96
You save 20%
  • Product # 070737
  • Type Hardcover
  • ISBN 978-1-56158-657-8
  • Published Date 2005
  • Dimensions 9-3/16 x 10-7/8
  • Pages 224
  • Photos color photos
  • Drawings and drawings
This step-by-step reference provides quick access for learning this essential woodworking process. More than 750 photos and drawings illustrate the equipment available for sharpening and the methods for getting sharp edges on all types of tools -- from basic chisels to molding planes and jointer knives.

Among the subjects covered:
  • Choosing a sharpening system

  • Sharpening planes and saws

  • Touching up blades and bits

  • Shaping turning gouges

  • Honing carving tools

About the author
Toolmaker Thomas Lie-Nielsen brings a unique perspective to the subject of sharpening. He started making hand tools in 1981, after working in New York City at tool dealer Garrett Wade. Lie-Nielsen Toolworks now makes several dozen different high-end hand planes and saws, based on traditional designs.


Preview a sample of this book below

Table of Contents

How to Use This Book

PART ONE: Tools and Materials

SECTION 1. Steel

Basic Tool Steels
Heat Treating

SECTION 2. Abrasives
Grinding Wheels
Diamonds for Sharpening
Abrasive Paper and Other Sharpening Aids
Flattening Waterstones
Flattening Oilstones

SECTION 3. Machines for Sharpening
Bench Grinders
Horizontal-Style Grinders
Belt Sanders

SECTION 4. Sharpening Kits
Getting Started
A Step Up
A Complete Set
Other Supplies

SECTION 5. Jigs and Fixtures

Waterstone Holder
Skew Plane Jig
Honing Jigs
Saw Vise

PART TWO: Sharpening Tools

SECTION 6. Gauges and Knives

Marking Gauges
Layout Knives
Kitchen Knives

SECTION 7. Planes
Blade Back
Chip Breakers
Straight Blades
Curved and Angled

SECTION 8. Chisels
Paring and Mortise
Japanese Chisels
Corner Chisels

SECTION 9. Spokeshaves and Beading Tools
Beading Tools

SECTION 10. Scrapers
Card Scrapers
Curved Scrapers
Scraping Plane Blades

SECTION 11. Drills
Twist Drills
Specialty Drills

SECTION 12. Handsaws
Jointing and Setting
Crosscut Saws
Veneer Saws

SECTION 13. Axes and Adzes
Curved Adzes
Lipped Adzes

SECTION 14. Carving Tools
Oar Jigs

SECTION 15. Turning Tools
Dressing the Wheel
Skew Chisels
Parting Tools
Hook Tools

SECTION 16. Power Tools
Jointer and Planer
Router Bits



Sharpening common woodworking tools is not a difficult or complicated process. You dont need a metallurgists understanding of steel, or serve a long apprenticeship, to produce durable, razor-sharp edges. Woodworkers will find a large selection of good tools and materials on the market, and the methods of getting the job done properly are usually straightforward. A bit of practice is necessary, but much less than it would take to perfect your golf swing.

Don't worry about ruining a blade. Steel tools are forgiving, and many of the mistakes you inevitably make in the beginning are easy to correct. A blade that has been over-heated and scorched on a bench grinder can be ground back, and a lopsided bevel can be straightened and squared. Even if your early attempts at sharpening a blade actually ruin it, you can always buy a new one. The experience you gain will be worth the price.

It is important first to learn the difference between a properly sharpened tool and a badly sharpened one. Shiny surfaces are not enough if the cutting edge is uneven or rounded over. A plane blade whose back is not flat will never be truly sharp even if it is polished to a mirror finish. Think of a razor blade -- straight and sharp. Use a magnifying glass and good light so you can really see what youre doing, and think in terms of simple geometry: the intersecting planes, lines an angles that produce a sharp working edge.

This book is not about turning sharpening into a hobby. Sharpening woodworking tools is a means to an end, and that end is woodworking. Your collection of sharpening tools and your work area should be arranged so it is convenient to use and designed to help you get accurate, predictable results in a minimum amount of time. If you succeed in doing that, you will be encouraged to sharpen often and not avoid it as people often do.

An inevitable question is just how sharp a blade really needs to be. Competitors in planing exhibitions try to make the longest, thinnest shavings they can (usually in a cooperative species of wood). This is a fascinating exercise, but the point of knowing how to sharpen your woodworking tools is not to make specimen shavings but to accurately dimension and smooth wood. Honing a blade until it can remove a shaving of wood no more than one-thousandth of an inch thick is overkill when all you want to do is remove the high spots from a rough board with a scrub plane. On the other hand, if youre trying to create a glassy smooth finish on hard maple with a handplane alone it will help to know how to prepare your blade. The trick is in knowing what kind of edge you really need.

To that end, it is helpful to keep things simple, to focus on results, and not to worry too much about theory or opinion. The best way to sharpen is the way that works for you.

Write Your Own Review

Please log in or register