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If you took a shop class in school you are probably familiar with this motto: "A sharp tool is a safe tool."
The good news is that the means of sharpening tools hasn't changed all that much over the centuries. Hand tools, such as wood chisels ,can be done on sharpening stones. But there are a number of different kinds of sharpening tools for different jobs.
Sharpening a tool on a special stone is called "honing an edge." At the very edge of the blade there is a bevel. This is where the front and the back of the blade meet. A tool becomes dull when this edge, or point, moves away from each other. Or if the tool edge is damaged by a nail or a really hard imperfection in the wood. Lastly, if a tool is just not handled properly it can be dull quicker and you will constantly need to sharpen it.
Over the years there have been some cool innovations in tool sharpening methods, including the chisel and planner jig. This device fits over a sharpening stone that is about 2” by 8”, and the blade fits inside of it, allowing it to be placed at the correct angle needed for sharpening. By hand sharpening, we run the risk of changing the blade bevel angle. Of course, there are machines that a hobbyist may buy to sharpen his or her own drill bits. This works on the same basic principle as the stone.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|