shipping dull tools

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Blog entry by 9FINGERTIM posted 06-02-2013 10:40 PM 1352 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey guys, im very much useless when it comes to sharpening any tool and even though experts have tried to teach me everything allways ends up duller so I dont understand why I would want to buy dull tools new. I just got the woodcraft catalog that says on the cover”weve got the edge” okay that sounds good ,but on page 83 it saws” most of our edged tools require sharpening or honing before using” and then they offer to sharpen any tools I order before shipping them at around 3bucks each. why wouldent I want to recieve any tool already as sharp as possible without extra charge. I know a lot of you guys are skilled at sharpening and always touch up any tool you get but us left handed all thumbs sharpening impaired folks cant do that and would like to get some use out of a tool before takiing it to the sharpening guy. I know I always kind of expect my razor blades to arrive sharp,and my garden tools to cut. what am I missing here is this a common practice?


5 comments so far

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3669 days

#1 posted 06-02-2013 11:04 PM

Some tools come sharp enough to use – Flexcut carving
tools, some knives, garden tools (but they don’t need
to be very sharp). Chisels from high end makers tend
to come pretty darn sharp. Same thing with plane
irons. Any chisels or planes not premium priced
is likely to need honing for anything finer than rough
work like carpentry.

If you are going to work with hand tools, investing
in sharpening equipment of some kind is really highly

View 9FINGERTIM's profile


54 posts in 1962 days

#2 posted 06-02-2013 11:59 PM

thanks for the explanation loren but I still have to ask why? if a tool is not premium priced does the buyer by tradition get a less sharp tool? doeesent it make it much more likely the buyer wont buy that tool again?surely the manufacturer can sharpen their tools in the manufacturing process,and surely the distributer shouldent tell buyers that thier tools are sold not to sharp but for money they will make them sharper,sort of on line blackmail?so many answers are “thats the way its always done”. I know the old saying is “you get what you pay for”but a usable tool is what is advertised and thats kinda sorta what you should get without an extra charge


View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3107 days

#3 posted 06-03-2013 03:07 PM

I agree that a tool should be sharp when bought. We had a store here that sold knives as a sideline, and
when you bought a knife, and most were fairly sharp, he took it over to a special belt sharpener he had
made and put a shaving edge on it. I bought the boys their first Boy Scout knives there, the Swiss Army
version, as well as a few other knives over the years. Wish more stores were like this.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3670 days

#4 posted 06-03-2013 03:15 PM

for a tool to be sharp – someone has to sharpen it.

If that someone is at the factory – than they will have to pay that someone to do the work (time/labor/sharpening materials) and transfer that cost to the customer – YOU. so in a way you WILL Be paying for this one way or another (either a “sharpening fee” or simply raising the cost of the tool all together).

we are in the market of “find the best tool for cheapest” – so people don’t want to pay extra for sharpening to keep the costs low.

Another factor is that unlike your razor which is expendable, WW edge tools are supposedly to last for generations so they will need to be sharpened at some point(s) after purchasing them, so it is assumed you (the customer) already have a setup to sharpen the tools as just sharpening them at purchase time won’t do much good long term.

This keeps the cost down for majority of customers that don’t want to pay extra for sharpening, but allows those that do to add that extra cost at purchase time as “extra”

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View JayT's profile


5668 posts in 2233 days

#5 posted 06-03-2013 03:40 PM

+1 to PurpLev

In addition to the excellent points made above, many woodworkers want tools sharpened to specific angles and there is no way to customize those on mass produced items. For instance, most chisels come with a 25 degree bevel, I prefer a 30 degree on mine for most purposes. I do not want to pay someone to spend the time sharpening and honing to a razor edge when it is going to get changed as soon as my hands are on it.

I don’t know for sure, but I would bet another issue is liability. If someone cut themselves on a razor sharp knife, chisel or plane out of the box because they weren’t careful, it would likely open up a litany of lawsuits. The only way to prevent that is to make the purchaser responsible for the final sharpening and honing. Stupid, I know, but that is the society we live in.

All this leaves a consumer with two choices, either learn to sharpen or pay a sharpening service. The hardware chain I work for makes quite a bit of money off the latter choice sharpening everything from mower blades to scissors for customers that either don’t know how or don’t want to take the time.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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