Keeping tools sharp

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Blog entry by Bilsharp posted 06-11-2012 03:05 PM 6582 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I worked as a carpenter for over 35 years and while in the trades, I always did my own maintenance on cutting tools whenever possible. I learned how to file a handsaw as an apprentice and how to grind and hone my chisels, plane irons and various other hand tools. For things like carbide saw blades, router bits and chains, I sent them to a sharpening service, the same one my employer used for all the professional shop equipment. When the owner of that sharpening shop died, my employer (and me) sent dull blades to another service but the results were less than satisfactory. I decided that I would try my hand at sharpening tools and invested in an all purpose grinder made by a manufacturer in Kansas City.

That was in 1986 and I still use that original grinder for a multitude of tasks but have added many more machines since then. As a retired carpenter, I know and appreciate the importance of keeping tools sharp because sharp tools produce a quality job and are much safer to use. I’m still small potatoes as far as shop size and customer base, but I keep customers coming back because I always strive for a high quality job when I return a sharpened tool. I try to stress the importance of keeping woodworking tools at peak sharpness, and customers appreciate that fact which generates more work for me.

In this day and age of disposable everything, cutting tools are becoming cheaper and more abundant than ever. But the high quality tools used by many hobbyists and professionals are more cost effective in the long run, to resharpen and use. Most sharpening shops are specialists in their field and can keep your tools in tip-top condition. Don’t settle for low quality disposable cutting blades, the best tools are sharp tools.

3 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3676 days

#1 posted 06-11-2012 03:39 PM


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

View Bob817's profile


672 posts in 2410 days

#2 posted 06-11-2012 04:11 PM

I sure do wish you lived near my way so I could learn and be your sharpening apprentice.

-- ~ Bob ~ Newton, N.H.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2646 days

#3 posted 07-11-2012 04:29 AM

Couldn’t agree more, re: keeping tools tuned and sharp!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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