Chasing accomplishments...... #1: One giant step for me, something everyone should know.........

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Blog entry by KTMM (Krunkthemadman) posted 05-12-2011 05:31 AM 1500 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Chasing accomplishments...... series Part 2: Constant Motion... »

I think this blog is aptly titled to reflect what I feel every time I go in my shop. Rarely do I go to my shop with nothing in mind planning to do absolutely nothing. As a matter of fact, that has only happened once, and it was when I was prepping this house to move in. The shop was the temporary home of my refrigerator while I finished the laying floor in my kitchen, and since it has a/c it was a nice and cool place to sit on that hot June afternoon and get a cold one out of the fridge. I was so wore out that day I took an hour nap sitting propped against the wall. At that time it wasn’t a shop, it was a 12×16 storage shed that had been used as a mini man-cave by the previous owner. Before we signed on the house, I made a pact with the wife that I got the shop building and the house was hers. She reluctantly agreed, and that day I started planning and plotting…... chasing after would be accomplishments.

I set forth laying out and stocking my shop with power tools and accessories, maxed out a couple credit cards and what I had to show for it was a building of large tools I owed money on, and no room to use them. I spent months hitting my head on a wall trying to organize tools and shelf my shop so that I could use them to no avail. I spent too much time reorganizing my shop to make a cut, only to realize that now the drill press was blocked. It was at some point that the idea of “less is more” hit me and I began selling and trading tools. From that I met William, Tubmanslim, and jasonjonesis. I sold my Ridgid jointer, lathe, a router table and router, my R4511 tablesaw, and I traded my drill press for a unicorn (set). I haven’t regretted it once mostly due to the awesome people I met and the debts it cleared up. Aside from that, I got my shop space back, and am able to work now.

The limited space has pushed me to use hand tools more, due to the small footprint and the overall longevity one can expect from reasonable good hand tools. The biggest thing holding me back for the past year has been my complete lack of sharpening skills. The recognition of my own ignorance led me head first into researching and learning to sharpen tools. I’ll spare everyone here the extent of my plight, but suffice it to say that after scary sharpening and hand grinding using a jig(s), I have finally found my system. It is not perfect, it probably is completely wrong, the edges probably won’t hold up, and my teeth will fall out, causing mass flooding in Vicksburg and poor William to go without lights for another week or two. All I can say is that I’m sorry William.

But here is my latest accomplishment that I couldn’t be more proud of. I NOW HAVE A SHARP AND USEABLE BLOCK PLANE, with about 18 more planes and a box of chisels to follow. And to top it off, I ground the blade on a crappy wheel on a dry grinder, and I honed the edge freehand on a set of oilstones. That’s right, I used a crappy 60 grit hardware store wheel, four oilstones, and a leather strop to get my shaving edge. I was so proud to have done it, I had to send William a text message. Now, I have sharpened tools using my white wheel, a jig and a whole lot of elbow grease, but after doing it freehand and getting decent results, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a jig. TAKE THAT ALL YOU SHARPENING SNOBS. I know that the method isn’t for everyone, but it works for me. It’s something I’m proud of and it has gone from being something I wanted to learn all the way to something I can do on a whim. Guess it’s time to start chasing the next dragon, my workbench…......

-- Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. Vince Lombardi

4 comments so far

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2807 days

#1 posted 05-12-2011 06:25 AM

uhhh.. Very nicely written Luke. Sharpening to me is like cutting joinery. NO 2 people do it the same way. But as long as you get good results and are not bleeding to death. Good job and well done.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2643 days

#2 posted 05-12-2011 06:41 AM

You know I was watching a video of a fellow talking his way through turnings on his lathe. He would just step to the side and hit the switch on his grinder and stick his gouge into it and then knock the bur out by hand then he went right back to the lathe. He didn’t use water. He just hit a dry wheel on a motor and then went to work on the lathe. I would admit that he does more sharpening in a week that I would in a lifetime but this guy was so cool with it. Just laid back about it. But the reality is there is only one persom to please and that is the guy throwing the switch to the on position. If it suits you then it just tickles me to death. Most poeple get too full of themselves about some things. I have oil stones I use for my pocket knife but seldom on any shop tools. We all have those things that we have to over excell in.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2810 days

#3 posted 05-12-2011 06:49 AM

Hey! I’m on one of the highest hills in Vicksburg. Also, after Katrina (on my wife’s insistance) I got a generator. On top of that I have coleman stoves and a coffee perculator. Also, the land lord finally put a new roof on the shop last year. So, let the rains fall. Let the lights go out. I don’t care. Please don’t knock out my internet again though. I can’t get on Lumberjocks even with a generator if the internet is down.
I just realized I’m getting too cilivized. It’s amazing what we can get so used to that we don’t want to live without.
I’m glad you have gotten your sharpening to a level that you’re happy. That is a road that I keep avoiding. Mostly when it comes to sharpening, I keep cheap chisels so it doesn’t hurt my feelings too bad when I basically ruin them on my bench grinder. I have a confession about the last time you visited my shop. I was a little envious when you presented your freshy sharpened chisel and shaved hair off your arm. The closest my chisels ever got to that was when I bough them, and we all know that they aren’t too sharp new.
I have started finding better ways to sharpen my 13” planer blades. Those thirty dollar blade runs to the Home Deportation Center were killing me. I’ve gotten exactly one set sharp enough that I can call myself happy with the results. I also sliced my finger open on that one set. So I guess I’m one for one with the sharpening.


View William's profile


9949 posts in 2810 days

#4 posted 05-12-2011 07:13 AM

Grandpa, I am by no means an experienced woodturner. However, until I get more skills at the actual technique of turning, I just haven’t found the need to go too deep into the art of charpening my chisels and such. I bought a cheap set at Harbor Freight (actually they were so cheap that I bought two sets, just in case). When one gets dull, I just hit it on the grinder that’s mounted below the lathe and touch it up. I know I’m doing it wrong. How do I know? While the rest of the chisel is silver, the last half to three quarters of an inch of each of them is a dark grey to black color where I’ve gotten them too hot.
Oh well, if I ever feel they are completely ruined, I’ll pick up another $7.99 set. Note
I do have a nice Craftsman set that I bought second hand. They’ve been well taken care of and stay in their case. I’m saving them for when my lathe skills are better and I take the time to learn to sharpen chisels properly. I know that sounds crazy, but I am a little crazy at times. Aren’t we all?


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