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Some People Ain't Too Smart... especially Stumpy Nubs!

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  • Some People Ain't Too Smart... especially Stumpy Nubs!

    There are a few golden rules in woodworking: You can never measure it too many times. You can never have too many clamps. Never spill your beer on the table saw. And it's never, ever... sharp enough.

    If you only use power tools, you're missing out, buddy! For the love of everything holy, go buy at least one hand plane! I guarantee, when you use it for that first project, you will be hooked forever! There is nothing in this world, I kid you not, like the feel of razor sharp steel cutting smoothly through wood.

    But there's a problem, one that has turned countless new woodworkers away from hand tools, forever to live on the dark side with its power saws and random orbit sanders. It's a problem that manifests itself the very first time they put steel to wood. You know what I'm talking about... the plane clogs, tears at the fibers, and makes a mess of things, and it often leads to a chunk of cast iron and rosewood crashing into the wall across the shop.

    The very first time I picked up a hand plane I encountered this problem. It was a brand spankin' new plane. I was certain it was a good one because I'd spent a whole $20 on it at Walmart, and the polyurethaned wood handles glistened like the morning sun. I grabbed a chunk of 2X4 and set the blade deep, because I thought a good plane should remove a lot of wood. Let me edit this story for the PG audience and just say that it didn't work out so great. No matter how I set the blade, I ended up with a clogged mouth (on the plane, not my face) and a mess.

    I was one of the lucky ones. I had read about the frustration that most new hand tool users can experience, and I resolved to never give up. Like a lone soldier fighting for the freedom of future generations, I kept at it until I had unlocked the secrets of this strange and wonderful tool.

    Actually, there was just one fundamental secret that changes everything. It's a secret so valuable, so precious, so vital to life itself that it has been carefully guarded by a handful of craftsman and passed down from one generation to the next for centuries. And I am going to share it with you for free. (Actually, you can mail me fiver if you feel so inclined. I won't turn in down.)

    Sharpen the stinking thing! Sharpen it, and then sharpen in again. Then sharpen it some more, and when you think you're done, sharpen it again. The most expensive plane is nothing but a paperweight unless it is properly sharpened. And by sharpened, I mean honed to an edge that will scare the hair off your arm at the very thought of shaving it. This type of sharpening is not possible with hardware store sandpaper. You need the good stuff: honing film, stones, or my personal favorite, polishing compound.

    *If you are new to hand tools, do yourself a favor that will literally change your life. Dedicate yourself to learning the craft of sharpening. Then get ready to enjoy the world of hand planes in ways you never dreamed of!*

    And in case you missed it a wile back, here's our episode about my favorite way to sharpen. It takes the Worksharp 3000, ditches the expensive paper and glass discs, and turns it into a super-duper sharpening dream machine!

    Last edited by Kris in Toronto; 04-05-2012, 03:23 PM.
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  • #2

    Re: Some People Ain't Too Smart... especially Stumpy Nubs!

    Re: Some People Ain't Too Smart... especially Stumpy Nubs!

    Originally posted by Stumpy Nubs View Post
    But there's a problem, one that has turned countless new woodworkers away from hand tools, forever to live on the dark side with its power saws and random orbit sanders.
    yeah, some even use power tools to sharpen their hand tools
    In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion

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    • #3

      Re: Some People Ain't Too Smart... especially Stumpy Nubs!

      Re: Some People Ain't Too Smart... especially Stumpy Nubs!

      I got my first handplane as a 21st birthday present from my sister in 1963. a Stanley No 4. Naively, I thought that if you bought a spanking new plane it should work, just like any other product you might buy. I sharpened it, adjusted it, spoke nicely to it but still it would not cooperate. I bought a Surform, at least that would remove some wood. Only 35 years later did I learn that Stanley (and Record) planes of that era were rubbish and it wasn't me. I still have it, still in its yellow box, untouched for most of those years. But I also have planes from Veritas, LN and others that REALLY work and am able to experience the joy of hand tool that work to perfection, giving an experience that compared with power tools is as a gourmet meal is to Macdonalds (or substitute your own chalk and cheese comparison). It is so sad that so many of those brought up on Norm know nothing different.

      Jim

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