Learn to sharpen your knives, chisels, and scissors by hand on a variety of stones and mediums. Throw away those cheap, store-bought guides and jigs, come explore the world of sharpness, leaving with knives sharper than you’ve ever had and the knowledge to put a fine edge on them whenever you like with the just the skill in your hands. We’ll cover regrinding, straightening, honing and stropping, and cleaning and restoring an abused blade. We’ll also discuss blade types and edge geometry as well as hand methods in comparison with sharpening “tools” and grinders.
I’ll be showing you that it’s the method, not the stone, that matters and that with the hand-coordination skills you’ll be practicing and the understanding I’ll impart of grits across different mediums, you’ll be able to put a fine edge on a tool or kitchen knife with any type of abrasive. We’ll be covering the “scary sharp” sandpaper method extensively and you can take home a plate glass “stone” (for an additional $15) to get you started in the most expedient and affordable sharpening method. You’ll also get experience with water-stones and oil stones, with information to help you make the decision of which method you prefer. You’ll learn what a sharp edge really is, why guides are unnecessary, why quick sharpening tools don’t work, how to navigate the myths of sharpness, how to identify a sharp tool, and how to keep your edge sharp so you don’t have to sharpen as often. You’ll also learn how to avoid making the common mistakes when sharpening, because rubbing a piece of metal across a stone may seem simple, but there’s a lot going on on the microscopic level that you’ll learn to “see.”
This course will cover sharpening all types of knives, especially kitchen knives, chisels, and scissors. We can discuss other tools if there are questions but axes, plane irons, drawknives, spokeshaves and other tools will be covered in future classes. Students are encouraged to bring all their knives, chisels, and scissors they’d like to hone a keen edge on, although loaner knives will be supplied if you have none. Also, please bring any sharpening tools, stones, or other mediums that you already own that you’d like to explore more. Otherwise, no materials are needed.
The workshop will take place at the Low Technology Institute on Feb. 18, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Please pack a lunch, but we will provide some snacks and beverages. You can reserve your spot by paying the workshop fee of $50 ($40 for members, memberships start at $35/year) at our online store. If the course is sold out, please checkout with the $0 “Waitlist” option to be added to the queue.
Todd Fleming is has been a traditional woodworker and knifemaker for eight years and has taught himself how to sharpen all manner of woodworking tools and knives. He started out using sandpaper and Norton waterstones and now sharpens his chisels and irons on Shapton glass-stones up to 16K grit and loves the feel of a blade slicing off thin savings of solid oak. He’s made numerous tools, saws, and blades he uses himself and has developed a good understanding of blade geometries for different purposes as well as the metallurgy of hardness and tempering. He is the owner/operator of Fox Wedge Woodworking when not at his day job as a carpenter for the Associated Housewrights. He currently works out of his apartment workshop in Middleton, WI.