Every new woodworking project for me requires milling lumber. Starting off with my planer and jointer knives at their sharpest always sets the right tone. After the design and drawings are done, performing the sequence of steps to bring my knives back to peak sharpness is really rewarding and fun. Watching pro football in my shop on a Sunday afternoon sharpening my tools for the week’s work ahead is really one of life’s simple pleasures for me.
When I first started woodworking professionally I was at the mercy of sharpening services. The money and the time without my knives was an irritation, but the lack of consistent results with no recourse drove me to find a self reliant alternative. I never hollow grind edges. I prefer a flat facet. The way I produce these single facets on planer knives, jointer knives, chisels and plane irons makes secondary bevels unnecessary.
Minimal metal removal in minimal time, using machines and tools that are reasonably priced, very simple and reliable is a priority. These requirements are filled perfectly by the Makita 9820-2 Electric Blade Sharpener for planer/jointer knives, and DMT diamond stones and
the General Sharpening Jig The Ultimate Sharpening Jig for chisels and plane irons. Could my tools be sharper? Of course. I could spend more time honing the edges and I have. But the extra time and effort does not seem to produce a substantially sharper or more durable edge. Is it sharper? Yes it is. Will the edges I will show you how to produce work the hardest woods with ease? Yes they will.
The lesson of sharpening tools is to not let unobtainable perfection be the enemy of good solid function that allows us to complete our cutting tasks.
I know from personal experience that less then optimally sharp tools wastes time and money. That’s why I made a series of woodworking videos how to sharpen knives. Watch my Blade Sharpening For Milling Lumber and Makita Blade Sharpener 9820-2 series to see everything I’ve learned over the years. This low tech machine is undoubtedly one of the most important tools I own.
EXAMPLE: On a huge job using long leaf pine I had to pull, sharpen and reinstall my knives four times in one day on several occasions. How would a sharpening service have helped me here? This machine helps you “get on with it”.
I have owned my Makita Blade Sharpener for over twenty years and I highly recommend purchasing one of your own. I don’t know what I’d do without mine.
Below are some of the tools I used in the videos above.
Makita Electric Blade Sharpener
DMT Diamond Stones
General Sharpening Jig (Replaced with The Ultimate Sharpening Jig as of May 2012)
Simple Green (as a cutting fluid, mixed 50/50 with water)