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Good Forstner bits can be expensive; you don’t want to just chuck them out when they get dull. You could bring them in to be sharpened, or you could do it yourself with a few simple tools that you can acquire separately or buy in a kit from several different retailers.

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You’ve mastered sharpening your plane blades and chisels; now it’s time to work on getting those curved tools razor sharp. One way to ensure an even edge is to use a jig like the Oar Sharpener.

Designed by Ross Oar and machined in the U.S. by West Falls Woodcarvings (Ross and Barbara Oar’s company), the aluminum sharpening jig clamps over the tool to keep its edge at the correct sharpening angle. Besides gouges and V-tools, the Oar Sharpener will also work with bench chisels up to 1-1/2″ wide.

The Oar Sharpener comes with complete instructions. Pricing starts around $29 before shipping.

Oar Sharpener [Stadtlander WoodCarving]
Oar Sharpener [Tools for Working Wood]
Oar Sharpener [WoodCraft]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

Getting a perfect burr on your cabinet scraper takes practice. If you don’t have a long time to spend learning to perfect the process, Ulmia’s Burnishing Block, invented by George Ott, lets you get back to scraping quickly. The Burnishing Block works with any square scraper.

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With the pervasiveness of table and miter saws, even in the hobbyist’s workshop, the trusty old handsaw doesn’t see as much use as when it was a staple. Still, most shops have one or two handsaws about, but since they’ve gone from the starting lineup to the minors, they’ll rarely ever be sharpened.

For the shop that still uses a handsaw regularly, it’ll need to be sharpened once in a while. When that time comes, do you just buy a new one, or take a few minutes to sharpen it yourself? With a file, patience, and practice you could probably do an okay job, but you’d more than likely be better off buying a proper saw sharpener like the Eclipse 38 from Spear & Jackson.

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Sharpening is an art — some would call it a black art, but an art nonetheless. You can obtain excellent results with nothing more than a few stones and hours and hours and hours of practice, or you can buy honing guides that almost ensure that novices can achieve acceptable results if they follow directions. That’s not to say that honing guide are for novices, though; there’s a place for them at any skill level.

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A few months ago, with the noble goal of getting into a locked junkyard Grand Am through the trunk, I used my pocket knife to slice through the upholstery from the rear. The steel grate supporting the seat put one hell of a nick in the blade, and it took a good three hours to massage away the nick with a coarse diamond whetstone and a bottle of Tap Magic. The process left me wondering if there’s a better way which produces an edge as good as hand-grinding. Ceramics are excellent finishers, carbide removes burrs with ease, and whetstones produce the best edge, but which is best?

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Lansky shapes their “Puck” sharpening stone to fit comfortably in your hand and makes it small enough to slip into your pocket so you’ll have it around when you need to touch up your shovels, hatchets, axes, mower blades, or whatever other edged tool you’re using outdoors.

The Puck has a coarse grit side for fixing nicks and shaping edges and a medium grit side for final honing. It retails for $8.

The Puck [Lansky]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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Sharpening flat edges is relatively easy; trying to match the curve of a gouge requires more skill and a bunch of curved stones. DMT is trying to make it easier to keep a keen edge on your curved tools with their new Diamond Wave.

While it looks like a piece of metal that’s had a bad day, it’s actually a combination of convex and concave surfaces coated with a micronized mono-crystalline diamond coating. The curves vary precisely from a radius of 0.0625″ to 1″, which gives it the ability to sharpen a wide range of curved tools. You can use the Diamond Wave dry or with water.

DMT makes the Diamond Wave in the USA. Available in fine (25-micron/600 mesh) or extra-fine (9-micron/1200-mesh), pricing starts at $47 shipped for either “stone.”

DMT Diamond Wave [Press Release]
Diamond Wave [WoodCraft]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

Add Manufacturer DMT (http://www.dmtsharp.com/index.html))

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Sharpening hand tools takes either skill and practice or expensive equipment.  And unless you’re going to recreate the bevel free-hand, setting up the guide also takes time.  M.Power designed their Precision Sharpening System (PSS1) to provide an easy and inexpensive way to quickly put the edge back on your tools.

Instead of running the tool across a diamond abrasive stone, M.Power’s PSS1 holds the tool stationary and you move the diamond stone across the cutting edge.  You can sharpen chisels and plane irons from 1/8″ to 2-1/2″ wide.

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It’s not easy sharpening a curved edge with a flat stone, so why bother?  Get a curved stone like one of these slipstones from Grizzly.  These tapered Japanese stones can sharpen gouges from 1/2″ to 2″ wide.  Made from aluminum oxide and available in 240, 1,000, and 4,000 grits, these water stones both sharpen and polish.

One curved slipstone will run you about $16.

Curve Gouge Slipstone [Grizzly]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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