Do you remember the first time you realized what how a sharp well-tuned plane is supposed to behave? I sure do! For years I used an old Stanley block plane and thought it was the worst invention in the world. Instead of shavings, it would often emit large chips. I quickly learned that it was always safer NOT to use it on an important project. Then one day I visited a friend’s shop and had an opportunity to try out his new block plane. Fortunately, my friend knew the value of sharpening and the planing experience was pure pleasure. At first I thought it was the plane itself but in reality, it was the blade doing all the work. From then on, I knew that finely-honed blades were going to be a constant in my shop. I did some research on sharpening techniques, bought some water stones and a honing guide, and the rest is history.
While I don’t particularly enjoy the sharpening process, I don’t hate it either. I usually reserve it for those few days between projects when I’m in the mode of shop cleanup and maintenance. Knowing how powerful the results will be makes the entire effort worth it, so I don’t begrudge the process. How about you?
Poll created by Tom Iovino of TomsWorkbench.com.