There are perhaps as many ways to sharpen tool edges as there are opinions on the matter. In this video, we take a closer look at one of those methods — sharpening with waterstones, a method that consistently receives high ratings among many top artisans. Proponents say that waterstones are fast-cutting, relatively clean (as opposed to oil stones), compact, and generally affordable, qualities that make this sharpening solution worthy of your consideration and in-depth study.

In this video, cabinetmaker and sharpening guru Craig Vandall Stevens takes a closer look at some of the varieties of waterstones available and in use today, including the Shapton, Takenoko, and King brands of stones. For the most part, man-made stones manufactured with either aluminum oxide or ceramic dominate the market, but there are also natural whetstones which remain available for specialized applications. Craig’s interest and expertise in sharpening makes this a unique opportunity to learn more about this art and skill. In this video learn how to flatten and maintain Japanese waterstones using 150 grit sandpaper and a flat-milled machinists’ reference granite. Craig also suggests a useful collection of grits and styles of stones for maximum efficiency and value. And he discusses how natural Japanese quarried stones might fit into the mix. — Keith (8 Minute Woodworking Video)

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The sharpest tool edges start with absolutely flat and finely polished blade backs — a fact overlooked by many novice and intermediate hand-tool users. At first glance, it would seem that the sharpening process begins and ends by sharpening and honing the beveled edge. But, there’s more to it than that. The back of the tool is equally important, because it’s the two intersecting surfaces of the blade back and opposing beveled edge that creates a razor sharp wedge used in cutting or slicing wood. The more carefully you tune that intersection, the sharper and more durable the edge.

In this comprehensive video tutorial, master artisan Craig Vandall Stevens clearly explains how to achieve the flattest of blade backs. For each tool, this process is performed perhaps only once in a lifetime. So why not enjoy it. Pull up a stool, pull out your favorite plane or chisel and polish away. It’s 20 minutes of quiet relaxation that will pay dividends for years to come. (11 Minute Woodworking Video)

Note: Craig’s sharpening tool of choice – ceramic sharpening stones by Shapton® (or he recommends the King brand of Japanese waterstones).

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Keeping tools sharp is one of the pinnacle skills in almost all woodworking pursuits. Simply put, tool edge sharpness makes working wood easier and more accurate. This video segment reveals the process used by many woodworkers to accurately hone plane and chisel blades to a razor edge. I’ll take you step-by-step through the process including; how to hold a plane blade for maximum control and effectiveness, how to flatten the back of the tool edge, how to hone a micro-bevel, and how to work through different grades of Japanese Waterstones. With just a little practice, you can master the art. (11 Minute Video)

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