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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Japanese chisels differ from their western equivalents in several interesting ways. Most notably, Japanese chisels are forged from a laminated fusion of hardened tool steel and a softer, more shock absorbing wrought iron. This melding of metals offers the woodworker some very important practical advantages over western style chisels — and there are other differences too.

In this video introduction to the Japanese chisel, cabinetmaker Craig Vandall Stevens describes the important characteristics of Japanese chisels and why he is a proponent of their use. Craig is an expert in the use of Japanese tools and he instructs on the topic throughtout the United States and Japan. I wouldn’t be surprised if after watching this video, you aren’t enticed to shop around for your own set. (4 Minute Woodworking Video)

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Filed Under (Hand Planes) by Keith

Learn how to get peak performance out of your hand plane. This video overview will show you how to dismantle a typical metal bodied woodworker’s plane and then clean it, hone (fettle) the sole to optimal flatness, and then reassemble all the parts accurately and confidently. Even old or damaged planes can be repaired, adjusted, and made like new again. It’s easier than you think.

In this quick video, I discuss the parts of the handplane including the sole, mouth (or throat), handle, knob, cap iron, cap lever, cap-iron (or chip-breaker), blade, frog, and various adjustments screws. I’ll then demonstrate the easily mastered techniques that will bring new life into old planes – the same process I used to revive a once rusty and neglected, 1907 Bailey (Stanley Tool Works) #5 Jack Plane I found in a junk bin for $25. Come along for the ride, fix what’s wrong, and you’ll be planing like the pros in no time. (10 Minute Video)

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