Axes, saws, and augers are tempered so that you can sharpen them with a file. On most chisels, gouges, adzes, shaves, and knives, however, a file will skate off the hard edge. These hard-tempered tools must be sharpened with a stone, and even those tools that a file can cut will benefit from the finer edge produced by the whetstone. The whetstone gives the final polish to the edge, but the work begins with the coarse grit of the sandstone wheel.

When you acquire a good sandstone grinding wheel, you become the guardian of a fragile treasure. Knock it and it will chip. Let wet wooden wedges expand in the axle hole and the stone will split. Leave it in water and it'll go soft. Leave it in the sun and it gets too hard to cut. Leave it unattended and someone will dry grind a bolt head, leaving a deep groove in the face.

The fragility of these stones has even created controversy. Some people believe that a stone turning away from the tool gives a better edge, but most insist that the advantage runs the other way. Some, like my grandfather, turned

The herringbone weave goes under two and over two.

Keep the sandstone wet while you work, but never let it sit in water when you're done.

the stone away from themselves because they just didn't like water being thrown in their laps. The real difference comes down to this, whether the stone is lumpy and bumpy or not.

Turning toward the edge cuts faster, as the wedging action pulls the steel into the stone. Sadly, many sandstone wheels have been left sitting in a water trough at some point in their lives. This irreparably softens the stone at the waterline, leaving two points on the circumference that quickly wear into hollows. An edge tool dipping into one of the hollows tends to dig into an approaching stone, and the only remedy is to turn the other way.

Water is the friend and enemy of sandstone wheels. Dripping from a suspended can or held in a trough below, water washes away the dulled grit and steel particles ensuring a constantly fresh cutting surface. Water cools the heat of friction and protects the temper of the tools. But left sitting partially in water, the stone is ruined.

As with any stone, try to avoid putting grooves in it by constantly moving the tool back and forth to use the whole face. And don't think a sandstone wheel won't cut fast. Especially when turning away from you, a long wire edge can hide the fact that you have ground away a quarter inch of your blade, and that you should have moved on to the whetstone five minutes earlier.

Grinding is the first step of creating an edge. The coarse grit of the sandstone cuts fast but leaves a scratched and sawlike edge. The grindstone does the shaping—the honing comes later. The ideal shape for any given edge tool depends on the steel and the job, but a good starting point is 30 degrees. You can easily eyeball a 30-degree angle by grinding a bevel until it is twice as long as the tool is thick at the end of the bevel slope.

Grinding is reserved for the bevel side, but check the flat face to see if it is rounded over. In planes and chisels, you can't get a proper edge until the flat face is flat all the way to the edge. If the flat is badly rounded over, grind from the bevel side until you cut back to a level surface. In rare cases where a tool is heavily corrosion-pitted on the flat face, you might try to save it by grinding the flat. The flat face is the side with the hard layer of steel that forms the edge—grind it away, and you have a paint can opener.

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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