The Religion of Sharpening…
I took a sharpening class at my local Woodcraft a few months ago. The instructor was a guy who had spent many years in Japan working under a master woodworker. He was the David Carradine of woodworking in other words. His style of sharpening was almost like a religion where the goal of perfection will never be reached but the act of trying seemed to be an act of worship. I remember being fascinated by this at the time, but thinking to myself that I would never need anything that sharp.
Well as evidenced in my last post I spent a lot of time without electricity this weekend. Once the power did come back up and after a long day of hand tool work in the shop I needed a rest. I sat down at the computer to catch up on all the blogs I didn’t look at earlier in the weekend. I came across a couple of videos of Japanese planing and sharpening demonstrations. The contests they have in Japan exactly illustrate the zeal for the perfect edge that my instructor had. Take a look at this first video and watch how this guy takes a monster shaving down the complete length of the board.
Here is another one where a bunch of guys test their recently made japanese planes.
There are a lot more of these out on the Internet too. Pretty amazing stuff that tells me that I have a lot to learn about planecraft and sharpening.