Today’s post might seem a little snarky or even a little bit sarcastic, so bear with me because that is the mood I am in today after receiving a rather snarky email from my YouTube channel.
Earlier this year I jumped on the ban wagon and started a YouTube channel. I only have about 70 or so subscribers and each video only has a few hundred views. With so little views, I was surprised that I had been trolled so early. Nonetheless, someone took issue with how I treated my hand plane.
I sat it sole side down on the workbench. I`m surprised he even caught my sinful act as it is only seen for a millisecond before I cut to the next scene, you got to be really looking for it. Nonetheless, I still committed the sin.
The emailer explained to me that by sitting my plane sole side down on the bench I am damaging, dulling and rendering the plane useless for any further work. “Now you will have to waste unnecessary time sharpening it before you can use it again”, he says.
Well, I don’t think it is a big deal to set a plane sole side down. When I sat the plane down I didn’t slam it down on the bench, I didn’t grind the blade into the bench top nor into the cement floor. I just simply sat it down and moved on with my work without worry.
You see, about a year ago I had a revelation in sharpening after reading Christopher Schawrz Blog “You Aren’t Sharpening Enough (And I’m not, Either)” over at the Lost Art Press Blog. In it he laid out a philosophy on sharpening that is so simple and revolutionary at the same time, I thought to myself, “Why didn’t I think of that. “
Here is the basic gist of his post. We are taught that when the blade stops performing well it is time to sharpen it. In his post, Chris explains his philosophy not to wait until the tool gets dull to sharpen it. He goes on to say, if you wait for the tool to stop performing before you sharpen it, you are only risking damaging your prized work piece from tearing, chipping or bruising from the dull blade.
He recommends sharpening your tool before you ruin your work piece, sharpen it often, and sharpen it between each task; before it gets dull. His advice has gotten me in the habit of sharpening my planes and chisels between each panel I plane and between each mortise chopped. This practice has saved me tons of time in the shop not having to deal with unnecessary tear out. Whether I sit my hand planes down on their sole or on their side, it does not matter because it is going to be sharpened the next time I pick it up.
So all I have to say to the guy who so eloquently emailed me, shaming me for committing the greatest sin of all, “sitting a hand plane down on the workbench sole side down.” Don’t worry, I`ll sharpen it.