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This will change how you sharpen tools.

spoke shaves are among the handiest cutting tools in the shop but they're woefully underutilized I think because many Woodworkers simply don't understand how handy they can be for shaping and chamfering edges cleaning up curves that maybe you roughed out with another tool like a bandsaw tapering legs spindle work honestly I could make a whole video about things that you do in your shop which would be so much easier if you used a Spoke shape in fact I may just make that video but today I've got another pressing manner I picked up a couple of spoke shaves to give as a gift to a friend and I want to sharpen them so he can start using them right out of the box and I want to do this in a way that is fast and easy with no jigs or fiddling around because the easier it is to sharpen a tool the more likely he or anyone else will be to keep that tool Sharp so here they are these are the same spoke shaves that I use here in my shop in fact mine are handing hanging on the wall right here behind me I like these in particular because they're the same traditional cast iron bodies and mechanical adjusters that have lasted for 150 years or more they're simple to use they're reliable they're just what you want in a tool I also like that the small company where I get them only charges around twenty dollars that is an incredible price for this tool in my opinion so if you don't have a Spoke shave I'm telling you get one before these are gone either the flat bottom or the round bottom version they both will do most of the same tasks just briefly the biggest differences are that the round bottom can get into tighter inside curves while the flat bottom can do straight edges a little easier both of them will get into curves both of them will do straight edges but a little easier with the flat bottom on the straights and a little bit tighter in the curves with the round I'm going to sharpen mine with the diamond Stone because I have Diamond Stones but you can do all of these same steps with sandpaper just put it on a sheet of plate glass or maybe a granite floor tile from the Home Improvement store something that's really flat my point is don't think that you can't do this without expensive stones the process is no different with sandpaper now because this is a new Iron I'm going to start with a coarser grit than I usually use I'm going to start with 600. this is to remove the machine marks left by the factory a little bit quicker I'm also going to work freehand because it's faster to do it freehand than using a jig and I think more enjoyable and if you're ever going to learn to freehand sharpening this is the time because a short spoke shave iron is a lot easier to hold at a consistent angle freehand than a longer plane iron or chisel will be I'd even go so far as to say it is worth getting a 20 spoke shave if all you ever do is learn to freehand sharpen with it because this is a skill that is worth far more than 20 bucks you're never going to regret learning this and this is the tool to learn it on now here's the simplest way to do it set your tool on the stone or the Sandpaper or whatever you have and rock it back and forth a little bit you can feel when that bevel is flat on the stone once you feel that angle just pull it back towards you then reset feel for the bevel again and pull it back again there are a few things going on here that makes this a lot easier than it looks first the short wide shape of a Spoke shave iron is less top heavy than longer tools I'm also keeping my fingertips down near the Cutting Edge just above the stone this further reduces the tendency of the tool to tip into a different angle finally the pulling motion is much more stable than a pushing motion eventually you want to speed things up by going back and forth or even in small circles but that will make it a little bit harder to feel and maintain that bevel angle pulling backwards with your fingers down near the stone is the best way to start to build confidence and muscle memory and using a short iron like this is going to change everything for you if you're learning how to sharpen freehand now as you work the Stone's grit is going to pull a little bit of Steel from the bevel and roll it up behind the edge that's called the Burr and when you can feel it all the way along the back from corner to corner then you know it's time to move on to the next grip the next grid is going to be a thousand again sandpaper or stone it's your choice but before I go back to the bevel I have to get rid of that Burr so I have a fresh back and I can monitor my progress again the fastest way to do that is to lay a thin metal ruler on top of the Stone Place your iron on top back side down and then slide it from side to side the router lifts the tool or lifts the iron just a tiny bit and it concentrates the pressure just where you need it All Along The Cutting Edge this way it just takes a few strokes and the Burr will be gone now the Thousand grip process is no different from before you feel for the bevel you pull backwards you reset and you do it again at first you may have to go slowly that way you can feel that bevel as flat on the stone throughout the stroke but you're soon going to gain confidence and with that will come greater speed the Thousand grit Burr will be fainter than the 600 grit one was but when you can feel it from corner to corner across the back the bevel is finished and you're ready to remove that Burr again before continuing to the next step the next step is polishing now I'm using a 4000 grit Shepton water stone frankly it's a luxury to have this because it's really fast but you don't need it again you can do this final polishing step with high grit sandpaper or even a leather strap and some paste in fact I have a video all about making a strap and using one I'll link to it below whatever you choose there is a slight change in technique that I recommend once you get to this polishing step this time I feel for that bevel but then I lift upward on the tool tilting it forward a tiny bit not much just a couple degrees but now when I pull it back all of the effort is applied just along The Cutting Edge this has the same effect as the ruler trick had on the back of the iron now it may be a little bit trickier to find your angle each time you reset for another stroke because you're lifting up above the bevel but this will greatly speed up the polishing process and since you're just taking off just a minute amount of Steel with each stroke you have some room for air if you don't hit the exact same angle every time you will just barely feel a burr on the back this time you might not feel it at all especially if you're using a strap but you should still touch up the back just to be sure that it's polished too now at this point the iron is as sharp as it needs to be for a Spoke shave you can shave your fingernail if you want to it's a good way to check sharpness you can even shave hair if you want to sometimes though w

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