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Notes From The 'Net

By Doug Evans, With Loren Woodard and Matt Kelley

Howdy all !

Awhile back I got brave and asked carvers their favorite sharpening style. I then quickly ducked as I have heard as many sharpening techniques as there are reason as why your child could not possibly go to school today. It also seems everyone swears “their” method is THE only way there is !
To be honest, I was surprised we did not get more responses to this questions but here are the answers—let me know if you agree or disagree and maybe we’ll revisit this topic sometime soon.
Here we go !

Hans Schwalm, a new contributor started the discussion with:
I like the methods that are best presented by Everett Ellenwood in his video "Sharpening Simplified". If you are not familiar with this great video, check it out at:

Arkansas Fran Hill added:
I have to add my agreement to this.  THe Ellenwood video has made my carving life a whole lot easier.  I had a terrible time sharpening my tools before, but now I don't have that problem.  It IS time consuming, but my carving is so much better when my knives are as sharp as they can be.  I was so impressed with it, I ordered a copy for our club library and even the long-time carvers were impressed and learned a few things.

Sally Nye chirped in with an effective-lazy way to keep your tools sharp:
My favorite sharpening system is John Dunkle.

I assume that is John himself, but I do know John has some great suggestions and STRONG ideas on the proper way of sharpening !

Donna Menke expressed:
There is a trick/skill to sharpening. I was pointing out to hubby just the other day that I cannot mess up on sharpening any more. It was a difficult skill to acquire, but once ya got it ya got it.
I 95 % agree with Donna, I think we all find a system we are comfortable and continue to look for a more effective-simpler way. Experimenting with new concepts, I still can screw up from time to time.

Corey Hallagan completes our discussion agreeing with many carvers by admitting he is not an expert. Corey shares:

Sharpening... I haven't figure out the fine art of sharpening. Most knives come good and sharp. Other tools and gouges unless they are a Denny or Drake, I send them to Rick Ferry for a good sharpening, then I keep them sharp with my Ultimate Sharpener from Chipping Away and my Floppy Wheel and Compound I got from Big Dog.  Works for me.

I’ll just add I’m a fan of the Burke system as it is a FAST way to touch up tools and good for grinding. Grinding is another art in itself. I keep a floppy wheel system set up as Floyd Rhadigan taught me for the inside edges of gouges.

No one has mentioned the power of stropping on a regular basis to keep your edges once you get them. Please be sure your strop is near by !

Until next time---keep your stick on the ice and your tools sharp !!

Doug Evans (aka the Woodologist)

StaffPlease take some time and check out the wood carving lists on the Internet. There is a lot of knowledge free for the asking on all of the list serves.

For information regarding the various email lists for woodcarvers, visit The Carvers' Companion Resource Files, or click the links below.


Woodcarver's List - Woodcarving Fun -- Knotholes List - Fishcarving List2 -- House of Woodcarving

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  • Endorsements of products mentioned by contributors to this article should not be construed as endorsements by either the editor of this article or Woodcarver Online Magazine, unless specifically so noted.
  • Advice and opinions expressed in this article are those of the original poster named therein; when in doubt seek additional professional advice.
  • Woodcarving and shop work are potentially hazardous activities and should be undertaken only with safety a constant and primary consideration. Electrical, mechanical and other modifications in your work area should always comply with local and state codes and requirements.

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