Sunday 26 July 2015


Image result for chopping wood
About forty years ago I thought that I would like to learn how to carve wood. I don’t know why nor should I say I can’t remember why, but for some reason I enrolled in a carving class.

The instructor was mid thirties, with longish hair and looked pretty much like all of the people I hung out with looked, kind of scruffy but a nice scruffy. He had been carving for a long time and decided that he should share the knowledge that he had acquired with others. I’m sure that the money he earned teaching was welcome as well. Since we were all newbies, he brought enough carving knives for all of us to learn on. He taught us how to sharpen carving tools, but like anything worth doing it takes a lot of practice to get good. We didn’t get enough practice. I’m sure that after every class he spent an hour or so bringing the knives back into shape.
 Image result for wood carver
I learned the rudiments of carving in that class, but I didn’t develop the patience needed to sharpen the knives as sharp as they need to be. It would take me years to get to a point where I took pride in seeing my reflection in a perfectly honed blade. Now I am either patient or anal enough to get the sharpening done properly. Some times, good enough just isn’t.

Its funny how I will go for longish periods with only doing a half assed job on the kitchen knives and I will let the carving tools sit for months. Today, my son-in-law asked if I would sharpen his axe for him as they are going camping next week and it is nice to be able to split wood if need be. The axe was pretty good, but I told him I would just touch it up a little. I sharpened an axe for Brendan once and he cut himself testing the sharpness.

I had to look up how to sharpen an axe on Youtube since I had forgotten just how to go about it. Once I got going, I just couldn’t stop myself and I suspect that the axe is a little too sharp. You can’t shave with it, but it will slice a piece of paper nicely and it goes through soft wood like “butter”. I might tell him to dull the blade a little, it would be a little safer, and although they say that dull tools are far more dangerous than sharp ones.
Now, I have the bug. I sharpened the axe head I have and am going to get the hatchet and axe as sharp as I can. While I am at it, I may as well sharpen the shovels and anything else that catches my fancy. It will be a good time to make a couple of boxes for two water stones I had forgotten that I have. One appears to be a pretty good one and the other will be perfect for use in the garage. I don’t really need them, but you can’t have too many sharpening stones, they are like back packing stoves, the more the merrier.

Well, I’m burning daylight and that hatchet won’t polish itself…

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