Premium Retention Test – Must-Have Sharpening Techniques

Must-Have Sharpening Techniques

If you’re using tools in your shop, you need to know how to sharpen them. It’s an old adage, but true, that dull tools are more dangerous than sharp tools. You’re likely to force a dull tool to do what it should be doing, and that leads to accidents. Additionally, your woodworking will be easier and more pleasant when you’re working with sharp tools.

What’s covered in this class

We cover sharpening techniques for a broad array of tools in this class. In addition to covering a lot of tools, the class offers a variety of techniques, from hand sharpening to power sharpening, whetstones to low rpm grinders. You’re sure to find a sharpening approach here that works with your shop, your budget, and your skills. You’ll learn to sharpen:

  • Router bits
  • Bench chisels
  • Plane irons
  • Lathe chisels
  • Card scrapers and cabinet scrapers
  • Forstner bits

Sharpening systems

We realize that each woodworker places different demands on their tools and has a different set up in their shop. As a result, we show you a variety of approaches to sharpening, including:

  • Whetstones, including silicone carbide, water stones, and diamond stones
  • Sharpening on a glass plate
  • Freehand sharpening
  • The use of sharpening jigs
  • Low rpm grinder
  • WorkSharp
  • Rotary tools

And some great tips

On top of the sharpening techniques, we provide you with great tips and tricks to make your sharpening easier, such as:

  • How to determine when a tool is dull
  • Cleaning your cutting tools, which can help you avoid sharpening
  • How to prevent whetstones from clogging

With the broad array of tips, tricks and techniques offered in this class, you’re sure to be able to keep the cutting edges in your shop at their best.


Download and print this PDF Guide to complement your Class. It’s a great reference for the many Sharpening tips you’ll see in the class video.

Print this reference for information on where to get the items and tools used in this class.

Download this short video to meet your class instructor, George Vondriska.

Download this short video to hear George talk more about the critical importance of using sharp tools.

Session 1: Sharp or Dull?

A good sharpening class has to start with helping you determine if your tools need to be sharpened. It can be difficult, especially for new woodworkers, to know if the problem lies in technique or tool. There are some very simple tests you can do on your tools to see if they need to be sharpened.

Session 2: Tools of the Trade

One of the fun things about woodworking is that there are so many ways to do a given task. The same is true of sharpening. You can sharpen tools completely by hand, or you can take advantage of power sharpening techniques. We’ll show you a number of different products that allow you to choose the sharpening approach that’s best for you.

Session 3: Router Bits

It’s easy to quickly dress the carbide wings of a router bit to optimize its performance. Even if a router bit isn’t, technically, dull, it’s not a bad idea to give the cutters a little attention before using it on chip-prone material. This can be the difference between a great cut, and a marginal cut.

Session 4: Bench Chisels

One challenge in sharpening bench chisels is getting the angle just right. You’ll learn a handful of approaches to help you hit the right angle every time. Whether you want to stay low tech and sharpen freehand on a plate of glass, or mechanize your sharpening, we’ve got you covered. Micro bevel? Yep, we cover that too.

Session 5: Plane Irons

Sharpening plane irons is very similar to sharpening bench chisels. You’ll be able to transfer a lot of what you learn about chisels to irons. Once you’ve mastered these techniques you’ll have your planes peeling off paper thin shavings in no time.

Session 6: Lathe Chisels

It isn’t uncommon, on a given turning project, to sharpen your chisels a number of times. The better you get at sharpening lathe chisels the more time you can spend turning. And you’ll get better results off the chisel, which means less sanding. You’ll see how to sharpen lathe chisels on whetstones, the WorkSharp, and how to freehand sharpen on a low-rpm grinder.

Session 7: Card scraper and cabinet scraper

These tools baffle some woodworkers, primarily because they never learned how to properly sharpen them. Sharpening scrapers is completely different from sharpening other cutting tools. Your goal is not to create a sharp edge, it’s to create a cutting burr. A good burr starts with good prep work. We’ll show you how to achieve both.

Session 8: Forstner Bits

Don’t try to overcome a dull forstner bit by pushing harder. Instead, spend a little time with a rotary tool or file to bring those cutting edges back to life. Your forstner bits should be giving you shavings, not dust. These sharpening techniques will help you bring your bits back to life.

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5 Responses to “Premium Retention Test – Must-Have Sharpening Techniques”

  1. Dave Mather
    Dave Mather

    I have trouble sharpening pencils, let alone tools. What oil is best for the stone (or is water better); do I move the knife edge into or away from the stone for the best result; what is the best sharpening angle; what about old-fashioned borer bits … so many questions.

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Dave,

      Thank you for contacting us. It sounds like this class will be perfect for you, and should answer most of your questions. Have you had a chance to take the class?

      If you have any other concerns, please contact us at 1-855-253-0822, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!


      Woodworkers Guild of America Video Membership

  2. John

    Great class. For sharpening plane irons, should a micro-bevel be made, or is that only for bench chisels? Also, if a micro-bevel is appropriate, does that apply equally to standard planes and to block planes (reversed bevel position)?


    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello John,

      Here’s what the experts had to say about your question:

      Yes, it’s a good idea to put a micro-bevel on plane irons as well. I maintain a micro-bevel on my bench planes as well as block planes.

      Wood Workers Guild of America