Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lean Thinking Tip #6: Fast Sharpening

I read an author in Fine Woodworking who said something to the effect that he did not get paid for sharpening his tools.  I quite disagree, as sharpening directly adds value to a wood piece as much as plugging in a power tool. Notwithstanding, sharpening should not be time-consuming.  I aim to achieve not an Olympic edge but one which will nicely peel a shaving cross grain on hardwood plywood after about a minute's sharpening.  First, I hollow grind on a 60 grit aluminum oxide wheel by passing the chisel right to left four times resting on a tool guide fixed to produce a 25 degree bevel.  Second, the chisel goes to an ever so flat piece of 400 grit wet/dry silicon carbide paper attached with spray adhesive to 1/2" plate glass.  Holding the chisel off the side of the workbench I polish the back alternating with pushing the cutting edge gently forward while resting on the two high points of the arc made by the grinding wheel.  This alternation is repeated three or four times (more is not better!), and the chisel is ready to add value.

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