Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Sharpening Essentials

January 31, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm


Hand Tool Series: Sharpening Essentials
Tuesday, January 31 @ 6:30 – 9:30PM
Instructor: Jake Hemstad

Few things are more fundamental to good woodworking than having incredibly sharp tools. Have you ever had a hand plane or chisel that does not cut like you think it should? If the tool is not sharp, you will not get the results you want. Or, perhaps you’re looking to start using more hand tools but don’t know where to start. Learning to sharpen is an essential skill that is an excellent entry point into the world of hand tool woodworking.

If you have tried to learn sharpening on your own before, you may have felt overwhelmed by all the options and opinions of obstinate woodworkers online. This class is designed to cut through the complexity and teach you the fundamentals of what you need to know to take a dull tool, make it really sharp, and get back to woodworking. There are plenty of good ways to get a tool sharp, and we will touch on the pros and cons of waterstones, sandpaper, oilstones, and stropping, but will focus on what is available in the MPLS MAKE shop: a wet/dry grinder and diamond stones.

This hands-on class is suitable for all skill levels where you will learn to sharpen a chisel, a plane iron, and a card scraper. We will cover how to use a dry grinder to establish the initial edge on chisels and plane irons, followed by a series of diamond stones to get it sharp enough to shave with. We will cover how to use the stones both freehand and with an inexpensive jig. We will also cover how to establish a new edge on a card scraper, how to hone it perfectly square, and most of all, how to turn a proper burr, which allows card scrapers to produce finish-ready surfaces. If you’ve never used a well-sharpened card scraper before, you are in for a treat.

This class will be an investment in improving the quality and enjoyment of your work. Furthermore, the skills you will learn can be extended to any edged tool, from kitchen knives to scissors.

As this is a hands-on class, you are encouraged to bring any of your chisels or hand planes that you would like to learn to sharpen. Otherwise, we will have several available for you to practice on.

This will be a 3-hour long class. The cost of the class is $40 for MPLS MAKE members and $55 for non-members, please bring cash or check made out to Jacob Hemstad at the beginning of the class. PayPal will also be accepted to jacobhemstad@gmail.com.

Please register by emailing Jake at jacobhemstad@gmail.com. Attendance is limited to 10 people, so register early. The class will take place at MPLS MAKE located at 1858 Central Ave NE Minneapolis, MN, parking is available in the parking lot outside the MPLS MAKE building or on the street.

If you have any questions, please email Jake at jacobhemstad@gmail.com.

In this class you will learn:
What does it mean for a tool to be sharp?
How sharp is sharp enough?
What are the pros and cons of the many different sharpening media?
What is sharpening vs. honing? Is there a difference?
What is stropping? Do I need to strop?
How to safely use a dry grinder to sharpen chisels and plane irons
What a ‘cambered’ plane iron is and why it’s useful
How to use sharpening stones with a jig or freehanded and the pros/cons of each technique
How to sharpen a card scraper so you never have to sand again

What to bring:
½-inch or larger chisel (optional)
Plane Iron (optional)
Card scraper (optional)
Something to take notes with (optional)

About the instructor:

Jake has been building furniture for 12 years and has spent the last 3 immersed in traditional hand tool woodworking. He has attended the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, though most of what he knows is self-taught through trial and error. He enjoys sharing what he has learned so far and welcomes learning from others.

Jake is a long time MPLS MAKE member and can be found in the shop at his Roubo workbench or getting his hands dirty at one of the shop’s machines making sure that it is tuned and running as it should. When he is not in the shop, he is pursuing his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Minnesota.


January 31, 2017
6:30 pm - 9:30 pm


1858 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418 United States
+ Google Map