Tool sharpening is always a ridiculously debated hot topic among woodworkers. Should you do it freehand? Should you use a jig? Machine grinding or stone grinding? Who cares? I’ve discussed my sharpening methods before on this blog: diasharp, water stones, leather strop. I don’t like machine grinding and I generally don’t use a guide or jig. I prefer to hone free hand because I’ve become one of Paul Sellers minions and I blindly follow any and all of his advice. Actually that isn’t true. I still do use a guide for grinding, but I prefer to hone free hand because I just don’t feel like going through the trouble of setting up each individual tool on the guide. It’s faster and easier to just do it without the crutch (did I say ‘crutch’? That really isn’t what I meant) So if any of y’all want to use training wheels that’s completely up to you.
Like most woodworkers I started out using sharpening guides. I have two, a Veritas which I purchased, and a side-clamp “eclipse” style which was given to me. The question is: What do I do with two sharpening guides when I barely have use for one? Well I think I finally came up with an answer: Shaving!
I’ve been shaving for 25 years. I’ve become quite good at it. Still, I understand there may be some people out there who have trouble shaving, and that is where the side-clamp sharpening guide comes in. I’ve done some experimenting and I’ve found that most razors on the market fit in the side clamp guide, and with a little trial and error you can find the perfect angle to set your razor which will provide a perfect shave every time. And ladies, don’t feel left out, it works just as well on legs as it does on faces.
So for everybody out there with an unused sharpening guide I just helped you find a new use for it. You’re welcome! On a side note, during my experiments it dawned on me that my razors all work on the pull stroke, which instantly classified them as Japanese style razors. Unfortunately I contacted most of the major razor manufacturers and gave them this information which they promptly used to triple their prices. Sorry about that.