Sharpening Planes & Chisels - DVD
A Sharp Edge in 60 Seconds
with Ian Kirby

Published by Linden Publishing, Fresno, CA, USA

R.R.P.$32.90

ISBN 978-1-933502-21-2

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As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 145

Ian Kirby is described as a British trained designer and maker of furniture with more than 50 years experience in the workshop. The author of several books (The Complete Dovetail, Sharpening with Waterstones and The Accurate Table Saw), Sharpening Planes & Chisels appears to be his first video.

Kirby's presentation begins with a brief study of the anatomy of a hand plane then moves quickly to an examination of the grinding equipment required for sharpening both plane irons and chisels.

It's obvious that the author has put a great deal of thought into the development of his equipment for these purposes.He uses a conventional grinder - though he recommends one which runs at a slower speed than those normally available - and an aluminium oxide wheel.

He explains the meanings of the symbols used to describe these stones and how to choose one that satisfies the specific requirements of tool sharpening.

Kirby then goes on to show how to make a simple tool rest for the grinder and also the two jigs that he uses for grinding blades and chisels.

The purpose of his system is to allow the grinding angle to be set quickly, accurately and repeatably.

When Kirby turns his attention to sharpening with water stones he includes the construction and setting up of a special table for them.

Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of this video is the time that is devoted to getting the body stance right and, in particular, the correct position of the fingers and hands when sharpening tools on a water stone.

This allows Kirby to tackle a subject that is rarely referred to elsewhere, which is the slight rounding of a plane blade in order to achieve a cut that removes waste without forming a sharp ridge at each end of the blade edge.

Ian Kirby is a down to earth '‘this-is how-I-do-it' kind of presenter. It is very unlikely that the video was scripted. Kirby talks in a manner that one might might expect him to if we were to visit his workshop.

Yet there is no doubt but that he is at pains to make sure his audience understands the most important points of his presentation.

This DVD is only one of many such videos that have been produced throughout the world on the subject of sharpening but despite its rather laid back approach and the occasional quickly corrected mistake, it has to rate as one of the best.

Duration: 65min

DVD - English - NTSC