On Mon, 8 Sep 2008 13:40:25 -0700 (PDT), firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's a couple more ways to determine if you have a sharp edge:
1) you should be able to cleanly pare away end grain on softwood.
2) a sharp edge will not reflect light; if you can see tiny reflecting
points of light, it is time to touch up the edge.
Also, back of the chisel (some call it the "face") is actually more
important than the bevel. It should be dead flat and polished with the
same or higher grit than your bevel.
Actually, the softwood is a better test than a hardwood like oak; if
your edge isn't sharp, softwood will just kind of crumble away. The
hardwood will stand up better to the not so sharp edge and you can get
some kind of shaving.
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