Tom Bartlett Guest Sharpener
Guest Author Since 2020
Located in Madison, WI
Tom is a guest sharpener for Sharpening Supplies. He is a true craftsman and uses sharp tools for a living. He is a green woodworker, using unseasoned wood from locally felled urban trees. Tom works almost exclusively with hand tools. The high moisture content of unseasoned wood makes it easier to shape with hand tools, all of which need regular sharpening. Tom turns vessels on a foot-powered lathe and carves utensils using hatchets, knives, and gouges. Originally from Great Britain, most of his work is influenced by traditional Northern European crafts, especially Scandinavian 'sloyd'.
When sharpening by hand, think about the position you're holding your body in. You will be repeating the same motion for multiple repetitions and want each one to follow the same path. If you can lock your arms in place and get the forward and back movement coming from your legs for example, you're likely to have a more consistent motion.
Sharpen often. Keeping a great edge on my woodworking tools makes the carving process so much more enjoyable. If I let my edges get blunt, carving isn't as fun and the eventual sharpening takes longer.
Tom's Favorite Product:
In keeping with my 'sharpen often' philosophy I strop my tools a lot. I really like the size of the 12" Leather Bench Mountable Strop. Together with the Green Honing Compound, this is how I maintain the edge of most of my tools.
You can follow Tom and his business, Sylva Spoon, using the links below.
Sylva Spoon Website
Sharpening a Sloyd Carving Knife
June 26, 2020
In the middle of carving, I started to notice what looked like scratches in the wood. These white lines left by the knife are a sign that the blade has a tiny chip in it. Instead of being scratches, they’re li...