As I’ve said before, the ONLY thing that really matters while sharpening is creating a burr.
But before you can make that burr, you need to know your chisel or plane iron is at the correct angle in the honing guide…
And that it is at least close to square.
With this sharpening hack, you can test the accuracy of your sharpening jig setup with just a couple strokes.
All you need is a Sharpie. Here’s how it works.
1. SET UP YOUR TOOL IN THE HONING GUIDE
2. DRAW SHARPIE ON THE BEVEL
Take your Sharpie and “black out” the tip of your tool. Make sure you mark the beveled edge.
You don’t need to draw over the entire bevel. But make sure you mark over the edge and at least a couple millimeters back.
3. TAKE 3 TEST STROKES
Make three passes on your sharpening stone, then check the Sharpie.
If the Sharpie has been removed evenly from the tip, you know your setup is spot on and you're on your way to creating a burr.
If the Sharpie at the tip hasn’t been removed, you need to pull the tool back in the sharpening jig to slightly increase the angle.
- And if it’s coming off unevenly, you need to adjust the squareness of the tool to the jig.
A little bit of Sharpie can tell you all that in seconds — saving you from wasted effort and inaccurately sharpened tools.
It’s like the prophecy-reading crystal ball of sharpening.
Want a deeper look at sharpening technique? Read this.