Book Review : Taunton’s Complete Illustrated Guide to Sharpening


I’ve been haunting the local library’s shelves again looking for something new to read and came across this book.

The author is Thomas Lie Nielson of Lie Nielson tools, a man who really needs no introduction as his line of high quality hand tools is the stuff of many woodworkers daydreams. This book is written from his many years of experience in both using and making tools, and it’s a very engaging read.

The cover tells you what to expect inside, but it doesn’t tell you the depth the information is covered in and the quality of the illustrations. It covers everything from equipment to sharpening chisels and planes, then onto things like scorps and lipped adze’s, tools many will not have heard of before let alone tried to sharpen.

It doesn’t try and force you to use only one sharpening system and it doesn’t shove any of the various opinions on what works best down yours throat, instead it offers multiple options for sharpening each tool and suggests which the author prefers from experience.

I found the sections on sharpening carving tools most helpful, and the section on sharpening various drill bits was also worth the read, as things like auger and Forstner bits can be tricky.

The only downside is the hefty price tag, around $40AU, but it’s the best sharpening book I’ve read so far and it covers so much ground I doubt you’d need another. I’m putting this one onto my wish-list as I’m sure it would get a lot of use.


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