We worked near to each other, him one side and me the other. I gave him his first lessons in restoring and sharpening saws, Jack. He listens attentively and learns quickly. By doing it it becomes experiential learning. Much better than with books I think but when a book is done well be a crafting artisan, as mine is, it comes together there too. I have not read a book or even a booklet that covers sharpening too well, that’s why Essential Woodworking Hand Tools came together so well; I had a burden to make sure I left my knowledge on hand tools for others. My video work has fleshed this out too. So glad for my side of the world wide web.
I twist my old hands in certainty in a certain way, work from left to right, feel for the resistance, shift, absorb, things like that second by second and I adjust to take in the vibrations that might lead to abberation should my hands not counter the imbalance of stroke, pressure and direction.
My work in teaching side be side needs only minimal explanation because it’s seen, heard and then felt too so directly. This one on one is, was, the way of man and boy for me and all trainee boys before me for centuries. We’ve lost this great thing, man and boy. Its a sad thing. A sad day. I did the same with my boys as they grew up. Man and boy, man and boy and so on for each one of them. I saw them grow, was a part of it. No one else could do it for me. These were my sons. It was my responsibility and my doing. They never feared messing up and rarely did they. Of course there is no sexism here. And I have done and always will do the same for any woman or girl wanting to follow the same path wanting to learn in whatever years I have left. It just happened a thousand times more with men because they were the ones that came to me to learn.
Most restorative practices on saws are no brainers. Rust removal by abrasive first, and that’s most often quick and effective with just sandpaper, and then the surfaces take on an immediate smoothness that’s improved on level to level. And then of course there is the cleanness on the plate I like.
His first saw has pressed studs which look ugly because they are just utilitarian. They are also extremely difficult to remove without causing damage, if not impossible. But I was able to show the difference between stud types and how to settle a couple of issues and Jack will know this for the rest of his life.
I like that I am able to equip him. He did well sharpening his first saw but the second one challenged him a bit more. I was glad because it isn’t always first time successes that work best in the learning curve. Better understanding in the different dynamics affecting sharpening come when problems raise their ugly heads for you to gain your ‘aha-moments’. those learned from weeks, months and decades past stand you in good stead for the present and future you might otherwise always take for granted.