Scary Sharp

Posted by Admin on 12th Aug 2009

We have had a lot of interest in our 3M scary sharp kits recently, mainly thanks to an article by Marc Fish in Furniture and Cabinetmaking Magazine and various referrals from alumni of the Barnsley Workshop.

For the benefit of those who would like to learn more about it, here is a pdf of the instructions that we send out with the Workshop Heaven Scary Sharpening Kit. I wrote these back when we only offered the non PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) backed versions of the film, as soon as I update them I will upload the new version (edit, the instructions now include PSA lapping film).

The PSA backing does make life a lot easier, it's like a heavy duty version of the stuff used on post it notes, so you just peel off the backing and stick it down rather than having to spray aerosol adhesive onto the film. Sticking it down is a one hit deal though, it will come off cleanly when you've finished with it, but it's worth taking your time to get it in the right spot when you apply it and roll it down onto the glass to avoid trapping any air bubbles.

I recently had the good fortune to meet up with Rob Stoakley, better known as woodbloke (check out his blog here) and demonstrate the system to him. Rob has had an interest in the scary sharpening for some time, along with a healthy dollop of caution. Given the number of 'revolutionary new must-have universal sharpening systems' that have been touted in recent years I don't blame him one bit. The only difference I can see with scary sharp is that it evolved naturally, no one seems to have invented it, it just happened. The lapping film was originally developed for polishing fibre optics, float glass was developed for making windows and Richard Kell designed his honing guides long before scary sharpening became popular. All I have done is procure the best kit for doing it with and put it in a box.

Rob had tried scary sharp before but couldn't get on with it, but the moment that I pointed out to him that it works best if you touch the blade to the abrasive on the pull stroke, and then lift it to return to the start position, everything suddenly 'clicked'. After a few minutes he had the whole thing cracked and was starting to come up with his own modifications and solutions. 

I'll leave Rob to finish the story on his blog, that way you'll get the story straight from the horses mouth.