I don’t wear cologne. But I might start if I could buy cologne that smelled like fresh-cut Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) or American white oak (Quercus alba).
However, Katy, my 13-year-old, thinks l’eau du alba smells like Starburst candy. Others report that the oaks smell like urine. So either I’m going to attract young girls or hobos while I’m sporting that scent.
Some woodworkers have told me their favorite wood smell is huon pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii), but that smells a little too spicy for me, like a hippie using patchouli to cover up some wicked B.O. Another much-loved smell is aromatic cedar, but that will only bring you attention from hamsters in heat. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
In any case, if I ever do come out with my own line of wood-smelling cologne, I know what I’ll call it: Studley.
Pure opinion: Buying sharpening stuff would be easier if manufacturers used microns to describe the particle size of the abrasive in each product.
While microns isn’t a perfect description, it’s a heck of a lot better than saying a stone is a “fine crystolon” when that stone is useful only for grinding away damage on a woodworking tool.
Woodworker Bert Bleckwenn recently created a chart that converts many sharpening products for woodworkers to microns and shared it with me. It’s an excellent and useful chart and is a good way to understand how coarse or fine your abrasives are.
A couple of caveats: Natural products are difficult to rate this way. For example, novaculite is the abrasive found in Arkansas oilstones. These can be coarser or finer depending on the individual stone. And there are other factors with abrasives – too many to really write about here without creating a book.
So if you have problems with this chart, I ask only this: Make a better one and I’ll consider posting it, too.
When I sharpen, here are the micron sizes I use for each operation.
Grinding. This is the rapid removal of material to repair an edge, reshape it or to shrink my secondary bevel. I like a particle size that is 50 microns or larger.
Honing. When I have dulled an edge and need to recreate a new zero-radius intersection, I like an abrasive that is between 15 and 6 microns.
Polishing. All abrasives smaller than 6 microns are polishing media in my eye. How far you polish is personal. I usually polish at about 3 microns and then finish at 1 micron or so.
Thanks to Bert for this chart. And thanks in advance to readers for not trying to turn this post into a fight over sharpening (that’s a hint).
Thanks to woodworker Donna R. Hill, you can download a free SketchUp drawing – or a pdf version – of the knockdown workbench I built a couple of weeks ago. Here’s the video in case you missed it.
Donna (some of you might know her as the “Wood Wench” through the Society of American Period Furniture Makers), produced a SketchUp file that she uploaded to the 3D Warehouse. You can download that file by going here. She also produced an excellent three-page pdf with complete measured drawings of the bench. Even if you have SketchUp, I recommend you snag these plans as well.
Donna teaches SketchUp classes locally here in Cincinnati; so if you need some instruction in this program look her up. She’s also a frequent demonstrator at the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event when it comes to Cincinnati. She’s a talented woodworker – and expect to see more of her illustration work in upcoming Lost Art Press books.