We’ve just received another load of brass engraved center squares, which are now in our store. Whenever I’m building a chair or working with curved surfaces, this tool is always on my bench or in my apron pocket.
Yes, the tool is useful for marking the centers on a piece before putting it on the lathe. But I use the tool for far more. Because of its shape, it helps me lay out mortises on a curved arm, seat and comb. Bisecting a curved surface by eye is tricky, but it’s child’s play with this tool.
It also is great for pulling lines around curved and flat surfaces, again a function that regular squares can’t do (without special attachments).
Finally, the tool is like a worry stone. We designed it to have a soft and noticeable presence in your hand. There are no sharp edges, and I find myself rubbing the engraving when I’m thinking at the bench.
In fact, we joke that the hang hole at the tip of the tool is actually so you can wear it as a necklace when you are at the disco. (So much classier than wearing a medallion or razor blade around your neck.)
New Printing of ‘Sharpen This’
We received our third printing of “Sharpen This.” That is a new record for one of our books. Usually we print enough books to last us a year to 18 months. “Sharpen This” was released in June 2022, and we are already into our third printing. That means more than 14,000 copies are out there in the world.
Even crazier, both French and German translations of the book are already well underway. Usually foreign publishers wait a few years to gather sales data before investing in a translation. (It took eight years for the German translation of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” to come to light.)
Most heartening has been the response from readers. Most woodworkers seem to get their sharpening instructions from people who make or sell sharpening equipment. So it’s little wonder there is so much confusion out there and useless or redundant sharpening stones and jigs.
“Sharpen This” isn’t selling or promoting a particular system. They all work, and I’ve used almost all of them. Instead, the book explains the mechanics of a simple process. And the perspective on what is “really sharp” is from a professional woodworker’s point of view. Not a manufacturer or seller of silly #30,000-grit sharpening stones.
So if you feel any uncertainty about your sharpening, or it takes you more than a couple minutes to sharpen a tool, “Sharpen This” might help.
— Christopher Schwarz