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Some of you may know that I have been writing a book about sharpening. This book has been in progress for near to 15 years. I became distracted from drafting this project and wrote a book about shaving horses, a few years back, and which is still selling well. The company that I run with my wife, Crafty Little Press, orders books by the pallet load and Shaving Horses, Lap Shaves and other Woodland Vices is now on its third pallet load.

Anyway back to the point: Sharp is very nearly ready. We hope to send it to the printer in late February. It’s a big book with over 300 pages and nearly 1000 photos and illustrations. It was originally written to explain which abrasives to use and how to sharpen green woodworking tools, but as with the last book, it grew and grew. Tool sharpening is a task that most of us might struggle with at some point, or perceive as some dark and mysterious art; but which is essential to our craft. Ultimately, it is simple: get a stone and rub your tool on it until the tool is sharp. If only!

Sharp is a book that will guide the reader through the principles and practice of sharpening; from definitions and requirements in the chapter What is Sharp? and through chapters explaining edge geometry, how to observe the edge to determine correct sharpening procedures required, all about abrasives (including hand-tools, as well as human-powered and machine tools) and with detailed, step-by-step instructions for as many types of edge tool as we could fit into the book; and with an entire chapter given to plans and instructions for time-saving, effective jigs and guides.

Sharp is aimed at all kinds of edge-tool users. My speciality is green wood work, but I also run an electric workshop so all the cutting tools used in machine workshops, are included. Bushcrafters and others will appreciate the sections on knives and axes, as will smallholders who use sickles and scythes. Not to forget the chapter on saws – with details on how to sharpen them, from fine 22TPI dovetail saws, to two-person cross cut saws, and even how to get extra life from those disposable hard point saws that are usually thrown away with abandon.

I had to include information for cooks and gardeners; and if you use a push mower to cut the lawn then how about maintaining the cylinder or reel on that mower yourself? Shears of all kinds, from hairdresser scissors to hedge shears, are also covered in a whole chapter.

One part that I really did enjoy, was boring. Boring tools are great fun, and with such variety. Twist drill bits can be expensive, and for years I had growing piles of blunt ones; but since understanding the angles these need to be held at to grind them sharp, and how to make simple jigs to keep these angles consistent, then I only have to buy new ones if they break or wear beyond use.

…….and lots more.

There is no pre order and the book will only be available through this website, and the Crafty Little Press website, and a few woodworking shops in the UK. You should also be able to order copies of Sharp in the UK, through your local, independent book store. We hope to find US and European sellers at some point – please contact me if you are interested.

Stay Sharp !


Sharp Recycle logo
by Sean Hellman, 2020

13 thoughts on “Sharp

  1. I’ll have one when they’re ready please Sean xxx

  2. happy to stock for EU customers!

    1. Great idea, when you can organise that I would love a copy.

  3. Very much looking forward to buying your book

  4. Great news Sean. How many bottles of cider for one copy😀
    Put me down for one this instant! I’ve been waiting for this in great anticipation (and with a chest full of blunt edges)

  5. This looks like I need a copy in my hands now. Well done you !!

  6. I would love to have the first copy sent to the States!

  7. I would leuk ve to order one. Do you ship to the Netherlands?

    1. I have sold a lot of my other books to the Netherlands, so yes.

  8. Do you send to Australia?
    Also interested in your book on Shaving Horses etc. payment by PayPal?

    1. We send anywhere in the world. We also may have someone who will stock our books in Australia.

  9. I would like a copy when it is available please

  10. Is this book available yet? I can’t find it on the website thanks!

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