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The Complete Guide to Sharpening Paperback – October 9, 1995


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The Complete Guide to Sharpening + The Handplane Book (Taunton Books & Videos for Fellow Enthusiasts) + Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings
Price for all three: $53.50

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (October 9, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561581259
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561581252
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Leonard Lee is a contributor for Taunton Press titles including The Complete Guide to Sharpening.


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Customer Reviews

One of the best books on sharpening I've ever seen.
Leon Balynski
He is very experienced and he packs a huge amount of detailled and easily read information in this book.
Doug Longmire
Leonard Lee's The Complete Guide to Sharpening is a better book and covers more than mine does.
D. Steve Bottorff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

191 of 191 people found the following review helpful By Oavde on July 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ooooh what a book ...
All the positive reviews made me want to know more, so I asked about it at a local woodworking shop and they said, "This is THE best book on sharpening."
It is essential to have sharp tools, I do all my work with handtools but the book goes into great detail on ALL tools, machines, different shapes of tools, the advantages of different techniques ... great detail, but it is also concise, VERY easy to read and understand, and has excellent placement of photos within the text - if you are reading about something on page 30 the pictures will be on page 30, not page 29, not page 35. Also the large pages are broken up nicely with tidbits of fascinating historical and scientific information. In parts, I actually laughed out loud!
There are electron microscope photographs of the edges of blades that have been sharpened using various methods. You can actually see the effects ... you will gain appreciation of lapping and rust prevention ... you will know how to select good tools, good sharpening aids ... you will learn about the structure of wood and how to cut with a blade.
Part of the way through it I thought, "this is great, but I wish it told me how to sharpen my kitchen knives" - wholah! in a few pages it did, it showed me how to use that stupid thing that came with the set of knives, and the method worked very well.
I could not be more pleased with this book. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in sharpening, especially woodworkers, these are essential skills. Sharp tools will enhance your entire woodwork experience. You will produce finer work with greater ease, even if you use mostly power tools.
I give it 6 stars out of 5.
If it had all colour photos and was bound in leather, I would give it 10 out of 5 AND it would be a fantastic coffee table book as well (warning: that does not mean it is insubstantial, just that many non-woodworking visitors would very much enjoy it)
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87 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is genuinely the most exhaustive volume I have ever seen in the world of woodworking. Leonard Lee (who is the president of Veritas and Lee Valley Tools) has made every effort to leave out none of the minutia of the world of sharpening. I'm making fun a bit, but there is no question but that this is 'the complete guide ...'

Lee starts right out with the definition of sharpness, the physics of cutting wood, metallurgy, abrasives and equipment. Then he gets down to tools and techniques. Everyone expects chapters on chisels, planes, and knives, but Lee goes on to tweezers, Phillips screwdrivers, claw hammer claws and several other things that you may have never thought were dull.

For all the density of information, Lee's delivery is clear and he makes good use of illustration. And there is a great deal of pleasure to be gained from owning a book that really does live up to its title. Whether beginning or expert sharpener, this is certainly the text to own
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By KRASSEL on December 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book by Leonard Lee (who also owns Lee Valley / Veritas tools) is probably the most complete book on sharpening on the market today. He covers metalurgy, composition, tempering and heat treating. He not only discuss's angles for sharpening but why these are the proper angles. Quite a bit of time is spent discussing diffferent edges or degree's of sharpness and why you want to achieve them. You begin to realize he is trying to take a somewhat dry and often confusing process and turn it into something you can fully understand from beginning to end. The fact that he is very passionate about sharp tools comes thru. I especially appreciate the wide selection of sharpening aids that he has included in the book. From the old standby oilstone to the ultra modern complete systems. He offers alternative methods and shows how to achieve that perfect edge.

I also have the cd/dvd companion to the book. It is almost as complete, with a lot of hands on demonstration.

I have always been able to get a good edge on my chisel's and turning tools (except the mini's, old eyes ya know), but was never happy with the edge I would get on my planes. Now they cut those beautiful "curls" everytime. His book makes it simple and easy for me to achieve this.

Recommend this book to everyone, woodworker or not, who needs to be able to get that "edge" on their cutting tools. Can't give it a high enough rating.

The cd/dvd rates way up there also.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By D. Steve Bottorff on February 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
I wrote Sharpening Made Easy, a good book on knife sharpening. Leonard Lee's The Complete Guide to Sharpening is a better book and covers more than mine does.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By mruseless on April 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
Leonard Lee takes an open-minded, scientific look at a subject that many woodworkers treat as voodoo. Lee presents photographs that detail the differences between "razor sharp" and truly hair-splitting sharp. He explains techniques for getting the keenest edge possible on chisels, saws, plane blades, scrapers, and a variety of other edges tools. He takes the time to explain edge geometry and how it will affect the steel based on some simple metallurgy. He also explains how different woods and types of cuts require different geometries.
This book has become one of my basic reference manuals in the shop.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Peter on January 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If they added a sub-title to this book aying: "The guide to sharpening and maintaing collectable and unusual woodworking tools" I'd give it a five star rating.

There is a lot of good information in this book for people who want to know all about sharpening and maintaining woodworking tools, particularly some lost-art tools like broad axes, shipwright adzes and two man buck saws. There is also lots of stuff on more obscure tools like Japanese planes and saws, scorps, inshaves, hand molding planes etc. So if you need to figure out the best wat to sharpen your scorp, this book is for you. For the collector, or just the curious about traditional woodworking tools, this book is a must-have.

However it is very light on modern shop tool sharpening and forget about stuff outside the realm of woodworking.

For example: The advice on sharpening a twist drill, a subject upon which an entire book could be written, the author suggests getting a jig or a commercial drill sharpener... but doesn't discuss at all how to use the various jigs, the merits of one vs. another, the differences in drill cutting geometry, or how to obtain various sorts of drill points. He devotes less than one column to the entire subject of twist drills while devoting a whole chapter to burnishing cabinet scrapers. This is a noteable omission as "old school" machinists all considered hand sharpening twist drills accurately for differing tasks to be a necessary basic skill. I would have thought that the author would have found the subject much more interesting.

The book pretty much deals with all the other other improtant cutting tools used in today's power-tool driven carbide-cutter shops the same way. i.e. Send them out to a pro sharpening shop to get best results.
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