Scary sharp

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Scary sharp is a method of sharpening woodworking tools with sandpaper instead of conventional methods of oilstone or waterstone sharpening. The sandpaper referred-to here can be any abrasive impregnated sheet used in the various industries to smooth surfaces and examples include glass paper, silicon carbide, emery cloth, etc. The sandpaper is affixed to another hard, flat substrate to create the sharpening surface. Sheet-glass is commonly used, but a machinist's granite surfacing block, marble baking slabs, plywood, medium-density fibreboard (MDF)or even jointer out-feed tables will produce satisfactory results. The method of fixation is usually a matter of the user's preference, and can include plain water (by means of surface tension), sprayed-on adhesive, or by simply using adhesive-backed abrasive paper.

The basics of the method involves holding the cutting area of the chisel or plane iron flat to the sandpaper and gently moving back and forth in either side to side or back to front motions, as one would with a sharpening stone. The blade is taken through a series of increasingly finer grades of sandpaper.


The most notable advantage of the scary sharp system is speed and cost. Anyone with access to sandpaper and a reasonably flat surface can sharpen any cutting tool, often with good results. Unlike traditional stones, no maintenance is required for the scary-sharp set-up, since the sharpening surface does not form a hollow with repeated, uneven usage. A...
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