Unicorn Sharpening

Saturday, July 23, 2022
Presented by: David Weaver
831 Broadway Avenue
McKees Rocks, PA 15136
Virtual Meeting Available

Meeting Agenda

Meeting Date: July 23, 2022

9:30 AM Doors open

10:00 AM Presentation

12:01 PM Adjourn

Would you like to have a much quicker way to sharpen your chisels (and other straight-edge tools?)?  What if this same method performs better and holds its sharp edge longer? And what if the method works well on all types of steel, even less expensive “utility” chisels?  Does this all sound almost too good to be true and as rare as a unicorn?  If so, then please join us for our July 23 meeting, when we will meet David Weaver who has studied and tested his method of sharpening, which has been dubbed (by others) the Unicorn method.  Through lecture, audio/visual aids, demonstration, AND a hands-on opportunity for all attendees to try their hand at this sharpening method, David will show us, in detail, why he believes his sharpening method is superior to traditional sharpening and honing methods.  If you wish to give it a try, we only ask that you bring a chisel with you (please read the Hands-On Program section below). Some of you may recognize aspects of this sharpening technique as being similar to what some carvers use to hone their gouges but adapted for use with straight cutting edges.

David has written extensively about this sharpening method (among many other woodworking-related topics) and a very good article appears on the Popular Woodworking website for those of you who might wish to better acquaint yourself with the method before our meeting, although this is completely unnecessary.  There are also a variety of YouTube videos out there as well.  Just google “Unicorn Sharpening Method” and many choices for articles and videos will be presented.  Or, just come and be surprised…

Hands-On Program: If you wish to try your hand at this sharpening method, we ask that you bring a chisel(s) that already has a flat back (presumably, regardless of what method you’re using to sharpen, your chisels have their backs flattened) and with the bevel ground to ~20 degrees.  Yes, you read that right…please grind a shallower-than-normal 20-degree bevel.  This bevel can be right off your grinding wheel, although refining it a bit on a stone to remove deep scratches will be helpful.  At the meeting we will have the only other two things that you’ll need to complete the Unicorn Sharpening:

  • 1) An ~1000 grit stone to develop a small 23-degree micro-bevel, which you will do by hand.
  • 2) A 6″ or 8″ buffer(s) with the appropriate cotton wheels and compounds to achieve the buffed edge that is at the heart of the method.

We’re asking you to grind the 20-degree primary bevel at home so that we don’t need to take up a bunch of time doing this at the meeting.  If you don’t like the Unicorn result, you can very easily regrind/resharpen your chisel to whatever primary bevel you prefer.  It’s a small gamble with potentially large returns.

As usual, the meeting will be simulcast via WebEx for video participation off-site.  Masks will be optional, we’ll do our best to maintain social distancing, and the large garage door will be open with the large exhaust fan running.

About the Presenter

David Weaver