I promised myself that I would not build any new projects until I completed my workbench. I have been making do for so long with substandard setups (even winning a “Most Pathetic Workbench” award from Woodworking Magazine), that it takes me at least twice as long on any project than it would with a proper workbench (and even WITH a proper workbench, I will probably take three times as long as you would). It was time to draw the line in the sawdust and say enough is enough.

I promised myself that I would not build a workbench until I sharpened every blade in my shop. That includes 6 chisels and 5 plane irons. I took a “Hand Tools Basics and Sharpening” class at Woodcraft in 2007, which really gave me confidence in sharpening. But it was hard to maintain the motivation to keep my tools sharp, and all I ended up doing was hitting my chisels harder and pushing my planes more forcefully. I was also aware that none of the backs of my blades and irons were properly flattened. So I told myself that I would do a proper sharpening of all my tools: a good flattening of all the backs (which will be a once-in-a-long-time task) and then a good honing and microbevel for the bevels.

But I dread sharpening. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t have a grinder. Maybe it’s the fact that I still don’t have the hang of cambering a plane iron. Maybe it’s just because it’s mundane. I dunno. But these promises I made to myself have been severely hampering my woodworking.

No more.

This weekend I finished my last three plane irons. I am now cleared for workbench lumber purchase.