July 25, 2008, Newsletter Issue #86: Sharper Is Better

Tip of the Week

Bladed tools have obvious inherent dangers. Sharp edges and moving blades must be respected in the work area, but dull blades are actually far more dangerous. A cutting tool's ability to function predictably depends on a keen blade. When the blade dulls, hand tool safety is compromised and your tools can start behaving in dangerously unpredictable ways; kickbacks, variations in cutting speed and quality, and even the breaking of the cutting surface in some cases. An unpredictable cutting tool is a dangerous one. Beginners often don't notice dulling in their tools until it is advanced enough to be a hazard. A good way to add some safety to the beginner's toolbox is to keep a set of brand new spares handy. The moment you notice dullness, you can set aside the old blade and get started on the job again. You don't have to delay work to sharpen the old blades or purchase new ones. The expense of keeping the spares is offset by the ability to keep working, and once your old blades are resharpened you can hang on to them until they are needed. This will double the time needed before you must buy new blades again.

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