A sharpening guide helps avoid gouging the surface.

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More and more woodworkers are finding that the path to perfectly sharpened edge tools lead them through water. For that's what lubricates the increasingly popular Japanese waterstones. These manmade whetstones offer a big advantage in sharpening tools—an abrasive surface that constantly renews itself as you work.

Waterstones are intended to be used wet. So before sharpening soak the stone in water for 10 to 15 minutes in clean water. To hold the stone steady and centered in a container with water (we use a cookie pan), build the simple holder shown above. The two side pieces slide on the 38 " dowel, allowing you to center the stone in the container. The rubber band holds the stone firmly against the side pieces and dowel. When you're done sharpening, simply remove the holder from the water and let dry.
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