Just saw an Unplugged version of Hot Blooded by Foreigner. Lou Gramm is sitting there singing while banging on...wait for it....A COWBELL!
Ok, so maybe I'm the only one who found that funny.
Adventures in Honing: last week I found myself needing to plane the top of a door that would not close, in a house I'm trying to help sell (long story, some other time) for my sister in law. Took out trusty old plane that I'd just used successfully to trim a screen door at the same house so that it actually would shut.
Except that the trim for the door was MUCH SOFTER than the top of this door. And it wouldn't do much to dent it. Called experienced woodworking buddy (I'm a novice, despite trying to take on way too complex projects...like a maple bed frame, but that too is for another time), who noted that most likely cause to bounce off the door is DULLNESS. He points me at some references, and I luckily had along "the complete book of tips, tricks & techniques" by popular woodworking, and together we discovered Scary Sharp. Which actually works fantastically.
My newly sharpened plane, despite the obvious lack of expertise (secondary bevel way too wide, not entirely square) sliced that door down to size with much less work. I had to use the belt sander on the upright post on the outer edge, 'cos my plane wouldn't hack the end grain, but otherwise, it was a dream.
So any of y'all who haven't sharpened your tools lately, get to it. The investment in sandpaper, a marble tile, and mineral spirits (recommended over water as a lubricant) is very small compared to the improvement in your tools.