A Simple Setup
I enjoyed this series way too much. No sane person should be excited to watch hours of sharpening tutorials, but I was riveted. The series is expertly filmed, and Richard's credibility means you can trust the techniques he suggests. This may be an odd "build" to share in the gallery, but I wanted to post a simple photo of where I landed after watching the series, in case it benefits others. The real lightbulb for me was Richard pointing out that using A2 means first considering the larger impact on your overall set up. And the idea of avoiding grinders completely, by purchasing a diamond plate and sticking to softer steels, clicked for me. So here's my setup at the moment. I adopted Richard's large plywood base, purchased a diamond plate, upgraded my oil stones (to Arkansas whetstones), and added a leather strop. I'm very happy with this approach, which took only a few minutes to assemble. I upgraded to the Arkansas whetstones because I already have a couple small A2 blades for my block and shoulder plane, and these stones (from Dan's Whetstones) can handle A2 steel, especially for small irons like these. But in general, I'm going to stick with softer steels and this setup means I can still handle the occasional A2 or PM-V11 without issue. I highly recommend this series. I now purchase tools based on my sharpening setup, instead of the other way around.