Carvers Sharpening Apprentice


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Carver’s Sharpening Apprentice (CSA) Plans in PDF format are now available for ordering​

The Carver’s Sharpening Apprentice (CSA) was officially launched at the Handworks 2023 on Sept 1-2, 2023.

CSA Plans are now available for purchase
The CSA Plans are now being offered and consist of a comprehensive description of the Carver’s Sharpening Apprentice solution, construction instructions, construction templates, labels, usage instructions, and component sourcing information. The plans are sent electronically to your email address as a printable PDF file once payment has been confirmed.

CSA Plans Price - $20.00​

The CSA plans consisting of a 57 page PDF color document are available for the price of $20.00


Accepted payments are via major credit cards. To order/pay for the plans, initiate payment of $20.00 by:
  1. send an email to requesting a CSA Plan copy in electronic PDF format for your personal use only along with your name and phone number. This enables me to copy/paste your email address correctly.
  2. Call Bert Bleckwenn at 301-634-1600 and provide credit card information for the $20 payment.
  3. Upon receipt of payment, the plans are sent via email as an attachment from
For questions, issues or feedback, send an email to

CSA Introduction

The Carver’s Sharpening Apprentice (CSA) provides wood carvers with an innovative, effective, efficient, and repeatable approach for sharpening carving tools (gouges and V-tools). It is ideal for new carvers who frequently struggle with creating and maintaining the level of sharpness required for effectively carving wood and for carvers who are frustrated with their current sharpening techniques.

My motivations for developing the Carver’s Sharpening Apprentice were to aid wood carvers and pay it forward to new ones. The system arose from experiences conducting sharpening clinics for members of my local carving club, the regional SAPFM Chesapeake chapter, and teaching numerous carving and sharpening classes over the past several years.

CSA Basic System

The CSA basic system consists of a stable benchtop sharpening platform, a set of Tormek jigs for engaging sharpening stones set at the same height, an adjustable-height support arm that is parallel to the platform and stone surfaces, a tool-holding jig that rides and slides on the support arm using its recessed saddle and presents the tool in a fixed position to the sharpening stones allowing controlled movement.

You can use the basic system to sharpen a tool at its existing bevel angle. Simply insert the tool shaft into the short tool jig with the shaft extending 2-1/2” from the short tool jig. Hold the bevel to the stone surface and raise/lower the support arm until the existing bevel is flat on the stone surface. Sharpen through your stone set, which should all be adjusted to the same height.

The optional CSA gauge can assist with setting the shaft length extension for standard or short length carving tools and/or setting the bevel angle to 20° or 15° bevel angles. Alternatively, an optional digital angle gauge can aid in setting or replicating bevel angles.

A variety of sharpening media can be accommodated including diamond stones, ceramic stones, water stones, oil stones, or sandpaper mounted on a suitable substrate along with a leather strop if stones/strop are all at a consistent height.

Most carving tools brands, shapes, styles, and sizes can be accommodated.

What Problem does CSA Solve?

CSA addresses the sharpening challenges for new carvers by enabling the carver to produce a consistently sharp and properly prepared carving tool. CSA enables the establishment of a consistent bevel angle, presents the carving tool to the sharpening stone and leather strop in a controlled manner, and promotes the ability to easily repeat the sharpening setup and process.

Why is CSA Effective and Efficient?
  • Readily available Tormek components provide the underlying precision.
  • A Tormek Short Tool Jig holds a carving gouge at a fixed bevel angle, inhibiting any twisted movement while enabling parallel movement of itself and the carving gouge across a sharpening stone or strop at the same bevel angle. While sliding across the Tormek Support arm parallel to the stone surface, it also enables rotation along the shaft axis to match the sweep angle of the gouge.
  • The CSA Platform presents sharpening stones parallel to the bevel angle of the carving tool held in the Short Tool Jig.
  • A Tormek Horizontal Base and Tormek Support Arm provide adjustability and make installation to the platform easy.
  • Sharpening stones and strop/plate all set at the same height allow for the sharpening through a stone grit sequence and leather strop quickly and easily.
CSA Comprehensive System


My CSA system showing the typical sharpening accessories I use for conducting Sharpening Clinics for my local carving club.
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