I can’t stress enough the importance of sharpening your tools. A sharp tool not only works better, it is safer as well. And when I say sharp, I mean shaving your beard sharp. I get this edge using Japanese water stones. I start with a 1200 grit (800 if the tool has nicks in it). I do all my sharpening free hand. I feel once this skill is learned, hand sharpening is much faster than using a guide.

I start by sharpening the bevel until I can feel a burr on the under side. At this point I move to a 4000 grit stone for honing. I work the bevel until it has a nice sheen across the full surface of the bevel. I then move to a 8000 grit stone for the polish. If I am sharpening a chisel or plane iron, I will flip over the blade and take the burr off. I will do about 10 strokes and then turn it over to the bevel and continue. I start with a fairly heavy pressure, and over a series of flips, work down to a very soft pressure. This creates the razor sharp cutting edge.