The last discussion dedicated to sharpening tools I found cobalt stated about a year ago. We have new comers to the forum, some thinking about doing some carving and some new experienced carvers to add insight in to sharp tools. Sharpening is one of those things that is easy to do. (Once You Learn How.) But can be really frustrating at first. It is an essential skill to learn if you want to carve. Those of us who have been doing this for a while will tell you that a sharp tool is the safest tool. Most tools today come sharp but no all come carving sharp. With a shallow cut, the cutting edge should slice though the wood leaving a smooth and somewhat shiny surface. The amount of pressure it takes to push the edge thought the wood will vary with the wood you are cutting. But on a typical shallow cut it should not be real hard to make the cut. There are a lot of sharpening stones and power sharpening tools out there. If you are new, I would suggest staying away from power sharpening at first. You can ruin a good tool very fast if you are not careful. There are many different types of stones, soft or hard Arkansas, diamond, ceramic and others. I started out with a double sided stone with a soft Arkansas on one side and hard on the other. I still use it for quick tune-ups much of the time. There are You Tubes, books and DVDs you can get. My first suggestion is if possible get with another carver. I highly recommend finding a carving club or group within driving distance. In the early days that help me more than anything. I got very good at it with Chris Pye's book and video. His is not the fastest way but for me it is what I chose to do. If you are new at it choose a method that feels comfortable to you and sick with it, if it is working. I hope we can get a good discussion going on sharpening and stropping.