A strange title for an Blog, is it not? Anyone remotely interested in accounts of derring-do and stirring tales of Empire will know instantly that I refer not to the 1998 Hollywood movie of the same name, but an event that occurred nearly 150 years earlier, when the 93rd (Highland) Regiment, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders repulsed the Russian cavalry at the Battle of Balaclava on 25th October 1854. The London Times correspondent William Russell is reported to have said that he saw nothing between the British base and the Russian cavalry except a “thin red streak tipped with a line of steel”.

To bring this into context, you may wonder what ‘The Thin Red Line’ has to do with ‘The Resourceful Woodworker’, if at all, but bear with me and all will be revealed.

The Tormek machine, with its accessories forms the pre-eminent blade grinding system currently available. You only need to look at the clones that have arrived in recent years to see how successful it’s been.

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However, try as I might, I’ve been unable to find a way of grinding the bevel on short spokeshave blades using the SE-76 jig, as the pic above illustrates.

There simply isn’t enough metal on the blade to obtain the correct projection, in which case as a ‘Resourceful Woodworker’, I could see that what’s required is a blade extender – something to increase its effective length.

Having spent half an hour making it, the blade extender is simply a short blank of steel from the oddments box, with a couple of 5mm countersunk bolts, nuts and washers.

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When assembled, the effective length of the blade has now been substantially increased and you’ll also see that I’ve used some permanent felt tip to mark the bevel. When it’s reassembled into the SE-76 jig the correct angle of 25° is now easy to grind.

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But what of the felt tip on the bevel?

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When the grinding has been done and the bevel complete, all that will be left to hone is ‘The Thin Red Line.’

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In the spirit of William Russell and the 93rd Regiment of Foot, all comments should, in this instance, be forwarded to The Times.

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