Ralph over at his blog mentioned something that made me think about sharpening and tools in general. First, I have too damn many. I can get away with it because living in the desert Southwest almost eliminates the rust and corrosion problem. That's the reason you see airports in the desert with hundreds of old aircraft parked.
If I had to deal with rust on a daily bases I wouldn't have time to do any woodwork or I'd have to shed most of my tools. Of course that led to trying to figure out what tools I really need and that led back to Ralph's original post about sharpening.
In my experience there are two to four major divides in approaches to sharpening. The first is mostly freehand vs. those that use a jig when they are able. The second are the folks that seldom return a tool to the rack that is not working sharp and will sharpen mid job vs. the ones that if a tool dulls will just grab another and set the dull tool aside to be sharpened when the sharpening pile reaches critical mass or they run out of sharp tools.
There is no value judgement of the four camps, it's just different ways of working. Because I'm in the freehand/sharpen when dull camp I expect in reality I could function at about the same level I do now with no more than a dozen or so chisels. Would I do it? Ain't no way as long as I'm in the desert. With a move out of the desert I expect a few tools would go.
Photos of my chisel racks to show the extent of my sickness:
First the rack behind the main workbench that holds most of my day to day chisels. BTW, if you went through the racks, with the exception of the "why do I keep these chisels" rack and a few new to me chisels that are still being set up, every chisel is sharp and ready to use.
The rack above the main tool shelf also behind the main workbench.
The rack over the sharpening bench where I store most of the mortise chisels and gouges.
And the rack where the"Why do I keep these chisels" are stored.
There are even more "why do I keep these chisels" in chisel rolls stuck in different coroners of the shop. It is a sickness but for the most part harmless, better than Porsche's and blondes and a little safer and cheaper.