Origins of Scary Sharp(TM)

From a thread on WoodCentral my friend, Bruce, a MN Galoot, wrote:

It was David Opincairne who taught Steve LaMantia how to do it, although Steve got the credit for writing it up. Steve was one of the four original galoots.

My friend, Al, asked Bruce:

When did Steve write it up?

And Bruce recalled:

Seems to me it was about 1994 or so. There weren't many of us on the wreck then, maybe about 40-50 msgs per day for the whole news group. Opincairne had just started an apprenticeship as a patternmaker (IIRC and I wouldn't want to bet on that), and he learned it from the guys in the shop. They said the method had been around a long time.

Steve's contribution was twofold - he's a great writer, and he broadcast it very widely.

BTW, I know PaddyO disagrees with me, but it was Steve LaMantia who named us the Galoots. There were four of us in a sidebar discussion on the use of the Stanley sawset and we wrote off to Patrick Leach. Pat asked about us, and Steve said we were just a bunch of galoots who were interested in acquiring both sawsets and info.

Nicholas Carey added:

USENET lives forever…somewhere…

[rummages around google's archive of USENET postings going back to the Beginning of Time (well before Eternal September began after AOL joined USENET):

First mention (no details) of “Scary-Sharp(tm)” was in rec.woodworking, by Bennet Leeds of Adobe on 29 Sep 1994:

Ron Hock mentions “scary-sharp” (again no details) in rec.woodworking again on 13 Feb 1995:

Bennet Leeds mentioned “Scary-Sharp (tm)” again (no details) in rec.woodworking on 10 May 1995:

And Steve LaMantia's post to rec.woodworking (the one that started it all, with details) was made on 1 Nov 1995:

Since Adobe, at that time was only in California (ditto for Ron Hock), I suspect that the term scary sharp was a california-ism that migrated up the left coast until it found its way into Steve Lamantia's fertile brain, where it flourished. I don't doubt that people were using abrasives on glass, surfacing plates or saw tables to sharpen things well before his post, but you've got to admit that his [re-]discovery of the technique and the ensuing description in his post to rec.woodworking made an impression in the ol' mind that stuck there.

So there you have it. All you ever wanted to know about how Scary Sharp(TM) got started.

Last updated: 27 January 2009

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