I want to show you my technique for how to sharpen carving chisels and corner chisels. If your carving blade is three quarters of and inch in width or more, lay your blade flat on the sharpening surface and raise the spine of the blade until you can fit the edge of a nickel under it. If it is less than three quarters of an inch, use a dime. All my tool designs have been extensively tested before they go into production, by me and also by a carefully selected group of woodworkers, the feedback I get from my field testers helps me greatly in my quest for better tools.
Yes the edge is sharp, but just because a tool can shave hair off a gnats bottom doesn’t’ mean it will cut wood. We sharpen hundreds and hundreds of tools and I am going to share some of the techniques that we use to sharpen. When honing a Staedtler, the entire roll should take no more than a few seconds; it takes a bit longer on a Speedball because the bottom of the V isn’t as crisply formed. Therefore I believe that wood carving is one of the most complex, personality-developing activity for all age groups, regardless of gender. Experimenting with angles and profiles will give you a better understanding of your tools and make you a better carver.
Note that there are two distinct types of gouges — those forged from a flat piece of steel which has be bent into the U” shape common to all gouges, and those created by milling a groove into a piece of round steel (Fig. Settling in with a sharpening system that offers the results you want, and that you actually use, can mark a real turning point in your woodworking. Properly sharpened wood carving tools guarantees that your wood carving projects will be flawless.
I’m confident that you have here some of the finest carving tools being made today and I’m proud to endorse both the tools and the caring, traditional manner in which they are made. The fact that the tip doesn’t have that razor sharpness you get from honing at shallow angles isn’t a problem because it’s not difficult to push a gouge through rubber anyway. After many sessions of carving/stropping, carving/ stropping, the edge may become slightly rounded (more from using leather than from using wood strops) – now is the time to hone. Third reason: For most of us the sandpaper method, if done carefully, will produce the sharpest cutting edges we have ever experienced.
I started carving at the age of 6, just like all Transylvanian urchins and I graduated from a vocational school in Odorheiu Secuiesc as a locksmith. This is sold for use with power sharpening systems using stitched cotton mops or felt pads in place of strops. Actually, my new book, due out shortly, does show the two methods and there is a two-set video on all of the hand tools in the book which includes the two methods for sharpening the gouge. Not long ago, I sharpened a carving knife for a fellow and to test the edge, I went to the back of my hand to cut a few hairs.
There are other, less expensive sharpeners out there, especially if you have the time to practice sharpening free hand. Use the gouges and a mallet to cut a channel and a bead in a piece of wood, cover it with fine emory paper, and lap the surfaces to a mirror finish. If, however, your edge will cut a thin curl across the end grain of a piece of basswood, that is a curl thin and smooth enough to curl near full circle before breaking, it is suitable for carving. Until recently this is the way most English turners ground their bowl gouges too.
Because they’re a relatively specialised tool they tend to be much more expensive than bench chisels, so much so in fact that individual high-end carving chisels can cost more than some sets of bench chisels. V-shaped tools such as parting tools and veining tools cause carvers the most misery because they are unforgiving when sharpened poorly. Although many tool makers give Rockwell readings in their advertisements, hardness alone does not make a good carving tool. They are also available in finer grades, which makes them a popular choice for honing and polishing devotees. I have been carving for almost 30 years and probably tried every sharpening and honing method anyone ever mentioned.
To strop: – take the compound, rub it on a piece of fine grained wood like basswood or on your leather strop, and stroke backwards – stropping the bevel of the tool in a sweeping motion. Once you get the knack it is so easy as to be effortless and you can make, and more importantly keep, tools as sharp as is humanly possible. The buffing compound is essential for achieving that razor-sharp edge needed for carving.
Another way to secure wet or dry paper to granite or plate glass is to spray the surface with water and just lay the sandpaper on the slab. Tool rolls and tool boxes are helpful in protecting tools; but it is best to protect the individual tool edge from accidental damage. Yet another way to go would be to use a piece of 600-grit sandpaper taped down onto a flat surface such as a piece of glass. It also comes with two tempered glass wheels – the traditional guaranteed-flat substrate for abrasive paper sharpening.
Pricing: Most wood carving tools can be sharpened for $9 unless you have large nicks and then we charge according to the cutting width of the tool. A strop is a strip of leather or similar material used to straighten and polish the blade of a knife or a carving tool at the micro level. This video comes from wood carver Mary May and shows her technique for getting a really fine edge on v-chisels.
Bring them together and begin a honing motion (back and forth, circles, doesn’t matter much) without changing those positions. Flexcut Slip Strop T his strop has been specially molded to allow for polishing and deburring the hard to reach areas on the inside of your v-tools and gouges as well as the outside edges. If you can’t find a ceramic knife the only possible substitute known is a Flexcut Slipstrop, which is a honing kit designed specifically for sharpening carving tools. Most beginner carvers find sharpening confusing and difficult to learn because there are no industry standards.
For this reason I have added a sharpening section, selling all the products that I use professionally in my workshop, this way you will be able to sharpen my tools so they continue to cut as they did when new. What this modification does is make the tip visibly narrower, which means it’s easier to see what you’re carving because there’s less gouge in your line of sight. Now drag the edge along the wet sandpaper surface at your eleven degree angle until all the nicks are gone and you have a smooth edge.
Move the stone against the stationary tool in any direction, sharpening the tool. I am just starting out and have been told that sharp tools are the key to easy wood carving. Carving tools are easiest to use when the blades and smooth, and rust pits don’t make for a smooth working tool. It improves your knowledge of wood and tools, your sharpening and drawing skills, your fine motor skills and spatial vision and many other skills in a short time. If your carving tools have worn or chipped edges the first thing you need to do is to straighten up the edges.