Sharpening

To the beginning boatbuilder, using chisels and block planes is a bit mysterious. I have one of those pricey door hardware installation tool kits – and I do enjoy it, but I’ve never used it and not had to tidy up the work a bit with my trusty little hand wood chisel. If the tool leaves scratch marks, it means the edge has a dull spot or a nick, and I sharpen that area some more. For more information on the types of stones and what choice to make, reference our stone guide. The side-clamping guide works only with chisels whose sides taper to an edge that’s less than 1/16 in. thick. Another good way to sharpen is to use first flatten the back of the chisel, progressively going through grits until you can see yourself as in a mirror.

For plane irons, a secondary bevel increases the risk that the heel of the secondary bevel will touch the wood and cause chattering. This may not match your expectations, but it’s true of nearly every hand tool (and most power tools) that you might ever acquire. Ink the inside of the gouge and using a fine slip stone as before, gently hone the inside bevel until the wire edge breaks off.

Or not… That’s about the quality I use, along with sandpaper and it works well enough if you are not a perfection buff. To find the right angle for your chisel, you will first need to determine three things: the type of chisel, it’s intended use, and the type – or hardness – of the wood you will be working. Heavy-duty folding handle diamond sharpener for all chisels, works great with the FastCap line of Pocket Chisels. So some luthiers need to use carving gouges and other carving tools and of course these need to be sharpened and honed regularly with use.

In most cases it’s fine to stop after honing, but if you want the chisels to be even sharper, you can add a micro bevel. To some, it may seem like a daunting process but once mastered, you will be able to sharpen and maintain the edge on your tools, producing quicker and better carvings. I covered the pros and cons of different types of stones in the How to Choose a Sharpening Stone blog series I go through a coarse, medium, and fine diamond stone, then go on to a hard translucent oil stone and a leather strop.

A good tip is to rest the stone on a washcloth, shop towel or similar surface to keep it from sliding around on the table or bench. Their engineer told me the stone was well broken in but the stone does not produce a slurry therefore it doesn’t leave a polish. Sharpening a chisel is actually quite easy, especially if you use a honing jig. Standard bench and butt chisels are traditionally ground at the factory to 25°, and this is fine for most work, but the edge will last longer if you add a 5° microbevel to make a 30° cutting angle.

Summary: Help and advice on how to sharpen your chisels and plane blades safely and how to use oil stones or diamond stones to keep wood chisels sharp and effective. Second, and most important, these chisels have relatively soft steel blades, so they dull quickly. When you use a properly sharpened set of wood chisels without using a hammer, you can be incredibly precise about what wood you remove from your project.

The real gem in this video comes at the end, when Crowe shows how he uses a piece of softwood and some chrome polish to get what is essentially a custom sharpening stone for the perfect finish to his edge. For me, it comes down to this: in order to sharpen scissors, knives, chisels, or any other hand-cutting tool you need a sharpening stone. During any stage of grinding, it is important to make use of the full width of the stone.