How to sharpen wood chisels is something that anyone working with wood will need to know at some point. Chisels, as well as new planes and the irons and chipbreakers with them, arrive coated with oil or lacquer which prevents corrosion quite effectively, but it also keeps the tools from sliding easily on wood surfaces. My advice, watch a bunch of youtube videos that use different styles and decide which one makes the most sense for your situation. A very sharp plane can leave a surface that’s smoother and shinier than is possible with sandpaper. In the long run you may end up spending more on sandpaper but I’m more of a get the job done right on a shoe-string budget” type of guy. Now that you have a sharp blade you should seldom need to use a sharpening stone.
Your right hand moves the tool back and forth along the full length of the stone, gradually moving from one side to the other and back again in order to wear the surface evenly. On wood chisels, one side of the blade is flat and the other is beveled to form the sharp edge. When sharpening a chisel or plane blade, it’s important to hold it at a consistent angle so that the very edge of the blade doesn’t get ground down at a more obtuse angle, and so that you can assess sharpness by looking at how it reflects the light.
The proper technique is to keep the chisel flat on the stone with finger pressure applied directly on the bevel. No matter how steady you think your hand is, it’s impossible to equal the precision of a secure jig. This would be counter productive in a carving tool, so whenever I use power sanding tools for this purpose I keep a can of water handy. Natural fuki-urushi lacquer brings out the rich colour and grain of the Sapele wood handle and contrasts with the dark forged steel surfaces. In the meantime he suggested using it for flattening chisel backs to reach that stage. Often the backs of used, flea-market chisels were never flattened properly in the first place.
Japanese chisels are hollow-ground, making honing easier because you’re only removing metal from the edges. I probably do this more than I need to, but I’m in the habit of flattening every stone before I sharpen with it. If the edge is chipped, then regrinding will be required, but if the chisel is cutting well then perhaps just strop it to maintain its edge.
Angus mclean what i do is grind all my chiesl an hand planer blades an i do what is alled hollow grind them then i hone the on a combonation oil or water stone One side is 600 an the other 1200 or 1400 grit an then i strop on a piece of leather 3 or 4 times an all my blades and chiesl are razor sharp. Lubricate it by first touching the honing face onto the lubricated bench stone to pick up some oil or water. Lining up the angle is done before you ever turn the grinder on. The above picture is an example of the WRONG way to sharpen your tools. I have watched your’s and Craig Vandall Steven’s videos on how to sharpen chisels and irons.
Lubricate the stone according to the instructions that come with it. In the case of water-stones, that generally means immersing the stone in a bath of clean water for several minutes before use; with oilstones, it means wiping a sheen of fine cutting oil onto the stone. I’ve always used oilstones, but have experimented with sandpaper on glass as well.
Of course, the real joy comes when they use a wonderfully sharp tool, which doesn’t just cut wood but leaves the surface beautifully burnished – shiny, smooth, without any nicks or scratches. When I looked at all of my chisels and plane blades that were sharpened as in this Instructable, I was dismayed to see how little of the backs were mirror-shiny. The hard translucent doesn’t have a grit designation, because it’s a quarried natural stone.
And even though I own a set of great water stones, I still use sandpaper when I’m out on an installation and don’t want the mess, or the risk of theft or breakage, that go along with using water stones outside my own shop. Because you can now sharpen the chisel with the removal of a small amount of material, it goes very quickly, and using 6000 grit sandpaper is quite feasible. So when you get additional sharpening gear later on, you don’t have to fret about wasting money on sandpaper sharpening.
I’d borrow or purchase a high-quality chisel and see if you have a similar problem working the same wood. This type work well for medium duty camp tasks, carving hatchet work, roughing and shaping, green wood work, and bamboo splitting. With a practised hand, he sharpens a secondhand gouge, demonstrating first how to use a flat water stone on the outside curve and then how to use a water stone that has been grooved for the curves of various gouges. But the plates of archtop guitars and mandolins are carved and the scrolls of the violin family instruments represent some pretty serious wood carving.
If the bevel is curved in a hollow shape (concave), then the chisel is always trying to follow this curve, and it is a struggle to keep it going straight. In fact, as the blade moves forward through a wood fibre, it also moves sideways. Below are some links to web pages and YouTube video clips showing how to sharpen chisels and drill bits. If the stone is hollow you need to make sure that the whole edge is honed by trying different directions e.g, short stabs across the stone, or from end to end but skewed.
If the chisels are old or have uneven or damaged bevels, it may be necessary to reshape them using a grinding wheel before sharpening. The more obtuse microbevel will dramatically increase the edge-holding durability of the chisel in these situations. It holds the blade at a steady angle and has a little wheel that lets you roll it along a sharpening stone. He is using the Narex 8112 Mortice chisel and the Narex 8116 Mortice chisel in this demonstration. Fit the chisel into the honing guide and tighten the screws on either side to hold it in place. The position and slope of the ramp is determined by the largest piece of wood you expect to shoot.
Many woodworkers are initially concerned that the flat area directly behind the cutting edge will be eliminated with repeated sharpening thus rendering the chisel useless. You do this by holding it flat to your sharpening stone and working it backwards and forwards, lengthwise, across the three grits (coarse, medium and fine). Keep the blade of any wood chisel facing away from you while you work – unless you absolutely no have choice. Next, use the coarse grit stone and step down through the grits, ending with extra fine.