Scary Sharp - my first attempt ever at sharpening

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Blog entry by Chris McDowell posted 08-20-2012 12:28 AM 2637 reads 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It took about an hour, but I got my 1” chisel sharpened today, at least the main 25 degree bevel. I jacked the sandpaper up too much to do the 30 degree secondary bevel and didn’t feel like setting new paper up. I’ll do it later. I didn’t have the exact grits I needed in order to do it according to the one article I was going off of, so I just used what I had that was close. I started with 100 grit and ended up with 2000 grit.

I used masking tape with the grit written on it so I didn’t get them mixed up. The high grit black wet/dry sandpaper is a little hard to tell apart to me, even by feel.

First, the back of the blade.

I’ve seen Paul Sellers use a sharpie on the bottom of his plane blades to determine when they are flat. I did the same thing to the back of my chisel and used the 100 grit until I could see sharpie no more. Then I just went at it up the grits for a little while on each.

It takes a little more effort than I thought. My fingers were hurting from pushing down onto the paper and my arms were getting pretty tired. I was sweating pretty good when I got to 2000 grit, but I finally got a pretty good mirror finish.

I wasn’t completely happy with the back, but I really didn’t know what else to do to make it better.

Then I grabbed the honing jig and moved to the bevel.

Went through the same routine as the back basically, but it didn’t take as long. I went until it was a mirror finish then lapped the back to get the burr off.

You can see the trees in the reflection above, so I guess it’s pretty good.

The wet/dry paper started ripping pretty bad and coming unstuck from the granite stone. I think I may have used too much water. I’ll try a little less next time. You can see what happened:

So, you can see why I didn’t do the secondary bevel. It was also supper time, so I was hungry. I hope that when I get better I won’t go through this much sandpaper just for 1 chisel. I would hope I could sharpen all my chisels on 1 set of paper.

It was a good experience. I actually enjoyed doing it. I’ve got 3 more chisels to go.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

6 comments so far

View bigike's profile


4056 posts in 3677 days

#1 posted 08-20-2012 01:41 AM

Nice I love how sharp they come out if u can cut down endgrain your good to go

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View bigike's profile


4056 posts in 3677 days

#2 posted 08-20-2012 01:43 AM

Nice I love how sharp they come out if u can cut down endgrain your good to go U can also use wd-40 as a lube when sharpening on sandpaper.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View DIYaholic's profile


19796 posts in 3064 days

#3 posted 08-20-2012 01:58 AM

Nice trees!!! Great job.

I’ve yet to sharpen my cheap @ss Crapsman chisels. I have everything except the jig for the bevel (That and the motivation). Think I may DIY a jig, until I can spare the change needed to buy one.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View jumbojack's profile


1688 posts in 3013 days

#4 posted 08-20-2012 06:38 AM

Nice job on the chisel. I don’t know if I would have lapped the back that deep. I usually only get about an inch or so from the bevel. It certainly does not hurt anything…..except your fingers wrists and shoulders.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View chrisstef's profile


17914 posts in 3395 days

#5 posted 08-20-2012 08:33 PM

Looks like itll shave arm hair to me! Nice work for youre first trip down the scary sharp avenue.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

644 posts in 2541 days

#6 posted 08-21-2012 12:10 AM

Thank you everyone for the comments.

bigike: I tried cutting end-grain today and it cut right through it. Sweet.

DIYaholic: I made a jig out of some scrap. I got the idea from another LJ. It was super easy. If I could make it, anyone can, believe me. I blogged about it here.

jumbojack: yeah, I probably will not go so deep on the other 3. Might save some time. Thanks for the tip!

chrisstef: thanks. It was a fun trip and one that will be made many times in the future, you can be sure.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

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