Reply by wmgworks

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Posted on Need Help Sharpening Chisels

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196 posts in 1836 days

#1 posted 09-02-2016 06:47 PM

Buy an eclipse jig to hold the chisel while sharpening. Freehand is hard; you re likely (without trying, obviously) creating a rounded tip vs. a truly sharp one. They re something like $8… Simple gray aluminum block with a wheel on the back.

- Smitty_Cabinetshop

I wanted to start out doing it freehand, but I’m thinking I may need to get the jig just so i can learn what a sharp chisel feels like

Make sure you can feel a burr on the edge before moving up to the next grip. Every time. If you don t feel a burr, then that means that you aren t sharpening the edge.

- jmartel

Thanks! That’s great advice

Just dragging backward is not very efficient. Paul Sellers method works best for me. A little bit of practice and you will GET the method. Sandpaper in the long run is expensive. Diamond plates IMHO are the way to go. Further a strop with green or white compound will finish off your work.

Paul’s is, of course, one of the better videos on the technique. I was following what he was doing for the most part. I didn’t have any leather to use as a strop though.

BTW – that belt idea is brilliant! I was wondering how I could get my hands on some leather and was contemplating cutting up some of the wife’s purses she doesn’t want anymore.

Hey man, I have a TON of brand new 3M automotive sandpaper from 320 up to 4000 grit. When I say I have a lot I mean 2 whole big rubber-maid totes full. Give me your address and I will gladly send some to you, works great for sharpening. All of the sand paper is wet or dry too. Also, if you go to your local Marble counter top place they will give you a piece from their cutoffs, if not just check their dumpster. If any of you other commentators want some send your addy along to me as well.

- Will Merrit

Thanks, Will! I’ll send you a PM

jmartel +++++

If you don t have the back flat all the way to the edge, you will never get it sharp jig or no jig. You are working on a cheap chisel that may be way out of flat there can be a little hollow behind the edge but the sides and edge have to be flat at a minimum.

Make sure you get that done first.

Never advance to the next grit till you get a burr.

I recommend learning to sharpen freehand right from the start.

- rwe2156

I want to do it freehand. The problem is I’ve never sharpened a chisel before. Nor have I ever USED a chisel really. I don’t know what “sharp” is. And I don’t have anyone around me to show me how to do it or what the results should look like, so Youtube and Lumberjocks are my learning tool.

Related to that, I don’t know what a burr looks or feels like. I know I’m supposed to have one when I sharpen, though. My eyesight is really bad, so I’ll probably have to rely on feel more than anything. Or get a really good magnifying glass :)

Thanks again, everyone. Great advice!

-- Butchering wood since 2015

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