Chisel sharpening - edges are chipping

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Forum topic by Ben posted 11-19-2016 10:51 PM 907 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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490 posts in 3907 days

11-19-2016 10:51 PM

So I’ve just started using the Veritas MKII honing guide.
I have some old Witherby chisels.

Put a 25 degree “standard” angle bevel on the first one (pictured right) with a micro bevel,
and then a 30 degree angle on the other chisel (left), with a micro bevel.
Both came off my final stone sharper than I’ve ever hard them.

However, within 3 minutes of using them on hard maple, both have chipped edges. I was using them to lightly clean/square up mortises with a little bit of chopping.

What am I doing wrong? I know these chisels are not designed for mortising per se, but I would expect them to hold up to this…


3 replies so far

View mike02130's profile


170 posts in 1722 days

#1 posted 11-20-2016 12:07 AM

Is there a burr that looks like it’s chipping? When sharpened correctly, which I assume they are, it’ll produce a wire edge that needs to be removed. I have a few witherbys and they are excellent.

-- Google first, search forums second, ask questions later.

View bbasiaga's profile


1259 posts in 3045 days

#2 posted 11-20-2016 12:14 AM

Some say you need a minimum of a 35 degree angle on a secondary bevel for hard chopping like that. Can also depend on the steel.

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Loren's profile


11133 posts in 4698 days

#3 posted 11-20-2016 12:34 AM

Chopping makes chisels dull. That’s why
an argument can be made for having another
set for fine paring.

I have some pretty nice chisels and some
inexpensive ones and the edges all chip with
chopping hardwoods. I do think the finer
chisel edges (carbon steel) hold up better
than the chrome vanadium ones though.

Maybe they are too hard… you can temper them
by chopping into hard wood to heat them
up or put them on a roof… and old Japanese
chisel trick.

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