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Forum topic by Andybb posted 11-10-2019 06:26 AM 1666 views 0 times favorited 87 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Andybb

2228 posts in 1165 days


11-10-2019 06:26 AM

Topic tags/keywords: chisel carving tool blade sharpening question tip

Now that I’m using my chisels more often I’m looking for the easiest (cheapest) way to keep them sharp.

Lots of techniques out there. I just want a simple way to get the job done. Not looking to buy a Tormek or diamond wheels for my slow speed grinder that i never use. I’ve got a fine and corse stone that came with another set that I bought years ago. I have a 600 grit diamond hone that I use for my skew and carbide turning tools and sheets of sandpaper up to 1200 grit. (not that I can’t get more easily enough). I’ve seen people use 3 grits of wet sandpaper on a piece of glass.

Sharpening is worse than sanding to me but I see how my results have improved since receiving a set of scary sharp swiss chisels which aren’t as sharp now that I’ve been using them. (they’re still sharper than my original set though) I had access to a Tormek for a while but no longer but these swiss made ones were sharper than my original set even after using the Tormek. Preferably I’d like to only sharpen them a few times a year and just use a hone to keep them sharp like my turning tools that go back to hair shaving scary sharp after 30 seconds with the hone and maybe some MDF or leather.

Suggestions needed please.

-- Andy - Seattle USA


87 replies so far

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Andre

2885 posts in 2368 days


#1 posted 11-10-2019 06:58 AM

Black Arkansas Oil stone, Chunk of MDF or leather and some green compound? Will get a sharp edge and help keep it sharp, personally I like my Water stones (1000/8000) to get that polished sharp edge and some green compound to touch up? Lots of practice?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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Andybb

2228 posts in 1165 days


#2 posted 11-10-2019 07:09 AM

Thanks.

Seems like oil and water stones are 2 different animals. I seem to be able to get my plane blades sharp enough but these Pfeil swiss chisels seems to be on another level.

I’ve had this set for a few years that came with a sharpening system.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Eric

135 posts in 799 days


#3 posted 11-10-2019 08:59 AM

Tormek is for grinding a new bevel when the chisel is damaged or you want a different bevel angle. I wood use what you have and add a 6000-8000 grit water stone. And I have the Veritas mk II guide system either because I’m weak or precise depending on who you talk to ;)

Keep your low speed grinder, it’s very good for new bevels at 20% the cost of a tormek. Great for sharpening lathe chisels too.

-- Eric

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jbmaine

72 posts in 32 days


#4 posted 11-10-2019 09:46 AM

A variety of wet dry sandpaper, a granite surface plate, and the Veritas mk II is what I use. I don’t have anything set up for quick touchups between ” real” sharpening’s, but I probably should.

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Craftsman on the lake

3065 posts in 4000 days


#5 posted 11-10-2019 11:46 AM

Jim, I’ve got a worksharp 3000. Had it for a few years now. It does a good job and is very easy to use. cost is about $200 though so your inexpensive note might not fit this criteria.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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Jared_S

247 posts in 521 days


#6 posted 11-10-2019 01:15 PM

1000, 5000 and 12000 shapton water stones. (The grey market ones are very inexpensive)

And any cheap guide

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Lazyman

4180 posts in 1949 days


#7 posted 11-10-2019 01:48 PM

As they say, harder steel will hold an edge longer but is more difficult to get a good edge on. Likewise, softer steels are easier to get sharp (and sharper in my experience) but have to be sharpened more often. My cheapest chisels ,that I got from Harbor Freight to be beaters, tend to be my sharpest chisels and actually hold an edge pretty well even though I abuse them more. I don’t like to stop and sharpen so my solution to is to buy multiple of sets of them and then sharpen them all at once so you have one long sharpening session rather than having to do it weekly. I have also picked up some other no-name chisels at garage sales. I typically just use the wet/dry sandpaper method for my marathon sharpening sessions and I have actually gotten pretty good at just doing it by feel without a guide which makes it go a lot faster. When you are sharpening 10+ chisels at a time, it gives you lots of practice. Paul Sellers has a pretty good video about sharpening without a guide. I have an MK II but rarely use it because it pretty much doubles how long it takes for me.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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GaryCK

67 posts in 611 days


#8 posted 11-10-2019 02:03 PM

+1 on jbmaine’s suggestion for granite surfaces and sandpaper. I have two 12” square granite floor tiles for lower grits and two Woodcraft granite blocks for the higher ones. The sandpaper is stuck down with spray adhesive. I also use the Veritas Mk. II honing guide and a bit of camellia oil on the paper. Touchup between full-on sharpenings is just hitting the finer grits.

I’m finishing up building a set of custom storm doors out of white oak and have a much greater appreciation for how nicely a sharp chisel will shave that wood with just a push of my hand.

-- Gary, Wisconsin

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Lazyman

4180 posts in 1949 days


#9 posted 11-10-2019 02:19 PM

BTW, if you buy a granite tile, check it pretty carefully. Some of them naturally have small pits that you will definitely feel as you are sharpening. I personally don’t like using a spray adhesive to hold down the paper. I always seem to get clumps and bumps under the paper and then you have to clean off the plate when you change the paper. I typically just use a spray bottle and wet both side of the paper so that the water holds it to the granite and frequent squirts also helps float the swarf away. If you use a guide, the guild also helps keep it from moving.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View BubbaIBA's profile

BubbaIBA

520 posts in 2938 days


#10 posted 11-10-2019 02:42 PM



Now that I m using my chisels more often I m looking for the easiest (cheapest) way to keep them sharp.

Lots of techniques out there. I just want a simple way to get the job done. Not looking to buy a Tormek or diamond wheels for my slow speed grinder that i never use. I ve got a fine and corse stone that came with another set that I bought years ago. I have a 600 grit diamond hone that I use for my skew and carbide turning tools and sheets of sandpaper up to 1200 grit. (not that I can t get more easily enough). I ve seen people use 3 grits of wet sandpaper on a piece of glass.

Sharpening is worse than sanding to me but I see how my results have improved since receiving a set of scary sharp swiss chisels which aren t as sharp now that I ve been using them. (they re still sharper than my original set though) I had access to a Tormek for a while but no longer but these swiss made ones were sharper than my original set even after using the Tormek. Preferably I d like to only sharpen them a few times a year and just use a hone to keep them sharp like my turning tools that go back to hair shaving scary sharp after 30 seconds with the hone and maybe some MDF or leather.

Suggestions needed please.

- Andybb

Andybb,

While the Swiss Made (Pfeil) chisels come from the factory kinda sharp they are not “working” sharp from the box. Getting to sharp is simple with just three stones. One to grind, one to set up the edge for the polishing stone (take the grind scratches down and establish a wire edge), and a finishing stone to “chase the wire” and polish the remaining scratches. Some folks like to finish with a strop, some don’t, either way works. To do this you need to develop the ability to “see” sharp and to “feel” sharp.

Fingers are very sensitive and once trained can feel very minute differences along the edge. A sharp edge will not reflect light. If an edge feels sharp and looks sharp it is sharp and testing is unnecessary, in fact counter productive because it will begin degrading the edge before it ever touches wood in anger. Feel and look are all that is necessary.

Almost any set of grinding and polishing stones/medium will work but somewhat depending on the steel of the cutter being sharpened. A2 and D2 iron can be slow on Natural stones. Where the differences come in, everything is a trade off between speed, cost, mess, and hassle.

Arkansas stones can be a little slow on A2 and D2 but have little hassle or mess and are cheap. Man made water stones can be very quick but that quickness comes with the cost of mess and hassle. When all factors are taken into account the speed difference between Ark and Man Made water stones is negligible. Synthetic water stones’ cost is all over the place from very cheap to kinda expensive. The third option when using stones is JNats. JNats fit kinda in between Ark stones and synthetic stones in speed, mess, and hassle. The cost of JNats range from kinda expensive to hold onto your hat.

Diamond stones are ok for grinding but tend to leave scratches that are difficult to remove and are not very good as polishing stones. Sandpaper I can’t address because I’ve never used it.

The best advise I can give is find a system that fits into your needs, stick with it and set up a sharpening station that stays set up and is close to your work area. Then sharpen at the first sign of the cutter being “not sharp as it was”.

ken

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Andre

2885 posts in 2368 days


#11 posted 11-10-2019 03:38 PM

https://www.lumberjocks.com/Bertha/blog/111177
Remembered this blog from a while ago, some good info!

Sharpening is another one of dem rabbit holes that can be confusing and frustrating but after you see the light all will be understood !
Nothing beats watching someone with experience demonstrate a method that works, then with some practice finding out for yourself the method that will work for you.
Nothing funnier than handing someone a sharp chisel with the warning, careful it is sharp then watching the blood flow when they touch it with a finger to see for themselves:)

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2083 posts in 724 days


#12 posted 11-10-2019 03:52 PM

Andy – I’m with you on sharpening is worse than sanding.
if I could find a reliable tool sharpener in my area, I would PAY
to have them all brought back to Scary Sharp and “maintain” them
(this time) like they should be.

.

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2450 posts in 2551 days


#13 posted 11-10-2019 04:42 PM

Here is how I do it. I think its a cheap and simple way to get truly sharp and long lasting edges, you may not think so. Sharp edges are one thing, but smooth and sharp last much longer.

View BubbaIBA's profile

BubbaIBA

520 posts in 2938 days


#14 posted 11-10-2019 05:00 PM


Andy – I m with you on sharpening is worse than sanding.
if I could find a reliable tool sharpener in my area, I would PAY
to have them all brought back to Scary Sharp and “maintain” them
(this time) like they should be.

- John Smith

John,

I can kinda understand if you are one of the folks that put sharpening off until the tool is unusable dull and then puts it in a pile to be sharpened later. When the pile is big and there are many chisels and cutters to sharpen then go at it in a sharpening frenzy. If I worked that way I would hate it as well.

The secret is as posted above: Have a permanent sharpening station set up and ready to go (that means it isn’t a storage area) and sharpen at the first sign of dulling. If you do that, keeping all your chisels and cutters sharp only takes a minute or two at a time and it will not be a drudgery. Even better it gives you a short break and time to think about what you are doing…It has saved my bacon more than once.

A photo of my sharpening station:

Oil stones are on the left side, synthetic and JNat water stones on the right. The station is a couple of steps off the left end of the main workbench. Seldom used stones are kept in the overhead cabinet. No chisel or cutter is put away dull.

ken

P.S. Freehand helps because it is faster but is not necessary. Jigs work this way as well.
.

.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

4273 posts in 2550 days


#15 posted 11-10-2019 05:15 PM

When I sharpen my good p!anes, I use water stones and a MKII guide. It takes time to set up and get sharp.

However, for my chisels and everyday working, I use a Worksharp 3000. I use diamond disks and a hone with green stuff. It works and is quick.

Some people go to quite extensive lengths to sharpen their tools. It takes time and money. This is great for a lot of people.

Others want a quick, easy and relatively cheap method to sharpen. It may not sharpen to the scary sharp level but will work fine for a lot of people.

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