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Need some help with chisels/sharpening

by slooper
posted 12-21-2008 07:25 AM


36 replies so far

View shopdog's profile

shopdog

562 posts in 2172 days


#1 posted 12-21-2008 02:18 PM

It is possible to make cheap chisel scary sharp, but it won’t stay that way for long. There is no need to spend a lot of $ to get good quality chisels. Almost all of mine have been purchased from ebay, or yard sales/flea markets. I like old style socket chisels like Witherby, P,S&W, Stanley. You can still find these for $10 each…or less. The only things is, you have to be able to tune them up. It’s a great satifaction for me to turn an old beater back to a thing of beauty. Start with a good honing jig. I like/use the one from Lee Valley/Veritas (the older style…still available). It has an adjustment wheel on it that enables you to micro bevel your blades…so that once you achieve scary sharp, you can then make it scarier (sp?).
Lee Valley (not affiliated, but love their stuff) also sells sandpaper, and you can get rolls of PSA backed sandpaper in regular grits, and sheets of super fine wet/dry up to 2000, I think. I have no need for a stone. You need a very flat surface…I use 1/4” glass. When I get a beat up, but beautiful old Witherby, I start by flattening the back using 80 grit, and work my way up. You need to get it flat for 1” or so. If your chisel is pitted from rust, it’s never gonna get too scary. After I get the back flat, I move on to the bevel. I usually go for about 25˚. If it’s in bad shape, I go to the 80 grit again. If it’s just a tune up, I start with 220 grit, or finer. As I sharpen, I flip it over occasionally to remove the burr. With some patience, I end up with a blade that shines, and will easily remove the hairs on my arm (my test site). I don’t stop until the hairs jump off my arm. Sometimes they jump because they are scared of that blade.
I have a mini lathe, so I also turn my own handles…usually out of Ipe scraps that I have accumulated from my deck business.
I just finished restoring an old Witherby 3/8” mortising chisel for a woodworking buddy of mine, and gave it to him last night for Xmas…you should have seen his eyes light up.
Chisel…about $5
Handle…free
Reaction…priceless.

-- Steve-- http://www.urbanexteriors.biz

View Mike's profile

Mike

391 posts in 2303 days


#2 posted 12-21-2008 03:33 PM

A cheap chisel can be made better. Get a torch heat it red hot then dip it in olive oil. Once it cools do it again.

The first will temper it but make it more brittle. The second will take away the brittleness.

It is not perfect with cheaper steel, but it shouldl hold the edge a little longer.

-- Measure once cut twice....oh wait....ooops.

View douginaz's profile

douginaz

220 posts in 2689 days


#3 posted 12-21-2008 03:53 PM

Cheap chisels , in my opinion, have their place in the shop, I have used my beaters for everything from pry bars to tile removers. A big part of my learning curve with sharpening was figuring out when enough was enough. I would worry every grit till it was perfectly square and polished top and bottom then move on to the next grit. From everything I had read, that was the way to do it. Maybe so, but I have found you only have to go that route if you let the edge get away from you, in other words, if you sharpen more often, you have to sharpen less. Touch ups go a long way to keeping a decent edge and you normally only use the last one or two grits to get back to a usable state. I find by staying on top of them I only need to follow the full protocol a couple of times a year VS sometimes monthly. Stay with it, you will find your pace.

I think Steve has covered about every thing else.

Merry Christmas – maybe Santa will bring you a Work Sharp.
Later,
Doug in AZ.

-- If you need craft books - please visit our small business at http://www.wittywife.com

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5113 posts in 2399 days


#4 posted 12-21-2008 04:00 PM

Your process sounds good. Take a look at the cutting edge using a magnifying lens, does the edge look uniform or can you see sections that are wider than others. If that is the case it is probably the pitting mentioned above, you can go back to a coarser grit and try to sand through it or you may need to find a slow speed grinder and re grind the edge beyond the pitting.

The other thing to be mindful of is holding a constant angle (the jig should help here) it is difficult to hold the tool at a consistant angle and even a small change will ‘round’ your cutting edge.

One more thing to be mindful of is that some really poorly made chisels are too soft to take an edge that is useful, and maybe the tempering that Mike mentioned will allow you to keep an edge on it. It would be interesting to try tempering the tool and seeing how the sharpening is affected. Just make sure you have good clean (unpitted) steel (close to the cutting edge) to temper so that you can sharpen steel and not rusted pits.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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8iowa

1489 posts in 2448 days


#5 posted 12-21-2008 04:11 PM

Metalurgically speaking, the finer the grain of steel, the sharper the edge. High carbon steels produce the finest edges. Your hardware store chisels ( I have them too ) probably will never develop the kind of “shave the hair on the back of your hand” edge.

That being said, after I attended a sharpening class at Highland Woodworking in Atlanta, I invested in a set of water stones that go up to 8000 grit. Using a Veritas MKII honing guide, I can sharpen my hand plane irons so that they easily slice loosely held sheets of paper.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Kindlingmaker's profile

Kindlingmaker

2654 posts in 2213 days


#6 posted 12-21-2008 04:50 PM

Yup, all of the above. Shop-construction chisels are good for many things but cabinet grade chisels you will find to do what you need and expect them to do. The leaning process that you discribed is what I also did and found that the learning curve on the cheaper ones was well called for and then when the good ones were bought I was ready to do a scary sharp of them the first time.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

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Hersh

106 posts in 2402 days


#7 posted 12-21-2008 05:55 PM

All of the above is great advise for everyone. Thanks to for the good information.

-- Hersh from Port Angeles, WA - Gotta Complete That Project!

View dustygirl's profile

dustygirl

862 posts in 2415 days


#8 posted 12-21-2008 06:53 PM

I too was wondering about my chisels and how sharp they should be.Thanks for the post.

-- Dustygirl..Hastings,Ontario.. How much wood can 1 gal chuck if 1 gal can't cut wood?

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8791 posts in 2786 days


#9 posted 12-21-2008 08:20 PM

My background and my living is mainly as a remodeling contractor so I have only invested in Stanley or Buck Bros. chisels from the big box stores.

I sharpen them on my belt sander, using a worn 100 or 120 grit belt, and then finish them on my strop board. They get pretty stinkin’ sharp.

The back of my left hand and wrist is bare naked as a testament to the sharpness achieved.

Just like my card scraper sharpening method, this is likely to create some negative feedback. The proof is in the pudding.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View slooper's profile

slooper

37 posts in 2165 days


#10 posted 12-21-2008 08:50 PM

Wow. Thanks everyone! Every bit of what you’ve all said is very enlightening.

As a result, think I have identified my biggest problem. I checked the squareness of the blade and found it to be a couple degrees off, with the right side being a hair shorter than the left. I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me at the time, but that would mean that one side, the right side in this case, would be sharper than the other. I don’t have a magnifying glass, so I tested the chisel on some end grain again. But this time, instead of testing the whole width of the blade, I tested the right side only then the left. The right side gave me a fairly smooth cut and the left was as if I were chiseling with my screwdriver! Sigh.

What I failed to mention in my initial post is that my chisels don’t sit well in my honing guide. So it must have been twisted ever so slightly resulting in an uneven edge.

Since I know these chisels don’t hold an edge long enough for a couple mortises, I’ve determined to get some new chisels first. Hopefully, I can find some decent ones that fit my current honing jig. If not, I like the idea of a micro-adjustable wheel.

That all said, I have a couple more questions.

1) What are the optimal grit increments. If I start with 80 or 220, what would be the 2nd, 3rd, etc. grits? With would I typically jump in 40 or 80 grit increments. Is it the same for metal?

2) How long does one typically spend on the first, and then successive grits? I found myself counting a 100 strokes on the higher grits, maybe that was an exercise in futility, I don’t know.

Thanks again,
Slooper

View Kindlingmaker's profile

Kindlingmaker

2654 posts in 2213 days


#11 posted 12-21-2008 09:29 PM

I use 220 then 320 then 400, (mostly because that is what I have). I use a buffing wheel to then buff the bevel side ONLY until the burr is gone. The 400 grit will give a really sharp edge without the buff. Each grit does not normaly need 100 strokes, try 30 or 40… then buff or strop, (Use the back of your belt).

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View shopdog's profile

shopdog

562 posts in 2172 days


#12 posted 12-21-2008 10:11 PM

Slooper,

I just thought it was a given that you set the chisel square to your jig. One thing I didn’t mention is that once I have a chisel tuned, the next time I sharpen, I always do this first…I take a black sharpie, and blacken the entire bevel. Then I lock it in the jig, where I like it. I can approximate the position by using a square, and placing it on a flat surface to see if the bevel sits right…flat. You never get it right the first time. That’s where the blackened edge helps. I run the setup over my finest sandpaper, and look at the bevel to see where the black ink was removed…then adjust, and do it again, until the ink comes off uniformly over the entire bevel…then I well tighten the chisel onto the jig.
If your chisel isn’t square to the jig, you can still get a scary sharp chisel…only it’ll now be a skew chisel.

grits…if I need to start with 80…I then move to 120, 220, 400 up to whatever.

How long I spend on any grit would depend on how much stroking the chisel needs. There is no formula, but if you want a great tool, you need to stroke it right :-) You can’t rush. I have a bit of OCD, and I find myself counting things sometimes. It’s not necessary. With a bit of experience, you’ll know. I like sharpening, because the results justify the means. Most people don’t, so they have dull chisels that they only use as beaters.

Todd,
Those Buck chisels that they sell at the Borg are garbage (not to be mistaken for Buck Bros of years past). As a contractor, you can probably get along with stinking sharp Buck chisels. From what I see of the projects that are built by the members here, they probably want, need, and deserve more.

-- Steve-- http://www.urbanexteriors.biz

View slooper's profile

slooper

37 posts in 2165 days


#13 posted 12-22-2008 11:27 PM

Steve,

Most of the chisels I have been sharpening still appear square. It was just this last one which I spent a lot of time on that is now skewed. I went through all of them and loaded them in the jig a few times and noticed a couple shifted on me after I put it to the stone. The thing is, although I can manage to get it squarely in the jig, it does not fit in the groves where the jig is expecting them. So I’ve concluded that I need to get chisels that fit the jig and perhaps a better jig if that doesn’t work.

That said, I did apply several of the tips you and others advised me on and being more careful to keep the blade square, I did get the sharpest blade I had yet! :)

View hokieman's profile

hokieman

163 posts in 2440 days


#14 posted 12-22-2008 11:52 PM

If you want to stay with scary sharp method (sandpaper) and all you can find is the coarser grits, try an auto parts store and you will be able to find a lot of different grits in wet and dry sandpaper all the way up to 2000 grit. I would stay away from the plexiglas and go with glass as it is harder and will not yield. For sure, get a honing guide and you can get that from Lie Nielsen at www.lie-nielsen.com If you are just starting out, no need to invest in expensive chisels like what you will find on their website but when you do get serious, Lie Nielsen is the best by far for any hand tools.

View shopdog's profile

shopdog

562 posts in 2172 days


#15 posted 12-23-2008 01:53 PM

Slooper,

I think I know the jig that you have. Bought one a long time ago, and retired it when I got my current one from Lee Valley. I suggest that you do the same, if you’re serious about using chisels and planes. When I started out in business years ago, I bought cheap tools…specifically a black & decker jigsaw. It was such a bad tool, and the results were so terrible, that I just never did any jigsawing. Years later, I was at a tool show, and tried out a Bosch. That was when they required a screwdriver to change blades. It was an instant love affair, and I bought one on the spot. Now, I’m a jigsawing fool. You need the right tool for the right job…
My motto now is “buy the best, only cry once” (within reason) I still don’t own a Festool :-)

-- Steve-- http://www.urbanexteriors.biz

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4437 posts in 2649 days


#16 posted 12-23-2008 04:34 PM

I have the Work Sharp but sometimes still use Porter-Cable stick down sand paper in 120 and 310 grit(I think those are the ones) stuck on an old granite stamping block about 18 inches long. I use a cheap roller guide. I also use green knife maker’s polish on a felt wheel on a 5 inch grinder. I then strop on a strop board with jewler’s rouge. I use the same process on my knives in the saddle shop.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View slooper's profile

slooper

37 posts in 2165 days


#17 posted 12-24-2008 02:24 AM

I checked out the Veritas Mark II honing guide and it does look like a way, way better jig. And there is one set that comes with a 1000/4000 grit waterstone for not that much more, so why not kill two birds with one stone? :) I think it’d be a good, and less frustrating investment. The Christmas $ is gone, so I’ll have to wait a month or so.

Thanks guys!

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slooper

37 posts in 2165 days


#18 posted 12-24-2008 02:28 AM

Hokieman,

I don’t know why I never thought of the auto parts store for sandpaper. My older brother had me sanding down his ‘67 Camero and my dad’s ‘41 Chevy during consecutive summers when I was in high school! Guess who he sent to pick up supplies.

Thanks.

View slooper's profile

slooper

37 posts in 2165 days


#19 posted 12-24-2008 03:18 AM

Tom (or anyone who has used the Work Sharp)

How does the Work Sharp compare with by-hand methods? It looks very intriguing.

Here’s the link if anyone wants to see a demo…
http://www.worksharptools.com/pilot.asp?pg=ws3000vid

Thanks,

View Karson's profile

Karson

34891 posts in 3087 days


#20 posted 12-24-2008 07:27 AM

I also use polishing compound rubbed on a smooth piece of hard wood. I then polish the back and edge using the polishing compound.

I also have some set up in my veneering room to polish the knife edge of my scalpels. And they are super sharp. Using just the finest polishing compound. The green Chromium Oxide compound on a piece of cherry that was run through a planer. You can put different compounds in different spots and on the back and get lots of versatility to that.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

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Topapilot

164 posts in 2527 days


#21 posted 12-24-2008 08:32 AM

Slooper,
I’ve used waterstones, sandpaper, two flavers of veritas jigs, angle guides, etc., etc. After about fourteen years of off and on woodworking I think it comes down to ‘what works for you’. What works for me is the Worksharp 3000. My chisels and planes are sharp, sharp, sharp.

So simple a caveman can use it!

View shopdog's profile

shopdog

562 posts in 2172 days


#22 posted 12-24-2008 01:24 PM

Slooper,

I still use the older version, the Veritas sharpening system…although I came close to clicking on the “add to cart” icon when it was first introduced. I just can’t justify getting the new one, when mine still functions so well. If I ever wear it out, I’ll definitely upgrade.
I’ve never checked out any of the power sharpeners, but I’ve been hearing great reviews of Tormek over the years, and Veritas recently came out with their own system (very pricey). For me, hand sharpening is one of those mindless tasks that I find very therapeutic, and enjoy doing.

-- Steve-- http://www.urbanexteriors.biz

View laflaone's profile

laflaone

59 posts in 2367 days


#23 posted 12-24-2008 02:26 PM

I concur about the Veritas Mk II jig. Does a great job. About your chisels. I suggest you read the chisel review by Chris Gochnour in the Sept/Oct issue of FineWoodworking Magazine. It can be read online at their website. You will find that the most expensive is not always the best. I bought a Narex to try it out. It holds the edge well, and does a good job.

-- "non illegitimis carborundum"

View kefob1's profile

kefob1

9 posts in 2134 days


#24 posted 12-24-2008 02:57 PM

I use a “Tormek” waterstone to sharpen my chisels. I only buy “Record marples” chisels which are in my opinion the best you can buy. I dont know if these are readily available in the US. The tormek system is amazing, although can be time consuming but worth the effort. I always do the paper test after stropping them on the leather wheel and you can slice paper with no resistance.http://www.tormek.com/en/

View Keith Cruickshank's profile

Keith Cruickshank

41 posts in 2331 days


#25 posted 12-29-2008 12:41 AM

One issue that seems to plague most novice and intermediate woodworkers is understanding the idea of what “flat” really means. If you don’t use absolutely flat stones (or backer plate for say the scary sharp system) then you introduce a whole host of issues that are impossible to correct. It all starts with getting the back of the blade flattened first—before even beginning the sharpening process—This can make a huge difference. If the back is flat and finely polished, then you’re on your way. If not, you’ll never get a sharp blade. See: http://woodtreks.com/flatten-blade-backs-for-the-sharpest-planes-and-chisels/189/

-- Keith Cruickshank, www.woodtreks.com - on-demand woodworking videos

View TheCaver's profile

TheCaver

288 posts in 2526 days


#26 posted 12-29-2008 01:42 AM

Slooper, I would not cut mortises with a bench chisel, especially in oak. Cutting mortises in oak with even Lie Nielsons will tear them up.

I would get a dedicated mortise chisel as they have a steeper angle and beefier blades for that task. In reality though, if you have to cut a bunch of mortises, you’d be better off cutting them with a dedicated mortiser, a router or drill press method, then cleaning them up. The labor you spend sharpening or the money you waste destroying good chisels would not be worth it IMHO…..

Cutting end grain in oak, man, that’s brutal on any chisel….

JC

-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View sIKE's profile

sIKE

1271 posts in 2440 days


#27 posted 12-29-2008 05:07 AM

Here is a link to some great information about the Scary Sharp method. I use this methodology and the micro-abrasives (fancy sandpaper) recommended with great success. Everything above is true, you need to make sure you edge is not skewed, that you flatten the back well and their is no pitting on the blade. Patience and practice will improve your technique. My local woodcraft is out of the MK II at the moment, but I have a gift card with the next one in stock.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View rtb's profile

rtb

1099 posts in 2400 days


#28 posted 12-29-2008 07:02 AM

Slooper, I recently bought a set of the narex chisels from Highland (better price) and also bought the Mark II
guide. Having nearly no sharpening experience I went by every thing I had read and amazed myself with what I accomplished. I used a perfectly flat square 16” cermac tile and taped down a sheet of 100 grit paper. Each additional sheet is then just laid on top of the 100 grit , used, and the replaced with the next smaller grit etc. By the time I had finished flatening the back od the first chisel I knew what everyone had been writing about and felt like an expert. with quality steel at this price its a great place to start over and be sure what youare dealing with. I will post a review a little latter after I have used them some more.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View Loren's profile

Loren

7725 posts in 2334 days


#29 posted 12-29-2008 08:41 AM

I’d steer you away from the micro-beveling approach. Until you
learn to lock your wrists, arms and hands as one unit you will
struggle to get a good sharp bevel.

I hollow-grind on a wheel. Then you have two edges there to
run on the stone… Learn to keep those two edges on the
stone and they turn into planes with the hollow-ground part
between them. The you also flatten the back or at least the
cutting-1/3rd or the back.

Once you know how to hone a flat bevel then you may or may
not choose to go on to micro-beveling.

I learned to do it this way because I have several Japanese chisels
and micro-bevels are not a good idea with them.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Waldschrat's profile

Waldschrat

505 posts in 2122 days


#30 posted 12-29-2008 01:12 PM

I Agree with Kefob1, the most efficient way of sharpening chisels cheap or not is a tormek wet scharpening system followed by leather stropping and perhaps a bit of stropping paste (to take off the burr, working both sides of the chisel back and fourth) ... I am not certian how they teach it in US schools but here in germany it is probably the standard way. that is what I am mostly using as well after trying different types of machines.
The metal stays cool, does not loose its temper due to excess heat.

If the chisels need to be super sharp and polished… use a wet sand system (tormek or whatever brand) and then use wet stones going ever finer until desired sharpness. But usually it is not necessary to do this all the time because it is first not economical for a business (large time investement) and normally when one from time to time with a fine grit stone or leather with the stropping paste sharpens, the chisels will stay plenty sharp…

23 to 25 degree angle is needed and also necessary is to make sure the flatness as well as the polish on the back side of the chisel. On this “mirror side” takes place the most friction when chiseling out dovetails or other joints that are similiar. Looked at in this way I guess one could say that it is probably more in the interest of the woodworker to make sure that his hand planes are razor sharp because that is the tool one makes the finish with.

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

View gerrym526's profile

gerrym526

265 posts in 2495 days


#31 posted 01-01-2009 12:02 AM

Since I don’t know what brand of “cheap” chisel you bought, can’t really speak to how long an edge will last. I will share with you my experience with inexpensive Marpels “blue handle” chisel I still use for my handtool work-they’re 12yrs old. You can get a set of 6 for $60-so that’s cheap in my book.
1) Flatten the back of each chisel by sticking a self adhesive sanding disc 100 to 150 grit to a steel table saw table or jointer table. Rub the back of the chisel on the grit until you eliminate any low spots (chisel will have dull areas that haven’t been flattened-shiny ones are flat)
2) Take a belt sander with a worn 120 or 150 grit belt in it, and clamp it upside down in your woodworking vise. Clean the belt with one of those rubber cleaning tools or you run the risk of a fire if the belt has lots of sawdust still in it. (Sparks can fly when you sharpen on the belt).
3) Position the chisel face on the belt at the same angle as the bevel and turn on the sander-grind for about 20 seconds and check your work. Regrind if your bevel is not even across the face.
4) Use a felt wheel charged with emory compound in your bench grinder to polish the face you just sharpened. Turn the grinder around so the wheel rotates toward the back, not toward you.
5) Run the face of the bevel on the felt wheel and dip it in water occasionally so you don’t take the temper out of the steel.

Once you’ve flattened the backs the sharpening/resharpening process takes less than 5min per chisel.
The technique sounds crude, but I can guarantee that even with the Marples steel quality, I got the chisels sharp enough to shave the hair off my arms. That, in my definition is the same as “scary sharp”

I’ve used, and will continue to use, wetstones and sandpaper for sharpening plane irons, but the technique above is fast and will keep your chisels sharp for a significant amount of work.

-- Gerry

View slooper's profile

slooper

37 posts in 2165 days


#32 posted 03-16-2009 03:46 AM

Well, after a lengthy deliberation after receiving all the great input here, I made the decision to spring for the Work Sharp 3000. So far, I really like it. I was able to get all my cheap chisels far sharper than I was able to with my manual approach. I was even able carved out a mortise, just for fun, without a mallet.

Initially, I was going with jigs, stones and sandpaper. But once I priced everything out (and considered the learning curve with the manual approach) well, the Work Sharp didn’t seem too expensive anymore. Ultimately, however, my decision came down to ease of use. I think I’d still go down the manual sharpening road eventually. But for now, this system is perfect for me.

Thanks again for all the great input, everyone!
-Slooper

View Moron's profile

Moron

4666 posts in 2580 days


#33 posted 03-16-2009 04:25 AM

Loren nailed it and nobody else even mentioned a grinder. Before reading lorens post I started to wonder why no one mentioned a “Grinder”?

Like others posted, my chisels are sharp enough to shave with maybe some day I will get high speed and shave my face with them, and post a video but I get use shaving cream.

Ive met many skilled carpenters and for that matter, many skilled cabinet makers who struggle with the same question. I do not know, personally, how you can get a chisel sharp without a grinder because at some point you have to “machine/grind” the arc and you cant do that on something thats flat, it has to be a wheel. After the arc is ground into the bevel at the end of the chisel…...........honing begins again. The Japanese might not agree but sadly I have yet to be trained in Japanese joinery.

I would rather have a sharp cheap chisel then a dull expensive chisel.

Cheers

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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Craftsman on the lake

2395 posts in 2124 days


#34 posted 03-16-2009 04:57 AM

Slooper, I have the worksharp 3000, It takes all the effort and fun out of sharpening. I can do without the fun though. Anyone can get a very sharp edge with just a little practice. The grit goes down to 1000 and you can get down to 3000. Once sharp, it takes a second to just touch it up and bring it back to where it was. I love mine. At first I thought the paper would be too expensive but that was because I had a bunch of chisels that really needed some work. now that they are done, touching them up uses very little of the grit.

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

View slooper's profile

slooper

37 posts in 2165 days


#35 posted 03-16-2009 08:00 AM

Roman,

I had in my mind all these years to get a grinder for sharpening. That is, until I started doing my research. I didn’t see a grinder advocated anywhere due to the high heat generated which can damage the steel’s temper. I suppose that’s not an issue if you know what you’re doing, but obviously I was one of those who didn’t know what I was doing. LOL.

Also, the hollow grind appears, to me at least, to weaken the chisel since there is less steel backing up the cut. I honestly don’t know to what degree, if any, that actually makes in terms of cutting wood. I would be interested to see any scientific studies on the subject if anyone can point me to one. It may turn out to be a moot point, I don’t know.

As far as sharpening without a grinder, I keep seeing and hearing the seemingly “legendary” claims to scary sharpness without a grinder of some sort, but I can’t seem to generate those results myself. I watched many online sharpening videos hosted by the experts. All of them leave out critical details which several replies to my post here have brought out. I’m so glad I decided to put this topic out here on LJ’s.

And I agree with you, I am now enjoying my cheap chisels which are, for the first time, sharp. :)

View JimmyC's profile

JimmyC

106 posts in 2088 days


#36 posted 03-16-2009 04:26 PM

The Worksharp 300 rules, After the initail sharpenig, which is easy, it only takes a few seconds to touch up, so the chisel is always sharp. It’s alos cool to use on lathe tools once you get get used to it.

But, I know I made the right decision when I took a dovetail class with Bill Anderson, who teaches a few classes at the John Campbell folk school . Bill always used water stones and got a Worksharp after a demonstration. He told me that he sharpened 38 chisels on his Worksharp in 2 less than 2 hours. All of his chisels are sharp, and easy to work with. Plane irons sharpen just as well and easy.

-- -JimmyC...Clayton,NC- "Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave"

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