If I can do it then ANYONE can get a razor sharp edge on a chisel.

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Blog entry by spaids posted 04-24-2008 01:07 AM 2856 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch


I was at a wood show and there was a demonstration buy a vendor selling Norton Wet Stones. They has a kit of 4 stones, a flattening stone, and angle guide and a little jig for holding your chisel or plane iron all for about $100. He made it look so easy. I was sold. I got the stuff home and for some reason I was a little intimidated. Matts Basement Workshop did a video on sharpening so I watched it a couple times to pump myself up and off I went.
My chisels are some old and abused and cheap to start with hand me downs I got from my dad. They had never been sharpened once in their life. I spent a long long LOOOONG time working the backs of these rusted things. Eventually that mirror finish showed up. Yeah! Now for the scary part… The OTHER SIDE! So I tighten the chisel in my little jig and start working the big bevel. This went a lot faster. Yeah another mirror finish. I moved the chisel int he jig and did the little bevel, about 8 stokes in one direction on my 8000 grit stone and then I check for a burr. There was a burr. Wow things are getting exciting now. So I take the chisel out of the jig and rub the back on the 8000 grit a few times to take the burr off. Next comes the TEST! Wait for it. Wait for it….. Holy Cow did that thing ever shave the hair off of my ARM! I did two chisels that day (I only have two) and in the excitement of my success I shave much more of my arm than I should have.

So google Matts Basement Workshop, find his video on sharpening, do what he says, be happy with your new razor sharp chisel and it amazing effectiveness.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

14 comments so far

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3806 days

#1 posted 04-24-2008 01:35 AM

Congratulations! It’s a good feeling, isn’t it?

-- Eric at

View FrankA's profile


139 posts in 3801 days

#2 posted 04-24-2008 02:12 AM

I too have had that feeling you get when you take a tool that is duller than a butter knife and through a bit of determination and elbow grease honed it to surgical sharpness. The best thing is that after the initial work it just takes a few strokes on the stone to keep it that way.
BTW the arm hair grows back quickly…........

-- Frank Auge---Nichols NY----"My opinion is neither copyrighted nor trademarked, but it is price competitive."

View Vinman's profile


66 posts in 3729 days

#3 posted 04-24-2008 02:22 AM

Great work spaids. I too remember the excitement when I got my first scary sharp edge. What a thrill. Then I learned one of the golden rules of woodworking the hard way. The rule is clamp your work and keep both hands with all fingers behind the blade. You know with chisels that sharp, one slip and you can plant one 1/4” deep right into the bones in your fingertips.


View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4122 days

#4 posted 04-24-2008 02:59 AM

Nothin’ like a scary sharp chisel!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View jjohn's profile


390 posts in 3736 days

#5 posted 04-24-2008 02:59 AM

I was raised by a man that wouldn’t carry his knife from one day to the next without re sharping it to a razor edge. I learned at an early age how to sharpen chisels and such. It’s always a pleasure to see the blade clean a beard as easy as a barbers razor. He kept a stone next to his chair and as a pass time sharpened a knife down to a pick in a short time. I don’t know how many knifes he replaced through the years. The reason for this story is I also learned from him that you could take your leather belt and strap it to your foot and clean the burr off the knife to get that extra edge. You can also do it with a chisel.

-- JJohn

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3821 days

#6 posted 04-24-2008 03:12 AM

sharp posting

-- making sawdust....

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3735 days

#7 posted 04-24-2008 03:18 AM

remember once you get it there strop often to keep it there.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View coolbreeze's profile


104 posts in 3758 days

#8 posted 04-24-2008 03:33 AM

thanks for the link Spaids

-- Jason, AL

View jcees's profile


1060 posts in 3821 days

#9 posted 04-24-2008 04:26 AM

Alright now, go shave some wood with that puppy. THEN, try to shave your arm again. You’ll discover just how fast an edge can go south. Once you know this, you’ll keep your hone/strop nearby so you can whet it back into razor sharpness quickly so you can go and shave some more wood with it. Knowledge in woodworking always comes in the DOING of it. Keep it up and congrats on the newly earned sharpness.


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3735 days

#10 posted 04-24-2008 04:55 AM

Jenn gave me the LV sharpening rig for Christmas… I’m afraid I spent waaay too much time sharpening everything in sight. I am still amazed at the difference between sharp and scary sharp. It is actually fun to use a chisel the way it is intended to be sharp rather than the butter knives I had been using.

-- "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

View Matt (Upper Cut)'s profile

Matt (Upper Cut)

264 posts in 3836 days

#11 posted 04-24-2008 06:02 AM

Anyone have a link to the stone/jig setup he referred to? I’d like to sharpen mine, and my planes too.

-- Matt Gradwohl, Upper Cut Woodworks,

View sjdickey's profile


64 posts in 3821 days

#12 posted 04-24-2008 06:15 AM

I was about to ask the same question mgradwohl….where do I get mine? Do yo have the vendors card?

View spaids's profile


699 posts in 3716 days

#13 posted 04-25-2008 02:36 PM

Peach Tree Woodworking
These are the guys that I bought from at the wood show. I am actually in St. Louis and not from Atlanta where the vendor is. The set is $120 which is what I think I spent at the show but they gave us one more stone at the show. I got the same grits as the kit but only my 4000/8000 is a combo stone where the rest or separate. I think its a good deal to get everything you need to get started for only $120.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View spaids's profile


699 posts in 3716 days

#14 posted 04-25-2008 02:44 PM

Honing Guide
They also threw in the honing guide which I found to be a necessity. I am not sure if it is part of the kit. They have me this honing guide and a little piece of HDPE with rabbets cut into it at different lengths to allow me to set the right length for the angle that is needed.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

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