Difficult time sharpening chisel

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Forum topic by Steven H posted 01-17-2010 08:56 AM 1634 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Steven H

1117 posts in 2481 days

01-17-2010 08:56 AM

I got these chisel at home depot for 15 bucks. Is this why am getting hard time to Scary Sharp these?
I’m using 500, 1200,6000 water stones.


11 replies so far

View bigike's profile


4048 posts in 2709 days

#1 posted 01-17-2010 09:08 AM

try grinding first. sharp is when u can pare down end grain and leave a smooth edge.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View degoose's profile


7193 posts in 2775 days

#2 posted 01-17-2010 09:13 AM

Have you flattened the back?.. that is the first step… without the back flat you can’t get the bevel to be at one with the back… if you know what I mean…
I just got the Worksharp system now available in Australia from Industrial Tools and Machinery Sales and it makes my cheap chisels good and my good chisels great. Works great on plane irons too..will be reviewing it soon…

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ For lovers of all things timber...

View cmaeda's profile


205 posts in 2975 days

#3 posted 01-17-2010 10:20 AM

You can get any chisel super sharp. The cheaper ones just won’t hold the edge for very long.
First thing is to make sure you flatten your waterstones.
Once they are flat, flatten the back of each chisel. Be sure to work the whole stone so you don’t create unevenness in the stone. Flatten the waterstones often.
Then you can work on the bevel.
Use a honing guide… easiest way to work on the bevel. For chisels, the Eclipse style honing guides work well and are fairly inexpensive.

View RHutch's profile


5 posts in 2475 days

#4 posted 01-17-2010 11:48 PM

Sharpening takes some practice. I use cheap chisels with no problem other than more frequent sharpening. I’ve used the scary sharp sandpaper method and oil stones with equal great results. Keep at it and you’ll get good results with anything you use. Stay away from the coarse stone unless you have a nick in your edge. I use 2000 grit sandpaper on glass for my next to last step and a leather strop with gold colored rouge, I can’t think of the name of it, that I got from Woodcraft for the last step. The edge and back are like a mirror after this.

-- Hutch, Rhode Island

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Steven H

1117 posts in 2481 days

#5 posted 01-18-2010 01:26 AM

How do I know if its super sharp enough? Maybe it’s the angle I’m doing it? 25-30 degree?

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 2481 days

#6 posted 01-18-2010 03:41 AM

All my stones are flat. I notice when i sharpen the bevel its gets duller, but if add a microbevel its more sharper? Is this normal?

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 2691 days

#7 posted 01-18-2010 04:15 AM

A Micro Bevel as you call it will work in a short run…but will dull quickly. The best method is to sharpen along with the bevel.

My method (there are several ways – not just mine is correct) is to flatten the back and bevel on a grinding wheel – I have a wood triangle on my grinder table for the proper bezel (or whatever jig you want to use – even by hand if you are steady enough). After bevling, I run (pull backwards keeping the chisel at the bevel angle a few times along a course diamond stone…until sharp, then same on a fine stone and then a chefs diamond knife sharpener – pulled straight along the back (to flatten and remove any burs from sharpening the front/on the grinder)....once the chisel is diamond sharp (pretty sharp) I will then strop it a couple times on a white compound treated strop – pulling backwards along the bezel..just like the diamond (I make my own strops as they can be expensive). That will get it razor sharp and will polish the edge enough so that it will last quite awhile…After using, and to get back to razor sharp…I just use the strop….when it gets a bit duller, I will use the diamond again as above….I don’t use the grinder unless the tool is damaged – like a chip out…or I want a new bevel (very seldom)

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 2691 days

#8 posted 01-18-2010 07:12 PM

Just wanted to add…that you can use your stones in place of diamond sharpeners….just that you will have to use more strokes to get a good edge….you also will need to use a lubricant or cleaning solution (water or honing oil) to keep the stone working/cutting correctely (that is why I switched to diamonds as you only need to rinse them off once in a while).

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 2481 days

#9 posted 01-18-2010 11:08 PM

I think the problem that I’m having is that the bevel is not flat its round. Unfortunately I don’t a grinding wheel so I might a get honing guide for now.

View Mark's profile


1801 posts in 2695 days

#10 posted 01-18-2010 11:21 PM

i have those chisels too…theyre not bad…i didnt have any prblem sharpening them :S

-- M.K.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 2691 days

#11 posted 01-18-2010 11:31 PM

A round bevel can be sharpened much easier on a chef knife sharpener or a cone – just as a gough in woodturning is done (there are several honing guides out there for sharpening goughes. (Now that is if the round bevel is intentional – if the tool is rounded due to grinding error it is better to regrind a straight bevel)..

No matter what the shape of the tool….the bevel must intersect with the plane of the other edge – (otherwise you will end up with a mini bevel). The angle of the intersection determines the amount of material the tool “cuts.” Most wood tools have an angle around 25 to 35 degrees. The smaller the angle the less chance of tearing…but also the least material is removed. Sharpening is still done along the bevel angle….but a rounded edge means the the tool must be rotated in order for all of the surface to be reached. The same manner of sharpening as a straight bevel is used…but a conical sharpener can be substituted for ease. The stropping is done the same.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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