Prefered Angle for Chisels -Paring and Regular

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Forum topic by UGAfan21 posted 12-06-2016 08:02 PM 967 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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64 posts in 1536 days

12-06-2016 08:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: chisel plane

I recently bought a set of paring chisels and I have a set of Stanley chisels. I sharpened them to a 30 degree bevel. I was wondering if anyone had a preferred angle for certain chisels. I have been working with hand tools for a couple months now. Bought some hand planes and sharpened them as well. What is a preferred angle for a smoothing plane?

And.. What are the benefits of a 30 degree verses a 20 degree. I think… a 30 degree leaves more steel for tougher jobs, keeping an edge longer. But what other benefits are there?

Im just a beginner seeking guidance. You guys have never let me down before. Thanks for the input!!


5 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3826 days

#1 posted 12-06-2016 09:12 PM

I think I generally sharpen both plane irons
and chisels to about 30 degrees.

View HokieKen's profile


6642 posts in 1317 days

#2 posted 12-06-2016 09:42 PM

I use 25 degrees for all of my bevel-down planes. Bench chisels get 25 degrees with a 30 degree secondary bevel for the ones used for heavy chopping. Paring chisels are honed at 20 degrees.

25 degrees should be ideal for a smoothing plane in my experience. Planes that take a heavier cut may benefit from a 30 degree bevel or secondary bevel. I just do all mine at 25 degrees ‘cause that’s easy to remember ;-) This assumes a bevel-down plane. For bevel-ups, it gets much more complex because the angle of the bevel alters the attack angle. 25 is still a good starting point though for bevel-ups.

The steeper the angle, the more durable the edge and the shallower the angle, the sharper it is. The trick is finding a good compromise between the two for any particular tool.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3898 days

#3 posted 12-06-2016 09:48 PM

I think paring chisels are usually beveled at 20 degrees. Most others are steeper at 25 to 30. I think the steeper bevel is for use in hardwoods and end grain. Smoothing planes might have two sets of blades for use in soft woods and hardwoods.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View JayT's profile


5935 posts in 2389 days

#4 posted 12-06-2016 10:42 PM

Any angle less than 35 degrees works for a bevel down plane. Since the attack angle will always be 45 degrees (or whatever angle the frog is at) all you really need to do is leave enough clearance for the wood fibers to spring back a little bit.

My bench chisels are sharpened about 30 degrees and paring chisels are around 25. I use a honing guide initially to get a square edge and establish a bevel and then freehand after that, so angles don’t stay exact for very long. On very narrow chisels (up to 1/4in), I’ve read that you want to keep the angle a little steeper for strength.

In the end, being truly sharp is far more important than the angle you are sharp at.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View UGAfan21's profile


64 posts in 1536 days

#5 posted 12-07-2016 12:28 AM

Thanks for the input… all of this was helpful!! I think I will keep my planes at 30… but try 20-25 degree angle on the paring chisels… thanks again… this is great for a good start


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