Assorted chisles butchered need help

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Forum topic by Michigander posted 12-31-2012 05:05 PM 1323 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 2655 days

12-31-2012 05:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: chisel hone fix chisel

I have accumulated or inherited a dozen or so chisels which have been butchered by someone who hand sharpenied them on a grinding wheel. I’d like to salvage them but need a good way to put them back to usefulness. I bought a Woodcraft chisel honing guide and tried to fix them using rough grit stone, but it will take me a year to hone all these chisels using that stone. Without spending a fortune, would you suggest ways I can return these chisels to usefulness. I am new to woodworking and until now haven’t had to use a chisel, but I plan to do some dovetails so I need to know how to hone a blade properly.
Thanks for your input.

10 replies so far

View JohnChung's profile


416 posts in 2311 days

#1 posted 12-31-2012 05:18 PM

A dozen butchered chisels?! I assume that the bevel is no longer the standard 25 degrees…... If you have
access to a grinder or belt sander then regrind the chisels to it’s proper angle again. After that sharpen on
sandpaper or waterstones.

Fixing butchered bevels through hand sharpening is possible but very TIME CONSUMING.

View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 2655 days

#2 posted 12-31-2012 05:28 PM

John, yea, the bevels are all different, there was no attempt to make them consistant. I do have a bench grinder but it doesn’t have a tool rest that can be set to 25 degrees; it is perpendicular to the axis of the wheel. I do have a belt sander; what grit/ grits would you use? What grit stones should I have to put a edge on them?
Thanks, John

View bandit571's profile


21985 posts in 2920 days

#3 posted 12-31-2012 05:38 PM

There are two posts on LJs right now, dealing with….

I use an old, worn out belt. It was about either 100, or 150 grit when new. Buck Brothers does have a “decent” oil stone, and it is available at Home Depot. Pick up a can of 3-in-1 oil as well. That guide came from Veritas and is a MKI. They also have a MKII out. I use mine to set the angle of the bevel i want. I use the fingertips as a temp. guide, too hot for them-too hot for steel edges. Yes, I turn the belt sander on, and lock it on. I run with the belt go AWAY from me, AND the edge. Ask away, here , or the other two posts…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3884 days

#4 posted 12-31-2012 05:38 PM

Use the tool rest edge as a fulcrum, wrapping your index
finger under the chisel and butting the side of the finger
against the tool rest. Be careful when grinding and cool
the steel often in water, else you may burn it.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19041 posts in 2804 days

#5 posted 12-31-2012 05:47 PM

I’d suggest making a tool rest for your grinder. All it takes is a few pieces of scrap and its something you’ll use over and over. Just search tool rest and find one you like. I started with this one.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View JohnChung's profile


416 posts in 2311 days

#6 posted 12-31-2012 05:54 PM

A bench grinder :) Well on that part is done. Here is a link to sharpening.

For any grinding from bench grinder or belt sander you would need to create a jig. I would go for a belt sander since it is SAFER. One of the main advantages is that the tool does not heat up quickly. If the temper is brought out on the tool THEN the steel on the chisel would be weaken. In that case you would need to remove until good steel is on the edge of the chisel. Next would be the grit size. I would go for 80 or 120. It removed metal VERY quickly and does not heat up the chisel that fast belt sander. If it does heat up then place it in water. Never heat the chisel until it turns blue.

Here is a link on a jig you could make:,43072

Don W has a very safe jig. You could follow that jig and modify it for the belt sander.

SAFETY : the belt moves AWAY from you. NEVER to your direction!

View Don W's profile

Don W

19041 posts in 2804 days

#7 posted 12-31-2012 06:05 PM

I like the grinder because i like to hollow grind. Its not a right or wrong, so this is by no means an argument against the belt sander, just an alternate way. (also see

The following is a double post from another thread, so if some parts seem a bit off, that’s why.

I’ve been sharpening tools for a long time, but I’ve only been sharpening then correctly for a couple of years. Having transitioned from a power tool guy to a hand tool guy and a bit of a “professional” (and I use this term very loosely for a lack of a better one) restorer, I’ve learned a few things.

I’ll share them, to be used as you will.

I strived (SP?) very hard to learn free hand sharpening. Its mostly what I do now. I think everyone should, even if they don’t ever really get there. If your single wheel jig doesn’t keep the blade straight, try sharpening with it like your going to go free hand. That’s press your fingers, as hard as you comfortably can, as close to the stone as you can, on both edges of the iron. I typically use 2 fingers on each side. In theory think of it as if your trying to push hard enough to put a slight camber on the iron. I’ve never been able to push that hard, but if you did it would be perfect. Its one hand on each side of the blade. You hold onto the blade, not the jig.

Eventually you’ll be able to remove the jig from the equation. I tend to skew the blade a little more free hand than with the jig.

Thicker blades are easier, especially if you hollow grind.

To free hand you want to rock the blade until you know where its hitting on the front and the back of the bevel. If you have hollow ground it you will hear a “clicking” sound. That’s the sweet spot. This is a step you don’t need with the jig.

Then just push the iron forward, Strive to keep the stroke even and parallel. Even with the jig, work at this.

Thicker irons (chisels) are easier to work freehand. (yes I repeated this for a reason) The “click” is much more prominent because the hollow grind is deeper or the flat is longer.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 2655 days

#8 posted 02-04-2013 04:04 PM

Well, guys, sorry for the late reply to your offers for help. I tried using the Woodcraft honing guide on my belt sander, but found the inexpensive honing guide would not hold some of the chisels solid enough to keep them straight. It works fine for plane blades, not chisels. So I purchased the Veritas Mark II honing guide. Though expensive, I have found it well made and holds both chisels and plane blades perfectly straight and the angle is repeatable.
I thought the belt sander was not flat enough so I made up a sanding station using a piece of flat granite. I used spray adhesive on 5 grits of sandpaper (100, 220, 320, 400, 600) and did the grinding/ honing by hand. Though it is slow, I have rescued an old 1/2” chisel of my Great Grandfathers from being useless to being a tool I am very proud to own and use. I am working my was through the chisels and will probably get some 60 or 80 grit paper to start the cleanup a little faster. I’ll also probably add 800 & 100 grit.
I also rescued a Stanley #4 plane using this method. Now I know why I could never figure out why the plane could never work… You need a razor sharp blade and a smooth chip breaker. Having honed both I sucessfully planed my first project with it and it left a glass smooth finish on hard maple, though I did have some slight chattering. My Great Grandfather also left me an old Bailey #6 plane that needs a tune up. It has a chip off one corner of the blade which may be tough to hone out.
Anyway, thank you all for your assistance. You have set me on a path of knowledge that is allowing me to bring these abused tools back to life. Once properly sharpened, I find I can actually learn to use them!
Thank you.

View chrisstef's profile


17798 posts in 3243 days

#9 posted 02-04-2013 04:08 PM

Way to be John. There’s something about using a refurbished tool from your forefathers that can bring utter joy. Just be careful its a slippery slope, soon you’ll be hunting rusty tools and rubbernecking at every tag sale you see. Not that i would know ;)

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View JohnChung's profile


416 posts in 2311 days

#10 posted 02-04-2013 04:37 PM


The chip at the corner of the blade is generally liveable. Unless you want to skew the blade for fast wood removal buy a spare blade for the #6. In due time you will remove the chip after MUCH sharpening :) I am having fun with waterstones. Fast removal of metal and a NICE edge at the end. Well worth it after I moved away from sandpaper.

John :D

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