Chisel Sharpening Fast Easy and Cheap With Tools You Have

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Forum topic by Barry Crowe posted 04-22-2014 04:49 AM 2390 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Barry Crowe

66 posts in 1951 days

04-22-2014 04:49 AM

Topic tags/keywords: chisel drill press

I have all manner of whetstones, diamond plates, strops, chisel jigs, etc. Sure, after many years I now know how to get an egde to shave with. But it takes so damn long to sharpen my chisels and plane irons. I would like to buy one of those platter sharpeners by Veritas, but at $450, I don’t think so. So I found one of those drill sanding attachments that were popular many years ago. This one is quite true with little run out and flutter. I then used a 6” hole saw to cut a piece of Plexiglas and glued it to the drill sanding attachment. This gave me a smooth platter to apply PSA backed sanding disks to. I then chucked this into the drill press and positioned the adjustable work surface so I could steady the chisel on it to get a nice bevel and a 90 degree edge on the chisel or iron. Keep in mind that you are doing this upside down and you must articulate the bevel up and to the underside of the refitted sanding attachment. I only have 290 grit Norton PSA backed disks (bought surplus) but man, talk about a time saver. I can now sharpen a chisel in 5-10 seconds. My tools can cut the end grain of cedar no problem and power through all the other tasks I need to tackle with chisels and hand planes. I respect all the skill and time it took to learn how to sharpen tools, but the time saving is just to attractive and dirt cheap. I will upload my pictures tomorrow.

-- Supercrowe

20 replies so far

View DocSavage45's profile


8690 posts in 2964 days

#1 posted 04-22-2014 05:04 AM

Many ways to sharpen a chisel. Maybe you can get another disk for compound used in sharpening to refine the grind?

Looking forward to the pics.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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Barry Crowe

66 posts in 1951 days

#2 posted 04-22-2014 06:29 AM

I could use a finer compound abrasive, but they don’t last long and they are $2-$4 a sheet, depending on finess of grit. However, I have found the difference in sharpness is negligible. It seems the courser the grit gives me a more durable edge too. I happened to stumble on this phenomenon after putting a chisel straight to work after grinding a new bevel on my grinder.

I am a purest. I would work through the grits after establishing a new edge with a diamond plate (1000, 4000, 6000, 8000 grit wetstones). This was usually 4 step process ending with a charged leather strop. But, the keeness of edge and the way I can now knock over a cedar end grain is something that took several minutes beforehand. Now, in 5-10 seconds I am back working instead of praying to the edge God at my ritualistic sharpening station for what seemed like forever at times.

-- Supercrowe

View UncleStumpy's profile


736 posts in 2435 days

#3 posted 04-22-2014 06:37 AM

Any pictures? Sounds like a super idea!

-- "They don't want it perfect - they want it SPECIAL"

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Barry Crowe

66 posts in 1951 days

#4 posted 04-22-2014 06:42 AM

I left my camera in the shop and it’s too late and I’m too lazy to go and get it. I’ll post the pics in the morning.

-- Supercrowe

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Barry Crowe

66 posts in 1951 days

#5 posted 04-22-2014 03:58 PM

Here are the pictures.

-- Supercrowe

View bbc557ci's profile


595 posts in 2196 days

#6 posted 04-22-2014 04:45 PM

Barry – That’s pretty cool…great idea!!

Any reason why the bolt/arbor can’t go through the disk so it can be flipped 180 degrees, and the sandpaper is on the top side? ;o)

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

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Barry Crowe

66 posts in 1951 days

#7 posted 04-22-2014 04:54 PM

I will try that, but I may start from scratch as you need something very close to true. This setup has so little run out and flutter I will leave it alone. I may put together a package and try market it. After all the hours I have wasted sharpening, I wish I would have tried this earlier. There is a reason platter sharpeners sell – they work and work very well indeed. But, there is more than one way to skin a dog, er…cat.

-- Supercrowe

View EPJartisan's profile


1118 posts in 3247 days

#8 posted 04-22-2014 09:52 PM

If you are looking for speed.. you could try hollow grinding your chisels. less metal to worry about.. I need my tools sharp enough to shave with and I keep a sharp edge only about 2-3 mm.. so it is easy to fix, hone, and keep sharp. :)

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View a1Jim's profile


117204 posts in 3699 days

#9 posted 04-22-2014 09:58 PM

Looks like it works fine for you.Tage Frid use to just grab a belt sander and ba bing sharp in ten seconds. :)

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View bobasaurus's profile


3530 posts in 3306 days

#10 posted 04-22-2014 10:05 PM

You should look into power stropping. It works wonders for putting an instant razor edge on things. I use a set of paper wheels (the “razor sharp edgemaking system”), which is meant for knives but works great for carving tools and the like, too. Though for anything that needs a flat edge, I stick with hand sharpening on stones trued with a diamond plate.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 3083 days

#11 posted 04-23-2014 02:08 PM

Barry, good idea. The same thing could be used on a lathe- Jacobs chuck and the drill/Plexiglass set-up. Got to try on of them.

View pmtottawa's profile


15 posts in 2105 days

#12 posted 04-23-2014 07:09 PM

I use the one shown on shopnotes issue 61

Works great for me.

View WibblyPig's profile


172 posts in 3396 days

#13 posted 04-23-2014 10:00 PM

You just made your own WorkSharp 3000. Make a couple of other disks, and make a 25 and 30 degree wedge. Then you can run though a few different papers on the 25degree wedge and when you’re done, go back and put a micro bevel on with the 30 degree wedge.

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

View bandit571's profile


21086 posts in 2805 days

#14 posted 04-23-2014 10:10 PM

How things get started in the Dungeon Shop

angle is set on a gauge block

Usually @ 25 degrees. After a decent edge is done on the belt, I go to the stones, without moving the guide

even works on sandpaper stuck to a tile

and finish up on that strip of old leather belt.

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

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Barry Crowe

66 posts in 1951 days

#15 posted 04-24-2014 01:37 AM

I do have big stationary sander with a platter and belt and a portable belt sander. I did not want to use either because of too much material removal if I didn’t switch to a much finer belt which could be a pain, especially the big sander. That’s why I chose the little platter to chuck into the drill press. Also, I can easily install all manner of abrasives at a low price rather than $7 and $11 for the big PSA disk or 6” x 48” belt, respectively. Lots of good comments and angles, pardon the pun, that I have not thought of.

-- Supercrowe

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