Suggestions for not turning a straight chisel into a skew chisel while hand sharpening

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Forum topic by mdraft posted 11-22-2014 03:47 PM 1088 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View mdraft's profile


26 posts in 798 days

11-22-2014 03:47 PM

Hi everyone,

I have been working on hand sharpening chisels and can get a pretty good edge, but I have noticed that after a number of rounds on the diamond plates my chisels are taking on a skew. I’ve tried to apply pressure to both sides of the chisel when honing, but for some reason, hopefully some of you can help me with, my chisels keep skewing. Advice? thoughts?

9 replies so far

View JayT's profile


4681 posts in 1634 days

#1 posted 11-22-2014 04:20 PM

A couple things might be possibilities to help out.

#1 Use a guide occasionally. Sharpen/hone freehand most of the time, but about every 3-4 honings, use a guide to square up the edge. I usually do this any time I have to go back to a coarse stone on an edge and freehand in between touch ups with the fine stone and strop.

#2 Draw a square line on the edge of the back with a Sharpie. I do this sometimes with plane irons and it works well. Keep the line pretty thin right to the edge and its easy to see if the line isn’t staying even as you sharpen.

Don’t have any brilliant insights for technique, because I run into the same thing. Doing the two things above is all I’ve come up with to help keep things square.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 2782 days

#2 posted 11-22-2014 04:21 PM

That is exactly why I use a jig. I tried and tried, but freehand sharpening just doesn’t work for me.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 759 days

#3 posted 11-22-2014 05:00 PM

I initially sharpen with a jig to get that nice square bevel. Then I tune up my chisels freehand but I go side to side on the stone. I find it easier to maintain the proper angle that way.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View mdraft's profile


26 posts in 798 days

#4 posted 11-22-2014 06:11 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. Anyone have any suggestions
For a honing guide? I was looking at the veritas II honing guide.

View PaulJerome's profile


57 posts in 2456 days

#5 posted 11-22-2014 06:23 PM

Veritas II is the best on the market at this point. I use it almost daily. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s as fast as free handing.

-- Paul, Central Illinois

View Tim's profile


3032 posts in 1384 days

#6 posted 11-22-2014 06:32 PM

I have the cheap eclipse style guide and it works fine for establishing a square bevel for the things it can hold. Make sure to modify it like in the Lie-Nielsen youtube video. I mostly freehand though.

You could also try the David Barron/Benvolio guide:

View mdraft's profile


26 posts in 798 days

#7 posted 11-23-2014 06:48 PM

Update: I picked up the Veritas II honing guide and its fantastic. In a few hours I was able to straighten out all of my chisels. Now i’m working on my plane blades. Well built, easy to use, and accurate. Great product if you, like me, have a hard time hand sharpening and keeping your chisels square. Thanks again for the recommendation!

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4408 posts in 3383 days

#8 posted 11-23-2014 08:03 PM

My Elipse style guide has served me well for many years. WAY less expensive.


View mdraft's profile


26 posts in 798 days

#9 posted 11-23-2014 10:52 PM

I’m with you Bill. I used an Elipse for years, but it won’t hold my chisels. I really like the wide roller on Veritas II. Much more stable.

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