Hand tools are just as important as power tools and are often needed to put “finishing touches” on projects after the power tools have done their jobs.
In order to achieve superb performance with cutting hand tools, one must first have a tool with a keen edge. For many woodworkers, this is a fundamental step in their early teachings. Sharp tools allow for precision cuts as well as ease of obtaining quality results.
When sharpening chisels, it is most efficient to sharpen the entire set rather than one or two, which allows for uniform wear on the entire set as well as uniformity of all the chisels in the set.
In order to sharpen chisels properly, a bench grinder with a fine and coarse wheel is necessary.
A container full of water will be needed to cool the chisel during the grinding process in order keep the integrity of the steel in tact.
A proper sharpening angle is 30 degrees and many bench grinders have an adjustable tool rest.
Start grinding with the coarse wheel first by placing the chisel on the tool rest and slowly advance the chisel into the spinning wheel, removing only a small amount of material from the chisel. While grinding, slowly slide the chisel on the tool rest from side to side ensuring the entire bevel will be ground uniformly.
Inspect the chisel after each pass on the grinder and dip it into the container of water. After a few passes a slight “burr” will appear at the point of the chisel. When this “burr” occurs, it is time to move to the fine wheel.
Move the chisel to the fine wheel and repeat the same process as with the coarse wheel.
After using the fine wheel, A fine stone will be used to put the keen edge on the chisel.
A fine grit diamond stone (400 grit) will allow a mirror like finish to be
Placing the chisel with the bevel side flat on the diamond stone, holding the chisel down securely with the index finger allows for excellent control while sharpening.
After using the diamond stone, a leather strop secured on each end will be used to work the fine “burr” on the tip of the chisel. This is done simply by scraping the chisel with long strokes back and forth on the strop.
You should now have an extremely sharp chisel which will allow use for many projects.
It is very important to store chisels in a dry place while protecting the sharp edge. Using a leather chisel roll will ensure the chisels will stay sharp for your next project.