Sharpening chisels?

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  • Sharpening chisels?

    I mostly use power tools, and have little need for sharpening (things like carbide have to go out anyway). I occasionally use chisels. Very little really, so much that I still have a couple with the factory edge from many years ago. But I do need to tend to them, and have just randomly used a small stone by hand a few times. This of course is not very accurate and is time-consuming. So...advice? Maybe just get a rolling jig? Or spend the money for something like the MPower Fastrack chisel kit? I'm inclined toward simple and cheap for how little I need them. We had a two-sided stone, but for how little it got used, it's freakin' lost now.


  • #2
    This is an example of a mid-price kit that looks easy to use and convenient.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...UOBRAY0Y&psc=1

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    • #3
      This is one of those define the universe and give three examples questions. There must be a dozen popular edge tool sharpening methods people use. I have a stone pond, water stones, and a roller jig. There's the scary sharp method with a glass plate and sandpaper. The diamond plates method. I also use a charged wide cotton wheel on a variable speed grinder and diamond hones the most. Then there's old oil stone method. My BIL has one of those motorized wet wheel machines.
      Jim Frye
      The Nut in the Cellar.
      ”Sawdust Is Man Glitter”

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      • #4
        Easy and reliable in minimal time is my goal. Perfection is not.

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        • #5
          I use a honing guide like the one in the picture of your link, and 400 - 600 grit PSA sandpaper on the cast iron table of my tablesaw (my flat surface). I do plane blades the same way. It's fast, easy, and cheap.
          Chr's
          __________
          An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
          A moral man does it.

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          • #6
            I know this is beyond the cost you wish to spend, but I will list it. I use CBN wheels on my grinder which does an excellent job, and fast too, without destroying the temper. It does not work with soft metal, but works primarily HSS metals (most chisels) and does not work with carbide blades. But most for chisels, it does excellent. The chisels still need honing.

            I got into this because I needed razor sharp edges for turning segmented wood on the lathe. Sandpaper creates sanding dust which contaminates woods of different colors; razor sharp is required for smooth turning without creating sanding dust. And that comes from honing. CBN wheels are expensive but they grind quickly without creating much heat or sparks.
            Hank Lee

            Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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            • #7
              I took a hunk of my 1" off last week. The steel just chipped out. Note to self, do NOT try to re-establish the bevel on the bench grinder. The platform for the Wolverine jig is too long. Now I need a new 1" chisel...

              Just FWIW, this was an ultra cheapie set of Stanleys from Home Depot. The shanks and handles are too short to be comfortable for my big hands to work with and I kind of hate them anyway, maybe subconsciously didn't care if I runed them...

              Any suggestions for decent / good LONG chisels, or at least comfortable chisels for guys with big hands?
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              • #8
                Originally posted by leehljp View Post
                I know this is beyond the cost you wish to spend, but I will list it. I use CBN wheels on my grinder which does an excellent job, and fast too, without destroying the temper. It does not work with soft metal, but works primarily HSS metals (most chisels) and does not work with carbide blades. But most for chisels, it does excellent. The chisels still need honing.

                I got into this because I needed razor sharp edges for turning segmented wood on the lathe. Sandpaper creates sanding dust which contaminates woods of different colors; razor sharp is required for smooth turning without creating sanding dust. And that comes from honing. CBN wheels are expensive but they grind quickly without creating much heat or sparks.

                We sold the lathe, along with the sharpening jigs that went with it. Which prompted this post. CBN wheels were on my list once, but realizing how little I need to sharpen, don't know if it's worth it. Not just in cost, but I also do metalworking and would then have to have more wheel changes or modify my habits. I already have two grinders with various wheels.

                I'm not sure about LONG chisels and I have dead-average sized hands, but the grip surface on my Marples is very nice. I think it's on the large side. They are textured rubber over plastic. I like it much better than my one wood handled chisel.

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                • #9
                  I too use a honing guide. In my case, I like the Veritas MkII guide from Lee-Valley, but it's priced at $77 today. Here's the link: https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/shop...e?item=05M0901

                  I admit that on initial sharpening it is time consuming, but once you get that proper edge, it's really just a matter of a few strokes to keep a razor's edge.

                  I also use their 'skew registration jig' (https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/shop...m?item=05M0903) for setting up sharpening of my skew chisels and their 'bevel gauge' (https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/shop...e?item=50K0901)

                  For a great surface, I use a granit tile that I purchased locally and had it cut into three pieces. I use whatever grit preferred and tape wet/dry emery to it.

                  CWS


                  Last edited by cwsmith; 03-25-2022, 11:18 AM. Reason: Typos
                  Think it Through Before You Do!

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                  • dbhost

                    dbhost
                    commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Maintaining an edge is easy enough, that is true, until the metal gives way at the edge and blows a chunk out, then you have to re-establish the bevel / rough edge and hone it in... I am thinking about hauling over to Harbor Freight and buying one of their coarse / "fine" wetsones if 240 grit can be called fine, and use that with my honing guide to re-establish the bevel. Once the bevel / base edge is there, I hone it with the honing guide on a piece of tempered hardboard with strips of various grits of sandpaper, 240, 320 or something like that, 600 some odd blah blah blah, you get the idea. I stop at the 600 some odd as I honestly can't tell the difference past that. I know there are wetstones that go to 8K but I kind of don't see the point... Diminishing returns and all unless you want a mirror edge.

                  • cwsmith
                    cwsmith commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I have a few wet stones, but honestly I use then rarely. Problem with wet stones, for me, is that they are difficult to maintain a flat surface and in an effort to do so, I find I'm wasting more to the surface to flat maintenance than I am to sharpening. So I most often just use 'wet or dry' sanding sheet which I tape to my granite tile block and work there.

                    Of course i I've got a nick or chip in the blade, then that's something else and the grinder would have to come into play. I do have a 10-inch wet grinder which I bought from Grizzly a few years ago. It looks like a Tormak, but probably isn't near the quality. It was pretty cheap as I recall and turns at 110 rpm. Frankly, other than setting it up and making sure it works, I've never used it because I haven't until recently had a chisel chip on me.

                    A couple of years ago, my wife was in our local Aldi's and she saw a set of four 'WorkZone' (Aldi's own brand) chisels and she bought them for me, thinking they'd be good utility chisels. Actually they looked pretty decent with long chrome-vanadium blades and steel banded hardwood handles... made in China. This past summer when I was cleaning up the yard I found a small sapling growing too closse to the foundation to cut with the saw. So I places a board between it and the concrete and grabbed the one-inch wide chisel, figuring I'd simply cut the sapling out with a couple of mallet blows. It worked, but it chipped the blade significantly. So how cheaply made was that, green wood not even two-inches in diameter and using using a board to ensure I didn't hit the concrete!

                    CWS

                • #10
                  For honing my lathe tools (for pens (and my wood chisels too) I have used the lapping plate from LeeValley along with PSA micro-fine sandpaper for about 15 years. That is still my go to for honing. Excellent sharpness!

                  https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/shop...e?item=05M2012
                  Last edited by leehljp; 03-25-2022, 05:32 AM.
                  Hank Lee

                  Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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                  • #11
                    I have a Worksharp 2000 but I can't seem to find the box with all the jigs and holding fixtures.
                    Loring in Katy, TX USA
                    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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                    • #12
                      The Veritas feeds my love of fantastically engineered things. It's expensive. But I'll whine once when I buy it and love it every time I touch it. Hmm.

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                      • #13
                        I used a Worksharp 3000 for quite some time; it works well and is fairly easy. It can make a mess when sharpening several tools and/or when "restoring" a tool that needs a lot of work to get the back flat, to get the edge straight and rust free, etc. Somewhat like using a bench grinder, the WS3000 makes a small pile of fine dust behind it. And for quick touch-up sharpening while using a tool, I found the WS is not the best solution. I've since switched to diamond plates for touch-up sharpening plus a leather strop. The diamond plates are nice because a) they stay flat unlike stones, and b) they need only a few dribbles of water for lubrication. There is no need to deal with oil or to pre-soak them in a water bath as is necessary for many stones. So less mess, less chance of spilling stuff onto your workbench. I keep a small plastic cup of water near my bench with a straw in it... that serves as a tool dunking bucket (to cool tips if needed) and I use the straw as an eyedropper to dribble water onto the diamond plates. There are multiple vendors of diamond plates and they come in all sorts of sizes... the main things to watch for when picking a size are a) is it wide enough for your widest blade installed in an Eclipse style sharpening guide or some other guide, and b) is it long enough for the tool tip and sharpening guide to both sit on the plate and still have a few inches for you to actually move the tool+guide fore and aft.

                        I made a small flat carrier for a couple diamond plates and a stropping piece; it sits on risers inside a drawer for storage. The risers keep it at the top of the drawer and make it easy to lift out when needed. For most touch-ups, I can use the carrier in the drawer as-is so it doesn't take up bench space. I use the Veritas Mark-II honing guide but the inexpensive "Eclipse" style guides/jigs work well too. The Mark-II makes it easy to position a chisel or hand plane blade into the guide at a precise position to a) keep the cutting edge perpendicular to the tool edges and b) keep the bevel angle consistent between sharpenings. But it's trivially easy to make a jig to position blades at a specific distance when using Eclipse style guides: a flat surface (e.g. plywood) with stop block positioned at different distances from the edge. You butt the Eclipse guide against the plywood edge and slide the blade through the guide until the edge butts against a stop block. An example one-stop sharpening pad from Lie-Nielsen is at Lie-Nielsen angle setting jig and sharpening table PDF file from Deneb Puchalski. To position stop blocks for your chisel collection, don't measure exact distances as the PDF shows (they apply to L-N's jig and are also dependent on tool thickness); instead install your chisel into whatever guide you have and manually adjust it until the blade bevel sits dead-flat against a flat reference surface. Then hold the guide+chisel to your plywood base and glue/pin-nail the stop block against the chisel edge. Make stop blocks for every bevel angle in your tool collection.

                        I now use my WS3000 mostly to lap the backs of chisels and plane irons. I use a foot operated on/off switch to run the WS3000; that way I can lay the blade backside onto the WS3000 disk with the WS off; then keep both hands on the blade while my foot turns the WS on. I find that easier, and safer, compared to trying to "land" the tool onto an already-spinning disk (if you touch down at a slight angle, you risk grinding off material behind the cutting tip which is exactly what you do NOT want to do!) or trying to hold the blade one-handed so the other hand can turn the WS on. It's the same foot switch I bought at HF for a benchtop scroll saw years ago. I still use the WS3000's normal feed slot for initial sharpening of a damaged blade; that takes too long to do on diamond plates.

                        After some time, I've gotten pretty good at freehand sharpening - holding chisels at a consistent angle without the Mark-II. For tools with sufficient thickness (bench chisels, mortise chisels, but not hand plane blades) the bevel has enough "footprint" to help. I position the tool and rock it until I feel it sit flat, then I put one finger directly over the bevel to push it into the sharpening plate; that finger does the job of maintaining the angle as I sharpen. Sliding the tool fore and aft makes it want to rock... I instead move the tool side-to-side across the diamond plate. Only the last pass is done dragging the tool backwards, away from the cutting edge. So I don't need the Mark-II on most of my chisels now. I don't use "micro-bevels" on my tools however... touching up a micro-bevel is best done with a guide as there is almost no footprint to work with free-hand.

                        While using a chisel, every few minutes take a swipe across a strop. Frequent quick strops keep the tool working well, reducing how often you need to quit working to re-sharpen with stones, diamond plates, or whatever.

                        mpc

                        edit: Getting the sharpening angle exactly right is not important - i.e. chisels sharpened to 25.00 degrees or 26.23 degrees will work equally well. The main thing is to re-sharpen a tool at the same angle it was last sharpened to... otherwise you will grind away far more metal than necessary - spending a lot more time sharpening and wearing out the tool more quickly. Most angle setting gizmos, including the wood-stop-block-on-a-flat-plate jig, will be exact at only one blade thickness. They'll be fractions of a degree wrong at thicker/thinner blades. No big deal after the first sharpening.
                        Last edited by mpc; 03-25-2022, 12:50 PM.

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                        • #14
                          Just FWIW, my honing guide was bought at Woodcraft in Houston, not online, so I THOUGHT I was getting a decent one. It is more or less the same thing as the Amazon cheapie here... Seriously I cannot tell ANY difference from mine and this pic. This thing is like $14.00 on Amazon. I think I paid $30.00 at Woodcraft in 2008. WIsh I knew better then...

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                          I have heard good things about the Gordon sharpening stone from Harbor Freight, and it is dirt money so considering my junk chisles right now, worth a gamble...

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                          I think the "fine" side is 240 grit...

                          I don't see the need in honing past about 1K grit unless I am going for a mirror finish, and I believe someone else linked these 400 / 1000 grit water stones earlier in this thread maybe, from Amazon, fair price...

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                          I would definately have to build a little storage box for the sharpneing tools though. This is a lot of loose stuff. Maybe stow it in the clamshell cabinet next to the Groups and block plane. Lots of space on that shelf...
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                          • #15
                            Anyone have tips on manual honing of turning tools. Most notably fingernail gouges and bowl gouges?
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