How To Sharpen A Chisel

Last Updated on April 6, 2021 by James

A lot of people consider a chisel as a handy tool that is extremely useful for serious woodwork. If you thought sharpening a chisel is a difficult task, it is actually quite easy. All you need is a honing jig and some sharpening stones. To begin with, chisels go through a stage of elementary grinding that helps to give them a beveled edge. When you do that, the cutting edge will become glassy smooth. However, feeling something sharp on your hand does not mean that they will be sharp enough for wood as well.

Step 1: Items Required

There are various ways to sharpen a chisel. While a lot of people prefer doing it with their hand, some make use of a honing jig. While some others make use of oilstones, others with sharpening stones such as waterstones, and some others with diamond stones. The options are many but we will make use of waterstone in this guide. Here are the things you will require:

  • Honing Guide
  • Waterstones
  • Nagura Stones

Step 2: Use Of Waterstones

Place your sharpening stones in water and let them be there for sometime for about 10 minutes. You could even keep or store them in a container.

Step 3: Honing Guide Setup

Put your chisel in the honing guide with the bevel facing downwards. Now tighten the honing guide in such a way that you can hold the chisel. But ensure that it is slightly loose so that you can adjust it if need be. The entire bevel by now will be touching the stone but it it the front part that is important. You do not need to be accurate at this stage, just ensure that the bevel is lying flat against the waterstone. Tighten the honing guide screw so as to lock the chisel in its place.

Step 4: 800 Grit

You can place the stone on a fine grit sandpaper and then set the chisel onto the stone. Apply an even amount of pressure on the back of the chisel blade while you place your thumbs on the jig and give it about five passes. These passes need to be evenly distributed over the stone. Now wipe the blade neatly and see where the blade is making contact with the stone. Ensure that the blade contacts the stone at least for the first ⅛ inch. Do this step a couple of time along with three other things: wipe the blade, check on the progress and rinse the stone of the residues. You can now move up to 1200 grit stone and then upto 4000 grit stone. At this point you will notice that the blade will begin to shine.

Step 5: Nagura Stone

If the grits of a waterstone is above 6000 then you will need help in producing the slur that is required to sharpen the chisel. So this is where you will need the use of Nagura Stone.Make use of your wet Nagura stone and rub the top of this 8000-grit stone in circular motion. You will notice that the slurry will begin to form on the top of the stone. With each passing set, make sure that you rinse the stone well and then reapply it again.

Step 6: Add Microbevel

A microbevel is a small bevel that has beveled edges and is used when your chisel dulls out or you just need it to sharpen it. In order to put a microbevel on the balde, slurry the 8000 grit stone with the help of the nagura stone and then put the honing guide on the stone. Now raise the handle of the chisel and with a nice stroke push forward to the other side of the stone. Now repeat this a couple of times on both sides. After several passes you will notice a thin line on the end of the chisel blade.

Step 7: Flatten The Back

With all of these steps, the back of your chisel might become slightly burr. In order to get rid of this, you need to flatten the back of your chisel. For this, begin with an 800 grit stone and lay the back of the chisel against this grit stone and make as many passes as you want. It does not matter how much of the back you will place on the stone, it is only the very end that needs to be flattened well. Do this as many times as you want until you move up through 4000 grit stone and there you will have with you a finely honed and powerfully sharp chisel.