A little advice sharpening an old chisel? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 5 Old 09-09-2014, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 2
View Proinsias's Photo Album My Photos
A little advice sharpening an old chisel?

Hi all, new here and a bit of a stranger to woodworking in general.

I do enjoy sharpening and keep my razors & knifes around the house sharp with a selection of sharpening stones. I have an old translucent Arkansas sharpening stone which was just a little too large for an empty wooden box I have. Scratching away with a penknife wasn't going anywhere fast when I remembered an old chisel in the loft.

The edge had a lot of chipping but it's stamped Sheffield and seems to be of decent quality. There looked to be 3 bevels; large bevel with a little hollow left, a middle bevel and a mini/micro bevel at the edge. Some of the chips were into the middle bevel, the bevels were wonky.

I pulled out a well worn DMT 325 grit & tried to get an edge back on it. I ended up getting rid of all the chips but things got a little further out of sync as oppossed to me correcting the geometry. The original goal has been met, the Arkansas stone now fits neatly into it's new home thanks to the chisel removing a few mm if wood.

To try and get to the point, any tips for getting the geometry back on track? I'd much prefer to correct my technique than buy a guide.

Am I right in thinking this a likely a carbon steel blade and capable of taking a screaming sharp edge? I've got Shaptons & naturals to take things further if I manage to get the edge straightened out.

*EDIT* A few photos:

Last edited by Proinsias; 09-09-2014 at 05:50 PM.
Proinsias is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 Old 09-09-2014, 07:22 PM
Carpenter & Joiner
Develin's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 254
View Develin's Photo Album My Photos
So when you sharpened your chisel, it didn't hone quite true?

Sheffield steel is world famous for its excellent quality. It will hold a good sharp edge for a long time. As for your photos, they won't load for me so I'll try to be as helpful as I can with what I know so far..

I don't know if this answers your question or if you are a professional or a hobbyist but when I was an apprentice, I had to sharpen everything by hand with no guides and if it took me an hour to do one chisel then that's what I would have to do. The technique I was taught and still use today is to lay the bevel on the stone until it's flat and push down on it at the appropriate angel and push it back and forth until you get a burr on the back edge, then on the last few stroke I would increase the angle slightly to create a tiny slope to help the chisel bed itself for paring tasks better.
After that I just remove the burr and use it.

That of course is all assuming the back of the chisel is reasonably flat, doesn't matter if it's a bit hollow though if the sides connect with the workpiece.

I hope that helped a bit...

Thanks, Dev


Last edited by Develin; 09-09-2014 at 07:34 PM.
Develin is offline  
post #3 of 5 Old 09-09-2014, 08:19 PM
Village Idiot
epicfail48's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Springfield MO
Posts: 4,958
View epicfail48's Photo Album My Photos
The 2 things im guessing when you say the geometry is off is either A) the cutting edge isnt square to the body of the chisel or B) the bevel on the chisel is wonky in some way. 2 different problems ive hit with 2 different solutions that work for me.

A) Take a fine point sharpie and a square, draw a line across and grind to the line. This usually moves the cutting edge back too far for a normal sharpening to take care of, well, sharpening, leading directly to...
B) Regrind the bevel. Despite my usual hatred for hollow grinding, i think a bench grinder is the best tool for the job here. You could probably use a low grit stone, and if you do, once youre done get back to us on how well it works. Admittedly, youll probably have to tell our children, as well all be dead, but still. Anyway, whatever method you choose, find a way to set the proper angle for the chisel and keep grinding until the proper angle youre grinding shows its way across the entire bevel. Its pretty hard to describe what im trying to say with that, the best thing i can say is youtube is youre best friend. Once youve got the bevel re-ground, sharpen as normal.

All said and done, ive never seen anything that permantly destroyed a carbon steel blade, provided it isnt cracked in half and lit on fire. Ive heard good things about sheffield, so i have no doubt that, given the proper care, youll be able to have the edge cleaned up and cutting in either no time flat or a life time
epicfail48 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 5 Old 09-10-2014, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 2
View Proinsias's Photo Album My Photos

Looks like the the problem is both A & B. Spent a while with the diamond plate last night and made a little progress but, yeah, it's gonna be a lot of grinding on stone to get a nice clean, straight bevel. I don't have a belt sander to hand and have already ground away enough to remove the existing hollow from the bevel, I'll see if a rougher stones might get things moving.
Proinsias is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 09-10-2014, 06:40 PM
Village Idiot
epicfail48's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Springfield MO
Posts: 4,958
View epicfail48's Photo Album My Photos
It'll take a while to regrind the bevel. I recommend a corse stone and a good movie. Could be worse, you could've nicked a spindle gouge made of hardened HSS. Wanna know how I know what that's like?
epicfail48 is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
1st chisel sharpening with new guide not going well. Sleeper Hand Tools 41 01-14-2014 06:00 PM
Carbide Tipped Chisel Sharpening just4fun Woodturning 6 12-05-2011 11:08 AM
Which stone would be good for chisel sharpening? ferroburak General Woodworking Discussion 5 08-30-2010 06:03 AM
Chisel advice please rocker Hand Tools 5 12-15-2009 09:30 PM
chisel sharpening Angus McLean General Woodworking Discussion 11 09-16-2007 12:26 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome