Sharpening first chisel - Page 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #21 of 30 Old 08-29-2018, 11:25 AM
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For me, the single most important lesson I learned about sharpening chisels is the need to set the bevel angle in a reliable, consistent, repeatable way. If you cannot do that, the rest is moot. Clearly @lucid77 did not match the original bevel when he/she started grinding the new bevel angle onto the face of the chisel.

I had one of those commonplace, inexpensive honing guides with the small brass wheel and the large side screw that clamps the honing guide to the chisel. (I gave it away and replaced it with the Veritas set, see below.)

I made a jig out of scrap hard maple to set the honing angle, by setting the distance between the honing guide and the tip of the chisel. It didn't work reliably. The sharp chisel point would cut into the wood and not stop at a consistent place on the jig (yes, hard maple!). I set the honing guide using a combination square, but it was not ideal. The real solution is to make new bevels with the clamped chisel in one step, not releasing the clamp until the new bevel was completely ground into the face of the chisel. (For resharpening, I used the flat plate "matching" technique that I describe below.)

I think lucid77 should make a new bevel on the chisel. I would get a good extra course or extra extra course diamond stone, set the honing guide distance for a 25 degree bevel, and expect to spend a lot of time grinding that new bevel. First, make sure that the back of the chisel is flat. After that, set the honing guide, and make sure that it is tight and secure around the chisel and will not shift during the process. Keep the honing guide wheel flat on the stone and do not allow it to rock. Keep the diamond stone damp with water, and rinse it off frequently. You will see the new bevel edge work its way up the face of the chisel. For a 1/2 inch chisel, it can take 45 minutes to an hour. For a 3/4 inch chisel, it can take well over an hour. The wider the chisel, the more surface area on its face that you will have to remove. Be patient.

Once you have ground a good new bevel on your chisel, you don't want to lose it by adding lots of accidental micro-bevels, so the trick is to match the current bevel perfectly when you resharpen the chisel. Once you have ground the bevel on your chisel, which is something you won't want to do again, you will need to sharpen and resharpen it. Go through a set of increasingly finer grits of diamond stone or sandpaper until you achieve the sharpness you desire. For a final finish you can use Japanese water stones and/or leather stropping.

Flat Plate "Matching" Technique:
My trick for setting chisels for resharpening with the cheap traditional honing guide is to place the face of the chisel flat on a piece of glass or granite. Tighten the honing guide on the chisel, and then bring the wheel to the edge of the glass. With the chisel face flat on the glass, the wheel should barely touch ... "kiss" ... the surface of the glass as it reaches the edge of the glass. Adjust the honing guide if the wheel is above the surface or touches below the surface at the edge, until it is perfect. Tighten the honing guide so that it cannot come loose during sharpening, then recheck the setting. Is the bevel face perfectly flat on the glass? Does the wheel just kiss the glass? Is the chisel perfectly flat in the honing guide? Is the wheel perfectly perpendicular to the chisel blade?

Terry Q is right about the Veritas Mk. II Deluxe Honing Guide Set. I bought one and never looked back. I gave my traditional honing guide to a friend who asked if they could have it. The Veritas honing guide set is expensive, but oh so worth it if you are going to stay with flat stone (or sandpaper) grinding. The small metal "angle registration jig" enables repeatable placement of the nice, wide honing guide for any desired angle, including 25 degrees.

A shortcut would be to use a low speed grinding wheel, which has its own issues, including setting the bevel angle in an accurate, repeatable manner. I would not even consider trying a regular high speed grinder, which can so easily ruin the steel in my chisels. I have a Grizzly T10010ANV 10 inch wet grinder, which I use to sharpen round gouges, but still prefer to use flat stones for my chisels.

It takes patience to set a new bevel on a chisel, but it is a job that should only have to be done once, as long as you can set up your honing guide in a consistent, repeatable way.

If you have trouble setting up your honing guide consistently, then there is nothing wrong with using micro bevels. They cut equally well, and don't require such precision and patience. The problem with micro bevels is that eventually you will need to regrind a new bevel face on the chisel every once in a long while. It is a task I would prefer to avoid.

I hope this helps.
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post #22 of 30 Old 08-29-2018, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by lucid77 View Post
Ok. I so followed as much advice as possible between people in forums and the local expert types at woodcraft/rockler stores..

However, this bevel seems weird to me. It cuts pretty good and seems Way Way sharper.

Any idea what I did wrong, and how to fix?




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Grind to 25 degrees (flat grind on rough diamond stone or hollow grind on grinder. Polish the back side to a mirror using progressive grit stones up to 8,000 gt. Put a secondary bevel at 28 to 30 degrees on the tip of the ground bevel. The secondary bevel should be as polished as the back side. Usually hone to about 8,000 grit. Going to much of a finer grit stone begins to be overkill, as any sharpened edge naturally becomes less sharp with each entrance into wood). An edge hones with an expensive 30,000 gt stone will be no sharper than an edge ground to 8,000 gt. after a couple of shavings so why waste money and time. As you work, periodically strop the edge with a leather strop charged with honing compound. The edge will stay sharp and need only an occasional return to the stone for sharpening depending on the type of work you are doing and the hardness of the lumber you are using. Invest in a honing jig to ensure your bevel degree angles are perfect. After a period of time you will automatically learn the muscle eye memory to sharpen and hone without a jig even though many very experienced workers use the jig all the time.
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post #23 of 30 Old 08-29-2018, 09:16 PM
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I think a lot of the confusion here is from the terminology. Youve got people throwing around sharpening, reshaping an edge, grinding, honing and everything else like theyre different terms. Thing is, they arent. They all mean the same thing. Sharpening is self-explanatory, honing means "sharpening a blade, grinding removal of material by abrasive action, which is how you sharpen things, and reshaping an edge is a fancy way of saying making a blunt edge point, i.e sharpening. Lot of hoopla bout nothing, you can safely ignore it. Its all sharpening.

One thing to note about that though, some people will claim that sharpening is what you do when you start on a really coarse grit to give a completely new edge to a tool, and honing is what you call taking an already sharp tool and polishing the edge. To that i reply, making a sharp tool sharper is still sharpening. Dont make things confusing cause you like fancy terminology!
The reason I use that terminology is to explain which step is which in the sharpening process. When grinding the shape, that is not sharp but a process to get the blade sharp. Therefore I say grind or remove the metal like you wish, grinding happens to work for me.

When you hammer a blank you hammer the edge in a taper which is a step in sharpening that knife because that is but one process to get that edge to the point of being sharp, but it isn't sharp at that point, it is a step in shaping to sharpening . Well you get the point, I like to simplify an explanation, not generalize. That is the way I do it, you do it the way you want to do it. Does that make either of us wrong?

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post #24 of 30 Old 08-30-2018, 03:40 AM
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The reason I use that terminology is to explain which step is which in the sharpening process. When grinding the shape, that is not sharp but a process to get the blade sharp. Therefore I say grind or remove the metal like you wish, grinding happens to work for me.

When you hammer a blank you hammer the edge in a taper which is a step in sharpening that knife because that is but one process to get that edge to the point of being sharp, but it isn't sharp at that point, it is a step in shaping to sharpening . Well you get the point, I like to simplify an explanation, not generalize. That is the way I do it, you do it the way you want to do it. Does that make either of us wrong?
Sorry Jim, my little rant wasnt anything against anybody. Sharpening is one of those things that ive noticed everybody tends to dress up which leads to a lot of confusion from people who are just learning and trying to sift through everything to get started. What i was trying to point out is all the different terminology that gets thrown around can be safely discarded in favor of breaking an explanation down to its base steps. Sharpening a chisel is as simple as rubbing it at the correct angle on an abrasive in steps from coarse to fine. Throwing in a bunch of terms that all end up meaning the same thing just leads to someone getting confused, like thinking that to set a new angle you HAVE to have a bench grinder when a coarse stone will do the exact same thing, or that sharpening and honing are different processes when in reality most people use "honing" to describe sharpening on a higher grit or the final step of sharpening. Its all pomp and circumstance that just adds confusions

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Last edited by epicfail48; 08-30-2018 at 03:42 AM. Reason: Called use by wrong name
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post #25 of 30 Old 08-30-2018, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid77 View Post
Ok. I so followed as much advice as possible between people in forums and the local expert types at woodcraft/rockler stores..

However, this bevel seems weird to me. It cuts pretty good and seems Way Way sharper.

Any idea what I did wrong, and how to fix?

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If it cuts better, and you're getting the results you want, you didn't do anything wrong. It could certainly be better, but if it works it's right enough.


I'm going to pause here to mention that I'm kind of a heretic when it comes to sharpening, so I'll likely get a lot of people disagreeing with me. I'm OK with that. There's no One Right Way, as far as I'm concerned. Just use what works for you.


Now, back to the commentary. It does look like your edge is slightly curved. That's pretty common when you start sharpening, especially if you're not using a guide. If it cuts well enough for your purposes, just use it until it needs to be sharpened again, and try to make it square then. If it's not doing what you want, then you should definitely re-shape it.

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with the angle you've sharpened to. It likely will require more effort to cut, but hold the edge a little longer. It's a trade-off. Generally speaking a lower angle will cut more easily, but also need to be sharpened more often, and a high angle will require a little more force but hold its edge longer. What you have will work better in some woods than others, like every angle.

While I recommend trying a sharpening guide, I also recommend trying again without. Go watch a video of Paul Sellers demonstrating his method, and see what you think. For me, I'm getting better results without a guide. Maybe that's the guide I was using, maybe I'm just weird. But it certainly makes it quick to touch up my edges, since I don't have to dig out the guide!
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post #26 of 30 Old 08-30-2018, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
Sorry Jim, my little rant wasnt anything against anybody. Sharpening is one of those things that ive noticed everybody tends to dress up which leads to a lot of confusion from people who are just learning and trying to sift through everything to get started. What i was trying to point out is all the different terminology that gets thrown around can be safely discarded in favor of breaking an explanation down to its base steps. Sharpening a chisel is as simple as rubbing it at the correct angle on an abrasive in steps from coarse to fine. Throwing in a bunch of terms that all end up meaning the same thing just leads to someone getting confused, like thinking that to set a new angle you HAVE to have a bench grinder when a coarse stone will do the exact same thing, or that sharpening and honing are different processes when in reality most people use "honing" to describe sharpening on a higher grit or the final step of sharpening. Its all pomp and circumstance that just adds confusions
I really didn't think it was against anyone. I am terrible to over instruct because I am not good at instructions. I have had a lot of men work for me in the past who couldn't even read a rule, I guess that has tempered me to over instruct.

Back to sharpening a chisel.

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post #27 of 30 Old 08-30-2018, 12:47 PM
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Autumn. The water is dropping fast and it's freezing up top with some fresh snow. Winter is tuning up.

You come up to my place and we will scout the belly of the McKale river for suitable sharpening stones to do crooked knives.
Many minerals and many granularities. Maybe we crack a few and make a few flats or get lucky and find some.

Iron junk has been coming across from Asia on the Japan Current for 2-3,000 years to our west coast.
Sharpening with a piece of rock is the way to go.
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post #28 of 30 Old 08-30-2018, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by amckenzie4 View Post
If it cuts better, and you're getting the results you want, you didn't do anything wrong. It could certainly be better, but if it works it's right enough.


snip
My thoughts exactly, I have on numerous occasions just swiped a chisel across my fine grind stone and gone back to work hacking away.

I do have a set of chisels that are hidden for when I need a precision tool, they are carefully sharpened as are all my plane blades.

Your chisel is a perfect candidate for a rainy day when you can start over taking your time honing it to perfection.

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post #29 of 30 Old 11-11-2018, 07:42 AM
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Several years ago, Darren Nelson uploaded copy of his sharpening chart.
While browsing my computer, I found a copy and extracted the info on chisel angles etc.
Regret cannot seem to drag the pic here. Will see if I can get it into photobox or similar, then post the IMG link.
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post #30 of 30 Old 11-12-2018, 07:27 PM
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Epicfail48 has the best suggestion in my opinion. I've been using the scary sharp sandpaper method for years and years, and I continue to swear by it. I use a granite slab that I already had instead of glass, but any very flat surface will work. I would however suggest that you hold the sandpaper down with tape instead of water or adhesive if you use your cast iron table saw table!

The method really is pretty much foolproof. No stones will have to be trued or trashed (or stored or broken). And you won't need oils.

By all means, before you start, get a jig for the tool. If you want to become a professional sharpener, learn to do it freehand. If you want to use the blasted chisel, get a guide and some sandpaper and move on.

Another $000,000,000.02 worth of advice,
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