How to Sharpen a Chisel the Easy Way

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This is How to Sharpen a Chisel the Easy Way. Today, I’ll show you how to sharpen your chisels in the least painful way possible. I’ll also cover the different sharpening options, and make it really easy for you. Enjoy.

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How to Sharpen Your Chisels

How-to-Sharpen-a-Chisel-the-Easy-WayWell, you should really congratulate yourself if you’re already at the point where you understand that it’s important to use sharp tools. It takes some woodworkers a long time to get to this stage, so be proud of yourself.

Sharpening is a very important skill, and like any skill it can take some time to build. You can do some things to cut down on that time though, and those include getting the right equipment, and taking some time to learn it.

The difference between using sharp tools and dull tools is night and day though. The simple fact that you’ve acknowledged that you need to sharpen your tools is awesome, so stick with me and I’ll show you how to do it the easy way.

See Also: 19 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Woodworking

Powered Options for Sharpening

If you want to get into sharpening with the least amount of practice burden possible, then go with a powered sharpening system. These are much faster to learn and understand, which means you’ll be sharpening like a pro very quickly.

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The drawback of a system like this is that you have to spend a lot more money up front than if you were to use hand sharpening methods. However, if you know you’re not the type to commit to learning a new skill like that, then go with the power version.

Thanks to the different offerings that are on the market today, even a complete novice can sharpen their chisels into light sabers with only a little bit of practice. It’s amazing to work with a sharp tool, and you’ll be able to create that edge any time you want.

You are going to pay for it, but that’s the trade-off. You can spend a lot of time working on your technique and learning how to sharpen by hand if you want. Many people do it this way, and they are successful.

However, if you want results almost immediately, fork over the money and get a power sharpening system and you will be very happy you did.

See Also: How to Choose a Sharpening System You Will Actually Use

Hand Sharpening Options

An alternative to power sharpening his hand sharpening. This system is as old as sharpening itself, and it’s a process by which you use natural and man-made stones to sharpen the edge of your tools.

Sharpening stones have come quite a long way, and there are companies that make amazing examples that help you sharpen really well. These are lab created stones that have a very consistent grit level.

When you use one of these, they’re about as close to science as a rock can actually get. The cutting power is amazing, and they really do take a lot of the chore out of sharpening your chisels by hand.

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If you are going to go this route, and you’re not going to use power for whatever reason you decided not to, invest in a good set of stones. Pick up the accessories like dressing blocks, and make sure you have everything you need when you start.

Sharpening by hand is not a very fast process, but you can make it more of an enjoyable process by having the right equipment in place.

See Also: Sharp Tools and My Odd Discovery

Jigs to Help the Process

Especially when you’re shopping by hand, it’s really beneficial to have a jig that helps you with your alignment on your chisel. These are not expensive at all, and they can make the process a whole lot easier.

It’s difficult to hold a chisel with the bevel perfectly flat against your stone the entire time you are sharpening. When you use a jig or a guide, it locks the chisel in place and it becomes much easier to hold the tool in the right position.

This makes the process go much smoother, and you greatly reduce the risk of tipping the chisel and accidentally blunting the edge. When you do this, it can take many more strokes that are perfect in order to get you back to where you were before you made a mistake.

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If you are sharpening with power, the jigs and fixtures that you can buy additionally for the unit you are using are very helpful. Each one is designed for a specific tool, and it does the best job of helping you sharpen that particular tool.

See Also: How to be a Modern Renaissance Woodworker

Be Patient and Work Carefully

Above all, as you sharpen your chisels, be patient, and work carefully. Of all the information that you gathered so far, this is one of the most important, and if not the most important take away in the entire post.

Especially in the beginning, putting an edge on your tools is going to require a little bit of learning and practice. That’s OK. It’s normal for any new skill to require a little bit of practice in the beginning.

As you put in the time, and you have patience, you’ll notice that you get better at the process, and the process becomes easy. Over time, you’ll develop your own way of sharpening that is both easy and successful.

See Also: A Beginners Guide to Woodworking

Don’t Stop Until It’s Perfect

One little tip that I can give you in the beginning to help you get the most out of sharpening a chisel is to not stop until it’s perfect. If you do this one thing, coupled with having the patience to see it through, something amazing will happen.

If you’ve never worked with an extremely sharp chisel before, and the amazing thing that will happen is it will change the way you feel about edged tools. A well sharpened tool is an absolute pleasure to work with, and unless you stick with it, you’ll never experience the joy.

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If you only sharpen your chisels to the good enough range, you’ll never really know what it feels like to use a tool that can shave your arm hair. It’s one of the true pleasures in woodworking, and it’s what makes all of the effort and sharpening worth the time.

See Also: The Last 10% Principle for Woodworking

Chisel Sharpening Tips and Tricks

Here are a few more quick tips and tricks that can help you when it comes time to sharpen your chisels and the rest of your tools.

  • Have faith in the process, and have the persistence to make it all the way to the end.
  • Don’t buy a second rate sharpening system. If you’re going to spend the money, get something with a good track record.
  • The first time you use your new sharpening method, don’t do it in the middle of a project. Set aside time to learn the system, and you will be happy you did.
  • Sharpening is part of woodworking. It’s a necessary skill, and if you don’t sharpen your tools they will eventually become dull and dangerous.
  • It doesn’t matter how other people sharpen their tools. As long as you get a really sharp edge, then you are doing it right.
  • Buy the system that you know you will use. If you have no plans on doing it a certain way, and then buy something different that you will actually use.

See Also: 9 Detailed Tips for Building a Work Table in Your Shop

Your Action Assignment

Now that you know all these tips about sharpening chisels, it’s time to get out into the shop and take action. If you have absolutely no sharpening system at all, then it’s time to go on Amazon and take action.

Do a little research first, but once you know what you need to buy, go ahead and buy it and get it into the shop. Then, set up a day where all of your energy is focused on learning how to use the system.

Have fun with it. Get to know how it works, and watch some YouTube videos of other people using it for guidance. Get the skills you need under your belt, and when it comes time to do a project, you will be ready.

If you have any questions about how to sharpen a chisel, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer it. Happy building.

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  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
  • 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
  • Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
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I receive Commissions for Purchases Made Through the Links in This Post. Join My Woodworking Facebook Group


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