Rare Saws

iMyFone LockWiper

Japanese Saws


Woodworking with P. Michael Henderson


Sharpening Chisels and Some Comments

1 of 3  

I teach hand cut dovetails and the students use my chisels to chop out the waste. So after each class, I have to go through my chisels and sharpen the ones the students used.

Over the years, I've tried different techniques for sharpening and have settled on a technique which I find to be fast and produces an excellent edge.

I use certain equipment in the sharpening process, and while some of it is expensive, it's generally a once in a lifetime purchase.

Note that this is a way to keep your working chisels sharp. If you purchase antique chisels there's almost always a lot of additional work required to flatten the backs. I do not cover any of that - this is just a technique for keeping working chisels sharp.

Before I begin, let me first introduce the chisels because I'm going to make some comments about different brands of chisels as part of the discussion.

The first batch consists of a set of Lie Nielsen (LN) chisels, a set of Lee Valley (LV) chisels, and a set of no-name carbon steel chisels.

These are the ones most people gravitate towards. The LV chisels (PM-V11) retain their edge the longest. The LN A2 are next, and the carbon steel set gives up first.

The next batch is a set of Japanese laminated chisels. I've replaced the handles on this set with handles that are more "western" (no hoops) because I find traditional Japanese chisel handles uncomfortable.

I encourage people to use the Japanese chisels so that they can compare them to the western chisels. They retain their edge very well, almost as well as the LV chisels, and probably as well as the LN chisels.

Most of the time, these are the two rolls of chisels I bring to class, because I've found over time that the edges hold up best on these chisels.

I used to bring the following antique chisels but rarely do so any more.

This roll consists of a complete set of Swan chisels, marked either "Best Cast Steel" or "Best Tool Steel", and a set of Witherby chisels. These chisels tend to be longer than modern chisels and I found that students had problems working with them.

I also found that the edges on these antique chisels did not hold up nearly as well as the modern western chisels, or the Japanese chisels.

The steel tends to be somewhat soft and the edges fail by rolling over, rather than chipping.

1 of 3  

Stanley Chisels



Copyright 2005-2018, wkFineTools.com and Wiktor Kuc.  All Rights Reserved.  Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
No part of the content from this website can be reproduced by any means without specific permission of the publisher.
Valid CSS!