How to Sharpen Chisels
Perhaps in the past sharpening and maintaining chisels in your kit has been a laborious job. Maybe you've had to send them away to be sharpened, or chosen to go out and buy a completely new chisel to solemnly add to the building pile of blunt blades. Over time this becomes increasingly more expensive, and shockingly time-consuming. All because you aren't sure how to properly sharpen them yourself.
This blog post was written to give you two separate methods that can be used to guarantee a keen edge on your woodworking gear. Both methods can be harnessed while on the job site, or at home working on a personal project.
How to Sharpen Chisels Using a Diamond Sharpening Stone
Whenever you're using a sharpening stone it's essential to apply a few drops of lapping fluid to the surface first. When you use a James Barry diamond sharpening stone (or credit card stone) it carries a 5 year guarantee if you use lapping fluid.
This first method you've most likely already used. Simply hold the chisel to the sharpening stone at the same angle as the bevel, and drag back and forth.
Once you feel you've resharpened the edge of the chisel on the bevel side, you then focus on the flat side. But only to get rid of the wire edge. You only really have to drag towards you once or twice before the wire edge from sharpening is gone.
Polish on some leather using mirror paste, and you're ready to sink your teeth back into work.
This method can be used on the worksite, but trying to consistently create the correct angle for the chisel without a guide can be tiresome. And if you're unable to maintain that bevel side angle, you end up blunting the edge rather than sharpen.
How to Sharpen Chisels Using a Credit Card Stone
Method two tries to eliminate the problems of the previous sharpening technique. Although method one has it's perks when sharpening a brand new chisel, this second method offers an easier execution with consistent results. As before, always use Original Formula Lapping Fluid.
Perhaps a rather unusual stance in tool sharpening is holding the stone in one hand while you sharpen the tool with the other. However, with some sharpening stones, they are just too awkward and heavy to hold in one hand.
This method can be consistently achieved on a busy site, just as well as it can be in replicated your workshop at home.
First, have your credit card stone in hand, and placed at the same angle as the edge of your chisel.
Then gently but consistently move the sharpening stone, not the chisel, in a circular motion, while holding the stone at the same angle. Remove the wire edge, and take the chisel for a test run. Repeat if needed... and don't mock us till you've tried it.
If you've got the right bit of kit for it, the job becomes some really light work. James Barry prides himself on the quality of finish, and long-lasting life of all the sharpening stones he produces. Using methods such as electroplating to ensure longevity. For blade, and tool sharpening there's nothing on the market right now that can compare.
Share this with a mate that struggles when sharpening tools, and let us know in the comments below the worst resharpening experience you've had!