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What is the easiest way to sharpen hand carving gouges, chisels and knives

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I hand carve Welsh Love Spoons and would love an easier way to sharpen all my tools.
asked Sep 11, 2015 in Self Improvement by anonymous
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It's hard to say which method is easiest since it depends a lot on which types of sharpening tools you are most comfortable using. Some people like to use power tools such as belt sanders to sharpen their tools, while other people prefer to sharpen their tools by hand using a diamond or ceramic stone. [1]

 

The diamond or ceramic stone method is probably the most popular, simply because it gives you a lot of control over the tool so that you can sharpen it to a razor sharp point. 

 

Curved tools are the hardest to do using this method, simply for the fact that you not only have to worry about maintaining the angle of the bevel, but you also have to rotate the tool as you move it across the stone so that the entire curved edge gets evenly sharpened. The following video does a fantastic job of showing how to sharpen carved tools on a stone.

 

 

This video by the same woman shows how to sharpen a V chisel, which also can be challenging. You have to find a way to sharpen two sides that are right angles to one another without creating a sharp point where they intersect. She does a beautiful job of demonstrating how to do this in the video:

 

 

Flat chisels are sharpened in a similar manner. The primary difference is that you have to completely flatten and smooth out the back of the chisel so that it has the same level of polish as the bevel. This video shows how:

 

 

Finally, sharpening carving knives is basically the same concept. You use a wet stone with varying grits to gradually hone the edge, finishing with polishing compound to polish the knife to a mirror finish. The video demonstrates the process:

 

 

Hopefully this helps. Unfortunately, there really are no shortcuts when it comes to sharpening your tools. The best thing you can do is regularly maintain them when they start to get dull. That way it won't take long to get them sharp again.

 

References:

1. http://carverscompanion.com/Ezine/HelpFiles/SharpeningMessages.html

answered Sep 12, 2015 by blueskies (57,070 points)

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