Monday, January 2, 2012

Sharpening Adjustments

First let me say THANKS! to those who provided comments and suggestions. It was all helpful and greatly appreciated.

Well the old saying, "If at first you don't succeed try try again!" must be true. After many hours of practice I think I am beginning to get the hang of the honing jig.

3/4" Before Reworking
1" Reworked, 3/4", 1/4", Honing Jig & Shopmade Angle Jig

Evidently my problem was all the result of uneven pressure on the blade as I ran the chisel across the sand paper. If pressure is not applied evenly the jig tends to wander in the direction of the higher applied pressure, thereby removing removing more material and creating a skew across the sharpened edge. In my case, after squaring the end of the chisel and creating flats,when I started using the honing jig with uneven pressure I effectively started playing a game of chase. While the side receiving excess pressure ground towards a sharpened edge the other side maintained a flat.

Flat/Polished Back
Bevel Honed/Polished - Clear cuts the hair on my arm like Butter!

Being new to sharpening, I'm not sure if my solution is the best or even correct, but it's working for me until some better technique comes along. In order to apply pressure evenly I saw two (2) options. The obvious one was to concentrate more on each stroke to more evenly apply pressure. While this option sounds simple enough it slowed me down to a snail’s pace and honestly I found it difficult to keep my focus on every pass. When I did focus the results were OK, but the speed was unacceptable. I want to be a woodworker not a chisel sharpener. The second approach, where I've found success is alternating stroke. Instead of trying to maintain a straight line on each pass I actually push to the left approximately 20 passes and then to the right approximately 20 passes. I had seen this being done in some videos in the past, so I take no credit, but until you start practicing the process neurons don't quite make it all the way across the synapses.

Until my next post,

Keep Your Mind on your Fingers and your Fingers on your Hands!!!


  1. Great line: "I want to be a woodworker not a chisel sharpener".

    You would be surprised how "adequately" edges are sharpened to keep your shop production moving. You only have so much time to build pieces.


  2. Glad to hear you've found the solution. Just be careful doing the 20-left, 2-right way you describe. If you apply too much pressure with this method, you'll end up with a spear point or at best, a cambered blade. If you want quick, using the jig, make sure you add a microbevel, so you don't have to rehone the whole bevel everytime you want to touch up the edge, you'll just do the little bit of metal on the microbevel. Alternately, try hollow grinding. (again, less metal to hone)and free hand as I described in your last post. The extra time you save not messing with the guides is why I ditched them, allowing more woodwork, less metal work. Happy sharpening!