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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have some wood chisels that I need to sharpen. I plan on doing the sharpening with various sand paper grits. But the edges have some small nicks and I don't have a grinder. How to remove the nicks without a grinder? I thought about trying to remove them with coarse sandpaper....36, 60, 80?
 

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@jimmieN

What I'll do is, assess the damage first off. Is it a compression ding or just a chipaway nick (clean break). If its a compression ding, gotta do the back to start off. BUT a good 220/340 will make quick work of that little lip...keeping in mind that the better polished the back of the blade/iron is, the better the resulting edge. If the nick is within the micro bevel and does not go very far up into the meat of the blade I'll try some 100/150 to get a feel for just how much work lays ahead. If the 100/150 looks like its going to do a good job in relatively short order, then I just go for it. Eliminate the nick then proceed thru the grits (I use the scary sharp method) quickly. When the nick is a nasty lil bugger, welp, I just go and grab the 80, redo the primary bevel until the nick is gone and proceed from there. I like to keep my micro bevels something like 1/32" give or take a hair or two..
Essentially, IMHO there's no dancing around putting an edge on. Though the method may vary, the process is relatively consistent regardless of the method used. You have got to have a perfectly flat/polished back, a very well executed primary bevel (the primary bevel doesn't have to be polished, but if you got the time and patience, it certainly doesn't hurt), and finally a clean polished micro bevel, if you use one
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@jimmieN

What I'll do is, assess the damage first off. Is it a compression ding or just a chipaway nick (clean break). If its a compression ding, gotta do the back to start off. BUT a good 220/340 will make quick work of that little lip...keeping in mind that the better polished the back of the blade/iron is, the better the resulting edge. If the nick is within the micro bevel and does not go very far up into the meat of the blade I'll try some 100/150 to get a feel for just how much work lays ahead. If the 100/150 looks like its going to do a good job in relatively short order, then I just go for it. Eliminate the nick then proceed thru the grits (I use the scary sharp method) quickly. When the nick is a nasty lil bugger, welp, I just go and grab the 80, redo the primary bevel until the nick is gone and proceed from there. I like to keep my micro bevels something like 1/32" give or take a hair or two..
Essentially, IMHO there's no dancing around putting an edge on. Though the method may vary, the process is relatively consistent regardless of the method used. You have got to have a perfectly flat/polished back, a very well executed primary bevel (the primary bevel doesn't have to be polished, but if you got the time and patience, it certainly doesn't hurt), and finally a clean polished micro bevel, if you use one
Thank You.
No micro bevel on these.
I've got the back and bevel flat and polished. I did a little stropping. The chisel feels sharp to the touch but the nicks are still there. Shall I just keep doing the back and bevel or do the edge head on. I loaned my belt sander....maybe just get it back and grind the nicks out with an 80 grit?
 

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@JIMMIEM

Once you got the back flat/polished, unless you created some kind of burr on the back side, you really never have to mess with it again. Thats always a good thing. Less to do :)

Yep, just go about your business on the primary bevel, get rid of the nicks as quickly as you can...then take your time working your way up thru the grits until you get where you wanna be. One thing some folks tend to do is not giving the hogging away of material its proper due. Even though all your doing it just working your way down to the next point, one must take care to insure that the grind (sanding) is square to the blade/iron. I've come to learn how to read the scratch patterns as I move along. Seems to have saved me an awful lot of unnecessary time with a particular grit. Once you've eliminated all of the scratch marks from the previous grits, time to move onto the next.
 

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https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/247...MIhoWm3c6a1QIVg2x-Ch3WFQjMEAYYBSABEgJ_5vD_BwE

https://www.amazon.ca/Atoplee-Diamo...&qid=1500648470&sr=8-7&keywords=diamond+hones

I really recommend that you get some diamond hones Jim. Much faster than sandpaper and lasts for years. The ones in the second link are way too coarse for final finishing but there are sets like it that had a green hone included and it is 600 grit which will get you close to scary sharp. These are what I have been using for years and my idea of a sharp chisel is being able to shave the hair off the back of my arm. My final step is with a felt wheel loaded up with green honing compound (8000 grit) and I have some 2500 grit carbide paper for honing the bottoms. That step really males a difference in final sharpness. I have a grinder with an 8" felt wheel but I also have a 3" one that chucks in a drill or drill press that works with a little practice. I got it from Lee Valley but I'm not sure if they still carry it.
 

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https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/247...MIhoWm3c6a1QIVg2x-Ch3WFQjMEAYYBSABEgJ_5vD_BwE

https://www.amazon.ca/Atoplee-Diamo...&qid=1500648470&sr=8-7&keywords=diamond+hones

I really recommend that you get some diamond hones Jim. Much faster than sandpaper and lasts for years. The ones in the second link are way too coarse for final finishing but there are sets like it that had a green hone included and it is 600 grit which will get you close to scary sharp. These are what I have been using for years and my idea of a sharp chisel is being able to shave the hair off the back of my arm. My final step is with a felt wheel loaded up with green honing compound (8000 grit) and I have some 2500 grit carbide paper for honing the bottoms. That step really males a difference in final sharpness. I have a grinder with an 8" felt wheel but I also have a 3" one that chucks in a drill or drill press that works with a little practice. I got it from Lee Valley but I'm not sure if they still carry it.
Always wanted to give a GOOD set of diamond stones a go. Premium stones can be a bit pricey though.
Sharpening methods and mediums available to wood working are extraordinary diverse. Powders, waterstones, ceramic stones, diamond stones, sand papers, micro sand papers, lapping compounds, pastes and on and on and on..geesh. It can get confusing. Funny enough though is that every single one of the aforementioned mediums can achieve spectacular results if care is taken. I've tried alot of different mediums and for now at least, have settled with sandpaper and the scary sharp method. I use Norton 3X paper up to 400 grit. From there, I take a leap and go with micro abrasive sandpaper. 40micron down to .3 micron which is somewhere around 15-20,000 grint depending on who's chart your reading. While the 1 and .3 micron paper makes a huge difference in the sub atomic, micro nuclear, holy crap is that sharp scale. Most wood workers wouldn't probably notice the difference if you stopped at 15 microns. :surprise: When working on knarly, extremely hard or highly figured woods, sharper is definitely better. When your hollowing out that mortise, good and sharp is just fine.
One of these days, I'm gonna get a couple nice fine/super fine diamond stones for touch up. There is where I think these stones would shine....

Once a year or so, I'll get a bug up my butt and spend the day "touching up all of my blades and irons". By the end of the day, my left arm has these big bald spots and I got scratches that look like I went toe to toe with a nasty rose bush...:wink:

https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com...cro_Abrasive_Film__for_Scary_Sharpening_-_PSA
 

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I use mostly fine diamond stones these days and retired all my so-so quality steel chisels and blades. Touch up after use, depending on how much I did with the blades or irons. Flatten the back a little further up than some, about half an inch, and polish til I get a mirror on the back. Do it once right and you won't have to flatten it again.

I have a couple of chisels that get very rough use, and I've had to use coarse (80 or 120 grit to get rid of the nicks. If I grind the dings out of the blade, I use an angle guide to line it up correctly. For touchups, I often hand hold the blade on a diamond stone with a light lubricant. I use the arm hair test to check my results.

I have a worksharp 2000 that gets the occasional workout, but I save that for serious grinding work. But sharpening takes practice and patience. And for that, you get the pleasure of using scary sharp tools, which takes a lot of labor out of your tasks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@JIMMIEM

Once you got the back flat/polished, unless you created some kind of burr on the back side, you really never have to mess with it again. Thats always a good thing. Less to do :)

Yep, just go about your business on the primary bevel, get rid of the nicks as quickly as you can...then take your time working your way up thru the grits until you get where you wanna be. One thing some folks tend to do is not giving the hogging away of material its proper due. Even though all your doing it just working your way down to the next point, one must take care to insure that the grind (sanding) is square to the blade/iron. I've come to learn how to read the scratch patterns as I move along. Seems to have saved me an awful lot of unnecessary time with a particular grit. Once you've eliminated all of the scratch marks from the previous grits, time to move onto the next.
I've got all the nicks out except a 'deep' one near one edge. I was able to shave hair off my arm.....shall I quit while I'm ahead?
 

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I've got all the nicks out except a 'deep' one near one edge. I was able to shave hair off my arm.....shall I quit while I'm ahead?
Nope! finish it up and be done with it so it don't come back and bite ya.... down the road, you'll be glad ya did. at least that just my 2 cents worth on it....

sounds like your pretty comfortable with your process,,,just add a lil more patience
 
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I'll add a lil more sumptin-sumptin to this conversation.... long ago, I learned it pays to have 2 sets of chisels...the good ones and the beaters..

The good ones you sweat over, you worry about, you look after em like they were made of gold...These are the ones you put a ton of time and effort into, getting them razor sharp..

then you got the beaters...these ones are for close enough work, don't gotta be pretty work. I picked up a set of Craftsman years ago, and I gotta say, you couldn't ask for a better set of beater chisels....
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Nope! finish it up and be done with it so it don't come back and bite ya.... down the road, you'll be glad ya did. at least that just my 2 cents worth on it....

sounds like your pretty comfortable with your process,,,just add a lil more patience
OK..I'll keep at 'em. I saw your next post and my one and only set of chisels are Craftsman from many years ago. I had a beater that disappeared.....maybe I'll get a set of HF cheapos....25% discount coupon this weekend.
 

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OK..I'll keep at 'em. I saw your next post and my one and only set of chisels are Craftsman from many years ago. I had a beater that disappeared.....maybe I'll get a set of HF cheapos....25% discount coupon this weekend.

Jim...

I was hoping you'd say that :)

those craftsman I have got the black handles with the tang that goes straight thru. Didn't mean to imply they were garbage chisels, in fact they arn't to bad at all. I've been hammering and beating on em for over 20 years I'd guess and they still have alot of life left in em. I'm not familiar with what HF may have, but I'd put those Craftsman up against em any day... I've got a 2" Stanley relatively new model with the yellow/black handle..those arn't bad chisels either..
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Jim...

I was hoping you'd say that :)

those craftsman I have got the black handles with the tang that goes straight thru. Didn't mean to imply they were garbage chisels, in fact they arn't to bad at all. I've been hammering and beating on em for over 20 years I'd guess and they still have alot of life left in em. I'm not familiar with what HF may have, but I'd put those Craftsman up against em any day... I've got a 2" Stanley relatively new model with the yellow/black handle..those arn't bad chisels either..
You have inspired me. Thank You. I've heard people talk about shaving with a sharp chisel and now I've seen it for myself ...the bald spot on my arm is proof. I was in a local ACE hardware store yesterday buying some supplies for the job and when I told the worker bee what I was doing and that you could shave with a sharp chisel I got a 'Yeh, right' look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Jim...

I was hoping you'd say that :)

those craftsman I have got the black handles with the tang that goes straight thru. Didn't mean to imply they were garbage chisels, in fact they arn't to bad at all. I've been hammering and beating on em for over 20 years I'd guess and they still have alot of life left in em. I'm not familiar with what HF may have, but I'd put those Craftsman up against em any day... I've got a 2" Stanley relatively new model with the yellow/black handle..those arn't bad chisels either..
I did the back and then the bevel on a grit and then proceeded to the next grit and did the back and bevel there, etc, or do you recommend doing the back on all grits and then the bevels on all grits?
 

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You have inspired me. Thank You. I've heard people talk about shaving with a sharp chisel and now I've seen it for myself ...the bald spot on my arm is proof. I was in a local ACE hardware store yesterday buying some supplies for the job and when I told the worker bee what I was doing and that you could shave with a sharp chisel I got a 'Yeh, right' look.
its pretty cool just how sharp you can make something, given he right method and process....When it comes to sharpening, most short cuts arn't all that short in the end.

remember, the life spam on the edge you put on depends on several factors, not the least of which is the steel you're starting off with. A good grade steel will give you an edge that will last a long time under normal circumstances. You can get cheap steel sharp, but the edge wont' last nearly as long and it'll be prone to nicks and the like.... for folks that don't know this can become very frustrating, very fast..

Keep this in mind, a razor sharp chisel is VERY UNFORGIVING!
 

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I did the back and then the bevel on a grit and then proceeded to the next grit and did the back and bevel there, etc, or do you recommend doing the back on all grits and then the bevels on all grits?
You need to get the back done first...use whatever grits necessary to get to where you want to go. Once you've established a smooth dead flat back you're half way there to the edge. Keep in mind, an edge is merely the intersection of two surfaces. The lower the angles and the smoother the surfaces the sharper the edge. A very low angle edge can provide you with an EXTREMELY sharp edge, but the life span of the edge will be short lived. Ya need a little meat behind that point. The thinking behind polished surfaces gets down to the microscopic level. The naked eye can't see just how jagged an edge can be, even though it may appear nice and polished. This is where the extra effort comes in...Sometimes ya just gotta take it on faith. Being able to take the hair off your arm is one thing, paring end grain is another altogether.

Don't skip many grits as you move along, if any. When your done with say 80 grit, take a close look at the surface you just sanded down. Pay attention to the scratches. Particularly there depth/size. Move onto the next grit. You are done with that grit with all of the scratches from the previous grit and gone and your left with a whole new set of scratches and depths... and so on and so on... You end up making alot more work for yourself is you skip too many grits inbetween.

Ask anyone who's spent some time with an axe in hand. The difference between a sharp "looking" axe and one that is "actually" sharp is like night and day

https://www.google.com/search?q=woo...unrpvVAhVFFT4KHZg7ASkQsAQIIQ&biw=1600&bih=734
 

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I think it safe to say, regardless of the method used, once you become proficient at it and start achieving expected results, its surprising how quickly you can put an edge on...
 
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