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I have the same trouble. Even though I have "regular" chisels, I mostly reach for a butt chisel when working. I have bought several honing guides over the years, including the Veritas, but none work well (if at all) for butt chisels. I bought a Worksharp 300 and feel that it does a good job on the initial sharpening, but I like to go much finer in grit than what's normally available.

I'd like to recommend this guide https://www.garrettwade.com/kell-british-made-deluxe-honing-guides-gp.html?SCID=W6071001&mkwid=[distribution]xvIo0Mho&crid=[creative_id]&mp_kw=[keyword_text]&mp_mt=e&pdv=c&&gclid=EAIaIQobChMImqvF0cSC2gIVGODICh3aZQRYEAAYAiAAEgLcvPD_BwE A beautifully made piece of equipment and works on all of my butt chisels - used with a piece of plate glass and wet/dry paper up to 2000 grit, it gives a super sharp edge to my chisels.

Here's a video by the maker, demonstrating the product.

 

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they will call you back...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have the same trouble. Even though I have "regular" chisels, I mostly reach for a butt chisel when working. I have bought several honing guides over the years, including the Veritas, but none work well (if at all) for butt chisels. I bought a Worksharp 300 and feel that it does a good job on the initial sharpening, but I like to go much finer in grit than what's normally available.

I'd like to recommend this guide https://www.garrettwade.com/kell-british-made-deluxe-honing-guides-gp.html?SCID=W6071001&mkwid=[distribution]xvIo0Mho&crid=[creative_id]&mp_kw=[keyword_text]&mp_mt=e&pdv=c&&gclid=EAIaIQobChMImqvF0cSC2gIVGODICh3aZQRYEAAYAiAAEgLcvPD_BwE A beautifully made piece of equipment and works on all of my butt chisels - used with a piece of plate glass and wet/dry paper up to 2000 grit, it gives a super sharp edge to my chisels.

Here's a video by the maker, demonstrating the product.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBz2hAhfhDQ
Thanks Tom. I appreciate the information.
 

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Make your own jig out of wood. Cut the bottom piece with a face of 25* and a strip that bolts to it to hold the chisel. You don’t have to go back and forth with it, you can go side to side instead so that you aren’t dragging the jig over the sandpaper or stone. Lay a strip of HPL down and it will slide on it very nicely. Derek Willis posted a home made planer blade sharpening jig like that many moons ago.
 

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Make your own jig out of wood. Cut the bottom piece with a face of 25* and a strip that bolts to it to hold the chisel. You don’t have to go back and forth with it, you can go side to side instead so that you aren’t dragging the jig over the sandpaper or stone. Lay a strip of HPL down and it will slide on it very nicely. Derek Willis posted a home made planer blade sharpening jig like that many moons ago.
That's got my vote, make your own. I know if I wanted one I would just make one; definitely for plane blade sharpening. But, don't need one, so no issue. Actually, I sharpen my lathe tools (when I had a lathe) and chisels on my small HF belt sander, been doing it for a lot of years. First started doing it after I read an article on one of the top custom furniture makers, and that is the way he sharpened his chisels. Figured if it's good enough for a guy who sells custom furniture for thousands of $, good enough for me. The article didn't say why he did it that way, except it was fast. My theory is that each time you use a chisel, it is at a slightly different angle from the cut before, and from the next cut - so it doesn't matter if the angle is not 100%, just so long as it is close enough. And that seems to be true. I do try to keep the same angle when I sharpen, but I don't really think it is a major deal. Different manufacturers, different angles, not a huge amount, but different. A plane blade tho, I would not sharpen without a jig, there the angle of the cut is always the same, so I believe it should be kept the same. Works for me.

Oh yeah, students would come in to that custom builder's shop and ask where he got the short chisels, because they were so nice to work with. He made them. He bought his chisels at his local hardware store, and by constantly sharpening them (he also used them as screwdrivers, prying the lid off of paint cans, etc., so they pretty much needed sharpening each time he used one), he shortened them, and eventually had to buy new chisels, because the old ones were too short. Really wish I could find that article again.
 
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Professional carvers use a small, upright, belt sander on their flat compact chisels and then hone on a cloth wheel with the green compound. That type of cloth wheel should be soaked in kerosene before mounting on a grinder (spin off the excess kerosene outside before use). I was taught to do it that way by the carver @ Dollywood and Gene Webb, master carver in Townsend TN (who has written many books on the subject). Works just as well for butt chisels. (Sorry but the shaped carving chisels have to be sharpened, by hand, on sharpening blocks made for that purpose but the honing is the same.)

As with all new flat chisels flatten the back of the blade first or you will never get a honed edge. I use a piece of glass pane & peel and stick sandpaper for that. Supplies can be bought from Nager Knob in Townsend.

The method works for carving chisels, turning chisels and woodworking chisels. The main ingredient in sharpening is patience.
 

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The method works for carving chisels, turning chisels and woodworking chisels. The main ingredient in sharpening is patience.
If anyone believes there is some secret to sharpening, that and practice are the secrets.
 

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I have the right equipment to sharpen my tools and practice all the time. I have limited success on most tools. Sharpening a pocket knife blade is Voodoo science to me. Had a friend who can put a razor edge on a knife show me one day. I took a sharp knife, followed his lead and dulled the darn thing. Why I can sharpen my tools and not a knife is a mystery I can not solve !
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have the right equipment to sharpen my tools and practice all the time. I have limited success on most tools. Sharpening a pocket knife blade is Voodoo science to me. Had a friend who can put a razor edge on a knife show me one day. I took a sharp knife, followed his lead and dulled the darn thing. Why I can sharpen my tools and not a knife is a mystery I can not solve !
Gary please let me help you. I have read that 20* is the best angle to sharpen a pocket knife. Here is what I do. I put the knifes cutting edge down on your stone at 90* to the stones surface, then lay it down (R or L) to 45* and lastly lay it to 22.5*. There you have it, you can sharpen your knife till it's razor sharp. I don't worry whether it's at 22.5*, or 20*, or whatever just get it close. Practice and see if this doesn't help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have the same trouble. Even though I have "regular" chisels, I mostly reach for a butt chisel when working. I have bought several honing guides over the years, including the Veritas, but none work well (if at all) for butt chisels. I bought a Worksharp 300 and feel that it does a good job on the initial sharpening, but I like to go much finer in grit than what's normally available.

I'd like to recommend this guide https://www.garrettwade.com/kell-british-made-deluxe-honing-guides-gp.html?SCID=W6071001&mkwid=[distribution]xvIo0Mho&crid=[creative_id]&mp_kw=[keyword_text]&mp_mt=e&pdv=c&&gclid=EAIaIQobChMImqvF0cSC2gIVGODICh3aZQRYEAAYAiAAEgLcvPD_BwE A beautifully made piece of equipment and works on all of my butt chisels - used with a piece of plate glass and wet/dry paper up to 2000 grit, it gives a super sharp edge to my chisels.

Here's a video by the maker, demonstrating the product.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBz2hAhfhDQ

Tom, I ordered the small Kell chisel jig and it should be here tomorrow. I called them and if it doesn't work just send it back. I really appreciate the tip.
 

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