In this video Frank goes into more depth on chisel sharpening, showing how to repair a damaged chisel as well as going over how to prepare a brand new chisel. Most chisels are sold as being sharp and ready to use right out of the box, but Frank shows you how much better your chisels can be if you follow his instructions for initial tuning and setup.


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In this video Frank goes into more depth on chisel sharpening, showing how to repair a damaged chisel as well as going over how to prepare a brand new chisel. Most chisels are sold as being sharp and ready to use right out of the box, but Frank shows you how much better your chisels can be if you follow his instructions for initial tuning and setup.

Douglas J. Carrollton, TX
Frank you very briefly hit upon something that I think might be worth a few minutes of discussion, and that is: not all steels are the same hardness. I have had customers come in the store with a chisel they have become frustrated with because they cannot get the back flat and the bevel consistent. Generally, they don't get their edge as fast as they think they should so they get overly aggressive and usually end up with a bigger mess on their hands than they needed to. Thanks!
June 20, 2014 21:08
Frank S. Waco, TX
Hi Douglas, I think we are dealing with a few different questions here. I do think the hardness of the steel is a factor, but mostly with the longevity of the edge. You really should be able to get any chisel sharp. However, the hardness of the steel will definitely affect how quickly you can get the back flat and the edge sharp. But the edge retention will be much less on a chisel with softer steel. In regards to being overly aggressive; I think the primary problem with flattening the back is that folks tend to lift up the chisel while trying to flatten the back, thus rounding the back and as you said, creating a mess on their hands. If you run into this problem it would be nice if you could post a picture or a description of the specific chisel and I might be able to identify the problem more in depth. I hope this helps. Please post any more thougths or questions on this if you would like.
June 23, 2014 10:59
Eric W. Lake Jackson, TX
Hey Frank, just a question on the diamond stones.... Where did you buy them and as a beginner I bought water stones from Lie Nielsen and have not used them yet. Just wondering if I need to return them and buy their diamond stones so I do not need to flatten them every time. Also the video is great... only one comment the focus is going in and out and the blowing plastic on the window is a distraction. Hope that helps.
June 27, 2014 05:47
Mark B. Rockwall, TX
Frank. Excellent video! I will enjoy sharpening more now that I've seen it. Well... I won't hate it as much. Now I know where to go and what I'm looking for. Could we get more close ups? I'd like to see the scratch patterns better.
June 30, 2014 19:36
Kenneth W. Waco, TX
Eric and Mark, thanks for the comments. We've got some great close-up video footage of the scratch pattern and tool edges that we'll be updating the videos with soon! I'm not sure where the focus problem is but I'll check it. It's possible that a slow internet connection could be intermittently degrading the resolution and then coming back into high resolution. I'll check it again though. Glad you're learning something! More coming soon....
July 1, 2014 11:24
Frank S. Waco, TX
Hi Eric,

Thank you for the comments. I am sorry for the blowing plastic--that is a film that we put on the windows to filter the bright light. It was windy that day! We have since fixed that, and you won't see any more blowing plastic in any future videos!

In regard to the question about choosing your stones, I would recommend you watch the video on choosing your stones, where I talk about the difference between the diamond and the water stones. So far as manufacturers of diamond stones, I recommend two brands. We sell the stones by E-Z lap. They come in three grits: 250, 600 and 1200. The sizes are: 3" x 8". Dia-Sharp by DMT make an excellent stone. In fact they are thicker than the E-Z lap stones and they come in different grits as well. If you go with that brand I would get the 320, 600 and 1200 grit stones. Both brands can be found online or you can get the DMTs from Woodcraft stores or from Traditional Woodworker. You could order the E-Z lap from us. I hope this helps!
July 1, 2014 12:37
Nathan N. Houston, TX
Frank, excellent videos! It is like being back in the class. I own a marking knife made by you guys, and I am not really sure how sharpen the blade. Could you comment on how to sharpen the double bevel marking knife?
September 5, 2014 14:31
Frank S. Waco, TX
Thanks for the question. I really should post a short video on how to sharpen the knife. The idea is exactly the same as the chisel, except that you sharpening both bevels on the knife. I usually hold the knife at about 10 to 15 degrees on each bevel, just try to match the bevel that's there. Work it in evenly trying not to put too much pressure towards the tip, you don't want to round the tip, but you do want it sharp. You should be able to get a burr, just like the chisel. Of course the burr is just your indicator, then you will want to remove the burr with the finer grit stones. Let me know if this works, if not I will post a video on it. Frank
September 9, 2014 07:49
Nathan N. Houston, TX
Sorry for not following up with my first comment, but your advice worked great for sharpening the knife. I have an issue with my chisels. Through practicing on a couple of the widths, I have managed to introduce a skew to the edge. Could that be a result of how I angle the bevel on the stone? Any advice on what I should avoid in the future? Could you give a recommendation on a slow speed grinder? As of right now, I try to reestablish the primary bevel with a honing jig and a coarse diamond stone. A very long and boring process! Thanks again Frank!
November 11, 2014 16:26
Frank S. Waco, TX
You may have already got the answer to your questions but I understand what is happening with the skew on your chisels, sometimes my chisels end up with a subtle skew. It is most likely because you are putting more pressure as you push the chisel forward into the stone, so if you are right handed I imagine the chisel is skewed to the right. I would not worry about it unless its really bad. However, you can sharpen in an oval or a figure 8 on the stone and that tends to equalize the pressure more evenly. So far as the grinder, it is more about the stone than the grinder, I like a slow speed (1750 RPM) grinder but get the Norton 3X grinding wheel. I think the 80 grit is a good one, I prefer the 8" wheel. Its a bluish colored wheel. You will also need to get a diamond dresser to keep the wheel dressed and clean of metal particles. Also a little trick when you are dressing the wheel, put a slight crown in the wheel, this keeps the edge cooler and keeps you from "digging" into your chisel.
April 14, 2015 07:26
mika S. tel aviv,
Hello. Just started watching the videos yesterday, very well taught, thank you for that.

Would like to ask if there's a specific reason why you don't create a micro bevel too and when would you recommend creating/maintaining one and when not.

Would also like to ask what material is better for preserving the chisels. Some use paraffin,others bee wax or mineral oil; is there a difference?

And last, but not least, would appreciate a video on how to restore bench planes both wooden as also metal. Thank you

November 30, 2016 07:50
Mark B. ,
We don’t generally use a micro bevel simply because it requires a grind stone at some point and uses up a lot of the steel very fast. Traditionally a set of chisels would last an entire working life of a craftsman. Using a grindstone can shorten that considerably.

I think in the long run it's faster to sharpen on a flat stone and not have to purchase a wet grinder. I also do not use a bevel guide to set up for my sharpening. Some people are more comfortable using a guide or grinder, and I have no problem with that at all, but I do have a problem with folks using dull tools when a sharp tool is so enjoyable to use! :-) I have been woodworking for nearly 29 years so this is certainly my personal preference. I am aware that there are many systems of sharpening available, and I simply feel this works best for my situation.

December 3, 2016 21:36