Tool care and sharpening

Keep your tools well protected and in top shape. A dull chisel is more dangerous than a sharp one as you must push harder on it therefore increasing its possible instability. Never let the chisels lay on or touch other metal tools or objects including other chisels, the blade can be easily damaged in this way and need to be re-sharpened. Also, when working on a concrete slab floor, it is a good idea to have some additional floor cover such as a sheet of plywood, carpeting, rubber etc. as chisels can be badly damaged if they fall onto a concrete surface. I have a portable chisel rack with slots for all of my favorite chisels to keep them safe. A light oiling is helpful to protect against rust (this goes for all steel tools).

Chisel sharpening is an acquired skill which comes with practice. The basic American oil stones and Japanese water stones work fine. There are rough and fine stones available, the rough ones are more for shaping and repairing than sharpening. There are tapered curved type stones for getting the inside of the curved gouges. Stropping in-between carving sessions is a good idea, the addition of a hard felt and/or leather wheel on an electric arbor can be of great value, this buffs the edge of the chisel and keeps a sharpening working for you longer. Use a white, not red, rouge stick on these wheels. Grinding belt type sharpeners are good for rough repairs and shaping of chisel blade edge. A large, slow turning, water washed grinding wheel has always been a traditional old-time favorite for sharpening. Also, there are many new wet and dry sharpening systems out on the market which work very well, some better than others, these can be costly.

When sharpening with the circular revolving stones and wheels, its important to get a burr on the edge with a coarser stone and take it off with a finer stone or wheel. When sharpening, keep a steady angle and use a circular motion. The reason for the oil or water on the stones is to wash away the stone and metal particles to prevent the stone from clogging up, oil or water, depending on the type of stone it is (be sure you know, some can do either) also cools the metal.


Copyright © 1997-2002 by Dentzel Carousel Company