How Often Should You Sharpen Chisels?
Chisels, just like all of your equipment, need to be maintained. The biggest part of maintaining chisels is the sharpening routing. There are several sharpening methods to choose from, this article focuses mainly on how often they need to be sharpened.
Sharpen your chisel whenever it starts to dull, but make sure to give it the occasional maintenance sharpening as well. As long as you maintain them and don’t let them remain dull for a long period, your chisels should remain as good as new.
A good chisel is essential to good woodwork. This article has all you need to know about chisels and more. From what to look for when choosing a chisel to what are the best techniques to use to maintain it. Keep reading not only sharpen your chisel but also your mind.
How Often Do You Sharpen Chisels?
If you ask anyone who has been in woodworking for a few years, they will tell you that your best friend is a sharp chisel. A sharp chisel is the first step in the direction of becoming an expert in woodwork. In an ideal world, chisels would never dull, but that is not the case.
The gradual dulling of the chisel is brought on by several different factors, such as:
- The density of the wood being worked
- The materiality of the blade (harder or softer alloys)
- Quality of the chisel
- Maintenance frequency
With the presence of so many variables, it is difficult to give a definitive answer as to the frequency with which you should sharpen your chisels. Some blades are made of a softer metal and dull faster than chisels made from harder metals.
While material is a determining factor when it comes to how often a chisel needs to be sharpened, it is not the only one. Other factors such as the density of the wood may affect how often the chisels need to be sharpened.
Experts say it is best to sharpen chisels whenever they become noticeably dull or when needed along with regular maintenance.
What Is the Importance of a Sharp Chisel?
A sharp chisel can be the first step in the right direction when you want to improve your woodworking technique, as you’ll only learn bad habits with a dull blade. With a sharper blade, you will not need to make as much effort in pushing and can focus on keeping your hand steady.
Although this mainly applies to beginners, a sharp chisel is also an asset to the expert. Experienced woodworkers know that a sharp blade is a good way to protect the layer of wood beneath the blade. Similarly, it allows for more control which can be distinguished by nice, clean cuts.
Other than that, it makes things easier for you if you have a sharp chisel, such as:
- Reducing the time and effort you need to complete a project
- Clean and neat cuts every time
- Allows you to work on keeping a steady hand
Speaking of skills, sharpening is one of the indispensable skills any woodworker can have. No matter how expensive or sharp your chisel may be, it will dull over time. Let’s talk about exactly how you should keep your chisels in good shape.
What Is a Good Sharpening Technique?
Sharpening methods and techniques vary from person to person. However, the general idea is the same. The first thing you’ll need for sharpening is the proper tools. There is an array of choices from stones, to honing guides and grit paper. The process itself is fairly simple, but it is sure to leave you with a sharp blade every time.
For this process, you will need both sharpening stones and a honer:
- Using the sharpening stone of your choice, place the chisel on its back to flatten the bottom of the.
- Once the bottom has been evened out, it is time to sharpen the bevel or the sloped part. Place the chisel with the bevel facing down and touching the stone. Rub it back and forth over the stone, with a steady hand, don’t let it tip. Tipping can lead to an uneven blade or even a dull one.
- After sharpening the chisel to desired sharpness, it is time to move on to the next stage, honing. Honing isn’t necessary, but it does sharpen the edge more. This can be done by using fine-grit paper to smooth over all the sides. For more tips and tricks click here.
Sharpening is easy to learn, but hard to master. Just remember that by sharpening, you are actually removing material from the chisel, so it’s best to start with a light touch while learning. Sharpening too aggressively with the wrong technique will only shorten your chisel’s lifespan!
How to Get Your Chisel to Last for Years.
Chisels, if properly cared for, can last up to years and work as if it was fresh off the production line. Just like everything else, chisels deteriorate over time and become useless. However, with the proper maintenance, you can delay this process significantly.
The main part of maintenance for chisels is directly correlated to how often is sharpened and how the sharpening is done. Although sharp chisels are preferred, for most projects, if the blade is sharp enough to complete the task most people don’t bother to do so. This is the suggested way to go about it.
Only sharpening when necessary, protects the blade from being over-sharpened and avoid wasting alloys. However, the blade will be sharpened often enough to prevent corrosion and damage. For this reason, experts advise having a regular maintenance routine.
This routine doesn’t have to be anything fancy; it can be as simple as sharpening your equipment monthly and honing it every two. These ensure that there are regular cleaning and maintenance and will prevent the tools from going into a state of decay, or slow it down at the very least.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Chisels Sharpened Professionally?
The price varies from place to place, but in most places, you can get your chisels professionally sharpened for less than ten dollars per chisel. Some places charge as low as three dollars while others can reach up to eight.
Look for spots that sharpen and compare the costs to see which works best for you. Locations that offer sharpening services are usually found in hardware stores such as:
- Home Depot
- Or, your local hardware store
Sharpening is not for everyone, but you can save a lot of money by doing most of the sharpening at home and have it professionally done once a month. That way, you will practice a skill, save money and still take good care of your tools.
When it comes to chisel maintenance, the answer is not set in stone because of all the possible variations. Some chisels are made of stronger stuff and can last longer before losing their edge. While that same chisel might turn dull after one interaction with maple wood.
The most successful method of yet has been to sharpen wood chisels as needed and have monthly or scheduled maintenance to protect the blade. There is a lot of debate about the word sharp, but the most accurate one is the one that says sharp is related to the situation.
If you stick to this process and use the proper materials to sharpen and hone your blades, your blades will last you several years. There is something beautiful about sharpening a blade, it is shaving off the old and depleted tool and preparing it once again for battle.
If you like this article please leave a comment and check out my instagram account here. I try and minimize advertising on this website by selling silicone mats.