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Thread: Sharpening chisels

  1. #1
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    Sharpening chisels

    (Not sure if this is posted in the correct spot- should it be in sharpening station?)
    I've been trying saya -making, so have been using chisels that haven't had much use previously.
    What sort of progression is good for chisels? Do you just sharpen at the bevel angle or add a micro-bevel? Do you use a jig or freehand?
    Are there special chisels for making sayas?
    Thanks.
    "My greatest fear is that when I die, my wife will sell my knives for what I told her they are worth"

  2. #2
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    A lot of people recommend using a jig at first - or at least flipping between jigs and freehand until you get good enough at freehand... It sounds like you'll wanna give them a bit of a work up and properly flatten the backs too. Make sure your stones are as flat as possible. I usually start with with a suehiro dual density 300 stone. The soft side does the work fast and the hard side cleans it all up nicely. Then I use chosera 1000, black tsuchima, and and a finisher. I have kikuhiromaru chisels, white #1, they can take a real pounding - makes you realise that the brittleness of a steel depends a lot on how its heat treated. Different techniques are needed for Japanese chisels if that's what you're using. There are also special chisels for saya - saya nomi. They tend to be expensive.

  3. #3
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    Oh forgot to mention. Best technique is to sharpen following the bevel of the chisel. This can sometimes be difficult, and often people will raise the chisel (i.e. increase the angle when the bevel side is on the stone) to get faster results but accidently create a secondary bevel which will eventually need to be ground out to return the chisel to max performance. Better to go slow and try and avoid that. If your chisels are good quality you shouldn't need a micro-bevel.

  4. #4
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    Thanks JG.

    The one I sharpened I used a (cheap) diamond block labelled 200, 400, 600, 800, freehand.

    800 gave an almost mirror polish, so I assume it's FEPA-F. I sharpened the whole bevel (had grind out an old primary bevel of about 1-2mm width). And the chisel was pretty sharp. The saya is softwood (pine) so no issues with losing it's edge.

    How do you deburr? I basically did my version of ura-oshi (light push stroke along the flat back of the chisel) which seemed to work OK.

    So from what you are saying I guess what I did is roughly correct, but possibly just polish a bit more. Or maybe I'll make a chisel strop with balsa and diamond paste.

    I'm just having fun at the moment, so not going to invest megabucks in a new chisel rabbit hole- still enjoying the old knife rabbit hole too much. And besides: the Jnat rabbit hole is next in line. :-)
    "My greatest fear is that when I die, my wife will sell my knives for what I told her they are worth"

  5. #5

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    I follow the bevel of the chisel. One thing to do at the end is strop the chisel on a leather strop board loaded with chromium oxide - this brings the edge a few notches up from where you finished on the stones.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nemo View Post
    How do you deburr? I basically did my version of ura-oshi (light push stroke along the flat back of the chisel) which seemed to work OK.
    Yeah - I think it's a similar principal. I've generally found that once the back's are flat, I only go through the progression in the front with lower grits, and use my highest grit on the back. I.e front 300, back 10,000, front 1000, back 10,000, front 6000, back 10,000 etc.

  7. #7
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    Thanks Tsuriru and JG
    "My greatest fear is that when I die, my wife will sell my knives for what I told her they are worth"

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