How To Sharpen Woodworking Tools

Using a whetstone is an very effective way to improve your woodworking skills. whetstones are basically stones that are rounded on one side, and then progressively thinner blades are placed on top to be sharpened.

Whetstones can be either natural or artificial. Natural whetstones usually consist of a mixture of flint, diamond, and quartz. These find use in cutting wood, stone, and other items. Artificial whetstones can consist of silicon carbide or a similar material.

When using an artificial stone, it is important to follow the same rules for changing the angle of the stone as for sharpening traditional tools.

Use the right grindstone

When sharpening a variety of woodworking tools, there are some basic steps you should take. These include changing the angle at which you are working, and shifting your focus from one area of the tool to another.

Depending on the size of the tool you are sharpening, this can mean moving away from a flush-grind to a chisel-grind, or shifting from a round-ended nail to an indented nail.

Moving between angles increases friction, which decreases need for additional sharpenings. Additionally, switching up your angle and area of focus increases your knowledge of what type of stones to use.

Big ticket items like planes and routers should be shifted to indented settings so that they do not stick. This causes less work for the user as they have to modify their hand and wrist movement in order to operate them.

Use the right honing oil

When oiling your tools, you must use the right amount of oil for the right amount of time. Too much will result in poor edge beading, gouging, and rounding.

Edge beading occurs when a tool is placed on a surface and then pulled away as the edge is beaded. This can happen with router bits, spade drivers, and driver bits.

Gouging occurs when a tool is placed on a surface and then driven at high speed. This can happen with rasor carbidebites, gouges, chisel-like tools, and hacksaws.

Using too much oil will result in poor holding power and possibly heat breakers or roughness on your tools. Using too little oil will result in poor edge holding power and may cause steel to slip off the tool.

Go slow and steady

When sharpening tools, you must go slow and steady. Some substances will stick to the tool, making it difficult to remove some of the oxidation from the blade.

Others can be destructive! Chemicals such as carborundum paper or emery boards can make the tool sharpened but in an alarming amount of places.

Never try to sharpen a Gougesque Goupe saw in just one session! Start off by removing the bottom half of the saw with a small bit of carbide steel. Then, add a second stage of steel to remove some of the remaining gouges and replace them with new ones. Make sure to dry-swell any old carbide during this process!

Another tip: when buying woodworking tools, look for markers such as carborundum or emery boards to mark areas to be sharpened.

Make sure you have the proper angle

When sharpening a tool, you must have a safe and proper angle Howell to have. You can tell if a angle is too steep or low by the sound it makes when you pull the tool from your grasp.

Most angles are about right between sloping and steep. If the angle is too high, then the sandpaper will stick to the wood in one direction and be extremely difficult to remove. If it is too low, then the wood will break while removing the sandpaper.

Some tools require special tips that will help make them more delicate or fine. If you need these tips, look for ones that are soft and plush like velour.

Use a protractor to check your angle

Most woodworking tools are made with a straight blade. This is the standard angle-blades configuration.

If you use a round-bladed tool, such as a router or drill, you must hold the tool at an acute angle to drive the Router or Drill into the work. This requires two steps: first measure your desired angle and then set your mark!

Common problems with tools that have a flat top are slide-out guillotine effects, skewed angles, and warping. All of these problems can be fixed with some careful setting of the guard and/or buying a new tool.

Fortunately, these problems are rare enough that most professional woodworkers do not bother looking for them.

Change your grindstone often

Changing your tool’s grindstone is a cost-effective way to keep your woodworking tools looking sharp. You can purchase a new stone every few weeks as thegrain of the stone wears off, and you can exchange it for a new one. Steel wool and/or sandpaper can be used to soften the edge of your tools, making them easier to grip and smoothly rounding off the end of the tool.

But if you were going to buy a whole new set of woodworking tools each year, you would probably want to invest in some more steel wool and sandpaper to keep up with your equipment. So buying a tool kit is an good place to start. It contains all of the different steel wool and sandpaper brands, as well as some helpful instructions on how to use them.

Keep your grindstone flat

When trying to keep your woodworking tools flat, you must keep an eye on the thickness of the wood you are working with.

If you are seeing healthy growths or circles developing on the tools, then you should use a more thick tool. These tools will require more effort to maintain.

Some common tools like planes and routers require nothing more than cleaning and using some new oil on the tool every so often. The oiling will help maintain the distance between the blade and wood, making for a better cut.

If you need to develop your ability in this area, try taking some classes! There are many woodworking YouTube channels that offer class videos.

Use the same honing oil every time

While some woods such as maple require different oils for each step in the creation of a sharp edge, other woods such as walnut or pine need the same oil every time. Other oils can be used, but some may recommend changing it every few uses.

Some oils containuctions are approved by your woodworking instructor while others are not. Depending on what you will be using the oil for this will or won’t be necessary. When purchasing your timber oil, make sure that it is of high quality to prevent any potential problems.

When using a knife to sharpen another knife, he or she should start with a fine-to-medium blade and then increase the thickness until they get a complete even edge. He or she then takes out one blade and starts again with the other. This takes time and effort both!

If one was to stop at each step, would they get an incomplete or wrong piece? Probably not, which is why having different thicknesses is so helpful.