How to Sharpen Chisels on a Bench Grinder

Updated May 18, 2018

A chisel is useful in woodworking projects to remove small layers of wood at once or to bite deeply into a door for adjustments. Chisels must retain a very sharp edge to peel away thin strips of material while held at an angle to the wood and being struck with a hammer. Holding a chisel at a 90-degree angle to a piece of work and striking it forcefully with a hammer makes a deep indentation to mark placement of door strikers and hinges. Maintaining a sharp chisel is imperative for neat clean lines of wood removal.

Unplug the bench grinder from the electrical socket.

Place a flat screwdriver on one of the screws on the outer safety guard over the grinding wheel. Turn the screw counterclockwise to loosen and remove. Repeat for the additional 2 to 3 screws depending on the bench grinder brand.

Pull the safety guard straight off the grinder and set it aside.

Place an adjustable wrench on the hex nut in the centre of the grinding wheel. Turn the hex nut counterclockwise and remove the nut.

Pull the grinding wheel straight off the grinder. Place a 60 grit grinding wheel on the bolt in the centre by sliding it straight on.

Replace the hex nut and tighten it by turning clockwise with an adjustable wrench.

Slide the grinding wheel guard onto the grinder. Replace the screws and turn them clockwise to tighten them.

Plug the grinder into a power receptacle.

Put safety glasses or goggles on to prevent sparks and small amounts of the chisel metal from entering eyes.

Turn the “on/off” toggle switch on the bench grinder to the “on” position by pressing that side down.

Let the bench grinder power up completely to achieve an even spin on the grinding wheel.

Place two drops of 2 in 1 lubricating oil on the chisel tip. Rest the tip of the chisel against the grinding wheel at a 25 to 30 degree angle so the tip is flat against the grinding wheel.

Slide the chisel to the left and right over the grinding wheel two times.

Pull the chisel away from the bench grinder and observe the edge.

Add two more drops of lubricating oil and repeat the sharpening process until the chisel is sharp.


Make only two passes in each direction at a time when sharpening a chisel and then check the results. Making several passes at once will wear additional metal off the chisel tip, which in time will shorten the chisel length. Lubricating oil will prevent overheating of the chisel on the bench grinder, which leads to tempering of the metal from excessive heat. Tempered metal is weak, turns blue and must be removed from the edge by additional grinding.


Always wear safety eyewear when operating a bench grinder to protect eyes. Unplug any electrical machinery before changing parts or accessories to avoid accidental shock hazards.

Things You'll Need

  • Bench grinder
  • 60 grit grinding wheel
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Safety eyewear
  • 2 in 1 lubricating oil
  • Chisel
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About the Author

Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.