Chisels, gouges and other woodworking hand tools need to be very sharp to cut wood effectively. A dull tool is harder and requires more effort to manoeuvre through the wood than a sharp tool, which means that a sharp chisel or gouge is actually easier and safer to use. Sharpening these woodworking tools can be done in just a few minutes using a bench grinder and a homemade sharpening jig.
Cut an 8-inch long section of 2-inch-wide angle iron with a hacksaw.
Position the angle iron on a bench grinder's tool rest so that the L faces upward on the right side and the long edge of the iron is perpendicular to the grinding face of the wheel. The leading edge of the angle iron should be about a half-inch away from the wheel.
Clamp the angle iron into place using a C-clamp.
Place a chisel or gouge in the inside V of the angle iron, so the bevelled edge faces downward. Loosen the wing nut on the tool rest and adjust the angle of the jig so that the bevelled edge of the tool is perfectly flat against the grinding wheel. Tighten the wing nut to lock the tool rest and jig into position.
Turn on the grinder. Ease the tool forward on the homemade tool sharpening jig to engage the tool with the grinding wheel. Grind in short 2 to 3-second bursts, lifting the tool off after each grinding to visually inspect the grinding. If the wheel isn't grinding the entire face of the bevel equally, adjust the angle of the tool rest and try again.
To protect your eyes from flying debris, always wear safety glasses when sharpening tools on a bench grinder.
Tips and warnings
- To protect your eyes from flying debris, always wear safety glasses when sharpening tools on a bench grinder.