Sharpening V

This can be easily remedied by holding a finger along the side of the knife and holding it flat to the edge. This allows you to apply even pressure along the knife edge and promote an even removal of metal. If you are sharpening a knife with a curved blade, you will notice that the entire edge of the knife will not make contact with your sharpening surface.

sharpening wood carving tools

You can’t work properly without sharp tools, and with this information, you’ll never have to again. For stones, hold your blade against it firmly and move it from side to side. All blades go through this process, whether kitchen cutlery or anything else. This first step is actually where you’ll be breaking down the metal of your blade.

This process can be done with sharpening stones or with sandpaper glued to a glass surface. Many purpose made whittling and wood carving knives, like Flexcut, OCC Tools, and Helvie, will have this angle already applied to their knives. But some other knives may have to be modified with a sharpening stone for best results. Most pocket knives and general purpose knives will have a steep cutting edge angle in excess of 20° and this may make them less than ideal for whittling and wood carving. This is because the steeper cutting edge angle won’t slice through the wood as easily when compared to that of a thinner cutting edge.

Zam Polishing Compound

That way you can eyeball the angle of the tool to the paper or stone and maintain a constant angle throughout the sharpening process. For tools like gouges and chisels with short bevels, place a visible angle guide at the end of the glass to help you keep the angle constant. Check out the Sharpening At-A-Glance chart for the suggested motions to sharpen each tool.

  • Blunt tools reduce accuracy and smoothness, which ultimately block the carpenter from achieving the desired results.
  • When shaping a bevel, the most important thing is to keep your angle constant—otherwise you will get a double bevel.
  • However, you usually need to sharpen the knife-edge with a piece of sandpaper or a stone—otherwise the slip stone will wear an unwanted groove in the channel of the V-tool.

If this proves too troublesome, wrap a dowel that fits inside the channel with a piece of very fine sandpaper. If the paper has a tendency to tear, “charge” or rub the dowel with stropping compound. The burr must be removed or it will tear the wood instead of cutting it. If you don’t have a grinder with a felt wheel, you can do a great job of polishing by hand with a piece of rough leather glued to a flat surface. Charge the leather with the same green chromium oxide compound and rub the gouge surface vigorously back and forth across the leather.

Strop A strop typically consists of leather backed up with a board or other solid and flat material. Another sharpening problem is the double or blunt bevel—an extra bevel, or what might appear as a blunt edge, exists on the end of the tool. Sometimes the manufacturer may be the culprit, but it may be the result of your own sharpening. If you wait for them to become too dull, you will need to go to the diamond stones to restore the edge. If your tools is very dull, begin sharpening on a medium-grade grit to efficiently flatten to bevel and smooth out any irregularities along the blade. As a word of the wise, when you purchase a new whittling knife or wood carving kit, be sure to inspect the blades right out of the package.


You may get frustrated that it takes a while to bring a dull edge back to life, but the payback of making polished cuts in the latest project is hard to beat. Polished Edge If you can see your reflection, the cutting edge is polished. That mirror finish allows the tool to cut into the wood with very little resistance.

Fine Woodworking Archive

However, a straight bevel gives a better reference surface when using the tools for planing the wood. If you carve more with a gouging technique, a secondary or rounded bevel might work better for you. If you carve more by planing the wood, a straight bevel might be best for you. Position the sandpaper and glass or sharpening stone so that its length is perpendicular to the front of your body.

Stones are just like those bricks that you’ll see Japanese knives sharpened on, and are the easiest way to sharpen your tools. You need gloves, long sleeve shirts, and you’re going to need a respirator if you’re using a belt sander or rotating sharpener. If that angle is off by more than three degrees, it’s time to sharpen and hone). So let’s avoid all that noise by keeping that steel razor sharp, and your projects looked more refined than ever before. The first thing you do is placing the edge correctly on the grind, which is vital if you want to land perfect results.