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Sharpen My Gouge

Sharpen My Gouge


Why would I use the Sharpen My Gouge service?

Yes, undoubtedly, sharpening your carving tools yourself is best practice and you’ll find full details on how Chris Pye commissions and maintains them here on

However, there are reasons why this sharpening service might be useful for you:

• You’d like to know exactly what Chris Pye’s carving tools look like, how they feel, and have correctly sharpened tools as models for your own future sharpening.

• You have a lot of tools to get commissioned and sharpened. Perhaps you are a carving club or class instructor and need to get tools ready for members or students quickly and get on carving.

• Life’s too short! You find sharpening tools a chore even though you know it’s necessary. Wouldn’t it be great to have someone commission them for you? Well, now you can:


A note about sharpening from Chris Pye:

Newcomers to carving expect new tools to be correctly sharpened. They are not. Manufacturers – actually a non-carving, factory worker - will polish the bevel and sharpen the very edge of a carving tool. But sharpness to a carver is not simply a sharp cutting edge.

If the bevel - the ‘wedge behind the edge’ - is incorrect, the tool can only be used in a limited way; you’ll need a lot more effort to push it through the wood and you’ll put unnecessary strain on your arm joints.

On this website I teach ‘commissioning’ gouge; bringing it into service by re-shaping and re-sharpening: I add an inner bevel, lower the cutting angle of the outer bevel, make corrections to the shape of the cutting edge itself and make sure it leaves an immaculate finish. The result is a versatile, easy, efficient blade, and a joy to use!

I didn’t make it up this approach to sharpening carving tools. It was taught me by my mentor, master carver Gino Masero, who was taught by his master, and so on. And in over 40 years of carving, I haven’t improved on this way of sharpening carving tools, only understood and loved it better.

If you like the way I carve and want to carve as I do, you need to sharpen (‘commission’) your tools as I sharpen mine, and here on Woodcarving Workshops you’ll find videos and downloads to show you how.

On the other hand, for any of those reasons above, you can try the hands-on service: I personally taught my style of sharpening to Mark Atkins, whom I have also taught as a carver, and I’m very happy with the outcome and overseeing the service he offers.

Let me add here that commissioning like this is something tools usually only need once. After that it’s regular, light maintenance with fine benchstones, slipstones and strops.

  — Chris Pye