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Chisel Sharpening Jigs

A woodcarving chisel has a bevel on each side; the tool is symmetrical. A carpentry chisel has a bevel on one side only, with a flat face on the other. Each bevel of a woodcarving chisel is a single, flat face and quite long, giving you a low cutting angle.

If you have trouble keeping each side equal and the edge square then a jig might take away some of the stress and give you a better result. A 'jig' is essentially some device that, once set up, lets you repeat the same action or process every time.

In this workshop I have a look at a common sort of chisel-sharpening jig that you can buy from most DIY stores that's really designed for bench chisels and plane blades - but which really doesn't work for us - and another more expensive jig that does.

BTW: If you know of any other jigs for carving chisels or gouges, please write and let me know - with a source if possible. I'll have a look and share here on the Woodcarving Workshops website.


| 11 November 2021 08:07

Imran - Good eyesight! The angle to which you sharpen a lettering chisel is repeated on the other side so doubling overall the bevel 'wedge'. Generally with double-bevelled carving tools the overall angle wants to be between 20 and 30 degrees.

| 09 November 2021 19:03

Hi Chris. Hope all is well. On the veritas registration jig it seems you have placed the stop corresponding to a 10 deg angle. Is that what you recommend instead of 15 deg which is a bit higher up on the registration. Thanks

| 10 December 2014 16:31

Neal and Sue - I've been carving and sharpening my tools now for nearly 40 years, never used a jig - and there's nothing special about me! You absolutely can do it. The important thing is to lock your (handle) elbow to your body, then think more of shifting the weight between your feet than 'swaying' - so your hips move a little horizontally from one side to the other. In this way you move the gouge or chisel from one end of the stone to the other (only a 6" passage) while keeping the same angle. My teacher described it a bit like a 'judo stance'.

| 08 December 2014 18:28

I would like to have a go with this too, as I am having difficulty maintaining the same angle. There is a view of the jig from a different angle here:
I cannot find it in the UK.

| 28 August 2014 13:21

Tools for Working Wood has a nice close-up photo of the OAR Wood Carving Tool Sharpener on their website:

| 21 August 2014 08:07

Juan - Yes, I've heard of this jig and hope to have a look at it soon. Many thanks.

| 21 August 2014 04:43

Dear Chris: First of all, your videos are amazingly clear and easy to follow and understand, specially for a begining carver like me. In a sense you can say that I'm a "self taught" carver and it's been an incredible hobby for me, now that I retired of the rat race, I've got more time to really pay more attention to my projects. A couple of yrs back I found this jig called the OAR, where you sharpen your gauges and V tools with(I've been afraid of the process because they are expensive tools and didn't wanted to ruin them). I tried to include an attachment here, but for some reason it won't let me do it!, sorry, this thing really helped me out to get the frustation of properly sharpening your tools. the address of the manufacturer is: West Falls Woodcarving. 7458 Ellicot Rd., West Falls, NY, 14170; Phone: 716-662-3648. It was designed by fellow carver named Ross Oar. you may be able to see it in the Internet. If not I'll be more than happy to buy it and send it to you. Best regards and thank you for sharing your knowledge. Juan Solorzano Sr

| 07 August 2014 09:59

J°rgen - I've had a look and can't find that second position; at the lower angles the tool handle gets in the way! But perhaps you are right and I'm just missing something. I know the Veritas jig is a lot more expensive - I'm not trying to promote it - but, once you get the hang of it, it does take away the guesswork and covers a wide shape of chisel. I would say that, myself, I've never used jigs of any sort for sharpening. No doubt my by-hand accuracy is (must be) less than what I'd get with a jig, but it's plenty good enough for what I need to do, which is an important point: no one should feel they really need a jig unless they've hit a threshold of sharpening frustration,,,

| 22 July 2014 10:56

Dear Chris,

I have recently managed to sharpen the wings of v-tools with the Veritas Mark II jig, but I have only been successful with 30 and 45 degree V-tools. The 60 and 90 degree tools are not held flat against the edge of the jig. Also if the steel of the tool is of unequal thickness across the width of the wing you have to clamp on the bevel edge side and it wont work unless you use a shim. I used paper on the stone to slightly change the angle. If the variation in thickness is great you might have to use cardboard.

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