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Removing Heel Corners

The 'heel' is that change of plane where the blade dips into the bevel.

Removing the corners of the heel at each side is an easy modification that many carvers make and which has many advantages. In this lesson, I'll demonstrate these advantages and show several ways of removing the heel corners, on a variety of tools.

For a complete look at sharpening your woodcarving gouge, see my book: Woodcarving, Tools, Materials & Equipment, Vol.1 and the Pye-Cosman Sharpening DVD.


| 19 March 2013 17:04

This lesson came in very handy. I purchased a 3mm #9 bent gouge that needed to be altered for some fine detail work. With your instruction and a set of bench stones I was able to make the modifications, even on this fine tool!

| 20 October 2012 09:38

Good idea... I learned to love the way some quality japanese tools I have are shaped. It felt a little strange at first, but I realised the advantages while using them. And it is the same with your modifications I could do to the other tools I have. It can make a big difference in the way they work, a positive one for sure.
Thanks for the ideas and howtos.

| 04 July 2012 08:53

Thank you! What a difference!! McilDoc.

| 20 February 2012 10:04

Tamihana - Thanks for raising that question! You'll see that when I remove the metal I stop short of the corner at the cutting edge. I also stop short of eating into the very side of the blade, which would produce a knife-edge; I just thin it. Thus, metal is still present that will eventually appear as a new corner when we sharpen. (It's sort of counter-intuitive I know, but just make sure you keep back from the cutting edge corner and don't sharpen the side of the blade and all will work out, somehow ...)

| 19 February 2012 22:51

Hi Chris,

Im just wondering how this type of modification will effect future bevel shape. When the cutting edge is worn down and reaches the plain of the revised corners will the bevel need to be completely reshaped and the corners ground anew??

Have you experienced the example I'm describing? Im assuming there are no detrimental effects as long as you don't remove too much metal from the corners..


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