Q & A: Chisel Sharpening Angles

Grind a new 25-degree
bevel.
Grind all the way
up to the leading end. Make
sure the end is square within
a few degrees. To prevent
overheating, frequently dip
the chisel in water as you
approach the leading end.

Q & A: Chisel Sharpening Angles

 

Q:

I’m confused about
sharpening angles for
chisels. One book suggested
30 degrees, but my new
chisels are ground at 25
degrees. What gives?

A:

The grind angle on a
chisel depends on
what the chisel is used for.
Most chisels will function
well with a low grind angle,
but they tend to dull quickly.

Because a mortising chisel
is commonly used with a
mallet, it’s not as important
that it cuts easily, therefore, a larger grind angle, such
as 35 degrees, provides a
longer edge-life. A paring
chisel needs to easily slice
through wood fibers, so it
should have a lower grind
angle (25 degrees).
Because a chisel’s life
span depends on the
number of times it’s
sharpened, you want to
maintain the largest grind
angle that suits the purpose
of the tool. A 30-
degree grind angle is considered
appropriate for a
general purpose bench
chisel providing adequate
cutting ease and edge life.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker April 1999, issue #72.



April 1999, issue #72


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