Sharpening tools - a Round Nose Chisel Using a Grind Rock, Motor Oil, and a Whetrock

A Classic Form of Sharpening Woodturning Tools Taught To Me Over 50 Years Ago

Grinding concave part of round nose chisel on grinder

Picture #1

In this first picture, I am using a grinding wheel to grind the round nose tool in a concave - what is called a hollow ground. I am being very careful to stay off of the edges with the grind rock.
You can see the concave portion of the tool in the last picture.

Picture of oil on whetrock for sharpening round nose chisel

Picture #2

The next step is to put oil on a portion of a whetrock (whetstone).
I use plain 30-weight motor oil.

Picture of honing round nose chisel on whetrock

Picture #3

Hold the round nose tool like you are writing with a pencil. Move your hand in a circular counter-clockwise motion. You will be whetting against the cutting edge of the tool. If you whet away from the cutting edge, you are going to loosen the molecules in the metal, and the tool will not keep an edge on it. Always make sure that you are whetting against the point of a tool when honing it.
After you have done that, then turn your tool over flat as shown in the next picture.

Picture of sharpening flat side of round nose chisel on whetrock

Picture #4

Again, move your hand in a counter-clockwise circle so that you are moving against the point of the blade. That takes care of any wire edge (burr) that might be on the top of it.

Picture of sharpened round nose chisel for woodturning

Picture #5

The amount of time you spend doing the process at Picture #3 will determine how sharp you get the tool. This is not something that is fast and easy to do. It is something that you have to be patient with. Be sure to move the tool back and forth, just like a wand, so that you are sharpening all of the round nose tool.

A Guide to Honing and Sharpening by Maurice Fraser

"A hundred years ago and more, people made hand tools work. They had no choice: they didn't have power tools. Woodworkers were able to be productive by having the right tool and developing the skill to maintain and use it properly. If you can duplicate that skill, you can be just as productive."

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