How To Sharpen Wood Carving Tools: Best Techniques For Beginners
Have you noticed that your blade goes dull after carving for hours? Your skill in sharpening must be as good as your cutting and carving skills. Without a sharp knife, wood carving would be frustrating and dangerous.
Here are basic techniques on how to sharpen wood carving tools, such as the knife and the chisel.
Techniques To Sharpen Wood Carving Tools
It all starts with having a good knife with good steel. A good knife does not need to be expensive. As a beginner, you may ask a woodcarver or a reputable knife dealer which brand will suit your budget and your level of skill. The same goes for your other wood carving tools, such as the chisel.
Know the basics of sharpening wood carving tools to preserve their quality. Each tool with different specifications may require a different sharpening technique.
Sharpening A Knife
You need a good sharpening stone to perform basic methods of sharpening. Veteran woodcarvers suggest that sharpening stones with grit range of 1000 to 3000 are best to sharpen dull knives. You can also sharpen knives with a leather strop.
- At a slight angle, lay the blade close to the flat.
- There are three ways you can sharpen the blade:
- Push the blade away from you.
- Drag the knife toward you.
- Make circular motions with the blade.
Once the blade is sharp, stop using the stone to avoid wasting the metal on your blade. Use the stone only if it is necessary. Use leather strop more frequently.
Relief carving requires more advanced carving skills. It is a process of carving figures into a flat wooden panel. Its finished product is three-dimensional, but the back remains flat. This type of woodcarving is popular in making busts, ornamental figurines, caricatures, and faces.
Sharpening A Chisel
Sharpen a carving chisel the same way as you sharpen a knife. Be mindful of the bevel, which is the cutting edge of the tool. Chisels have bevels on both sides at a 20-degree angle.
- Put a few drops of oil on the sharpening stone.
- Hold the chisel at a 20-degree angle.
- Glide the cutting edge up and down along the length of the stone.
- Work on both sides evenly until a burr edge forms along the edge. A burr is a rough edge left by sharpening using a stone.
- Test for the burr by dragging your finger away from the cutting edge.
- If you feel a slight roughness on the cutting edge, slide the blade up and down a leather strop. Do this until the burr is removed and the blade is smooth and polished.
- Do this on both sides of the blade.
To know if you have successfully sharpened your chisel, rest the cutting edge lightly on your fingernail. If it skids across your fingernail, it needs more sharpening. You will know if it is ready to use if the blade feels sticky on your fingernail.
Sharp knives are safer to use than dull ones. Do not carve wood with dull blades. It is unsafe. Continue learning how to sharpen wood carving tools. It’s an important skill if you are pursuing wood carving as a career or even just a hobby. Get a sharpening stone and a leather strop to start refining those blades!
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