Have you ever started working on a new wood project with the hope that you will bring out a stunning artistic design, only to realize that your work does not meet your expectations? Well, the problem might be your tools.
Though wood carving is considered a work of art, it might be harsh to beginners. In most cases, a passionate woodworker should have both cutting, carving, and sharpening skills.
If you are wondering how to sharpen your wood carving tools, then this article belongs to you, but before we discuss that, let us look at different wood carving tools that can be sharpened.
Different wood Carving tools That Can Be Sharpened
1. Carving Knives
It is a widely used tool for carving wood. Wood Carving knives are found in different sizes and are used for cutting, clipping, and pairing. In most cases, the knives help bring out the final output of your project if always sharpened and kept in the best condition.
A chisel is a bladed hand tool with a beveled cutting edge and is used to cut or carve hard materials such as wood, stone, or metal. Woodcarving chisels come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and a hammer or a mallet may be used to drive them. A dull chisel can cause bodily injuries, and therefore, it is always advisable to regularly sharpen the tool.
3. A Scraper
It is a short-blade kitchen utensil often used for baking, but it can also be used to make different wood carving projects. The knife helps in digging, making tiny holes, and sometimes chipping off large amounts of wood from your wood project.
They are designed chisels with curved cut edges. The curved cut edges of the gouges are used to create accurate carving, deep and shallow hollows, and remove excess wood quickly from the wood surface. Check out our Guide to Woodcarving Gouges for more information on woodcarving gouges.
It has a similar shape to that of a gouge, but its difference is that it has longer sides. The tool produces a U shape when stabbed into a piece of wood and the Larger veiners are used to create flutes.
Since you are dealing with bladed wood carving tools, you need to protect yourself from bodily harm and respiratory illness. To achieve that, you need to have suitable materials, just as mentioned below.
Necessary Materials Needed Before you start Sharpening.
- A sharpener
- A safety gear
- A pair of gloves and a long-sleeved shirt
- A respirator if you are using a belt sander or a rotating sharpener
- Have a dedicated workspace that is set up with a clean procedure
Now let’s look at different ways of sharpening your wood carving tools.
Best known ways of Sharpening Different Wood Carving Tools
1. Using a Stone
Stones are free natural resources that surround you thus making it the easiest and the most affordable way of sharpening your tools. There are four main types of stones used for sharpening, and they include:
- Oil stones
- Water stones
- Diamond stones
- Ceramic stones
Woodcarvers prefer using ready-to-use stones sold in stores and shops because they are specially formulated to provide a more solid grip and are easier for them to handle. Shown below are steps followed when sharpening your bladed tools using a stone.
Steps followed when sharpening your wood carving tools using a stone.
- Wear protective gloves to prevent yourself from skin injuries.
- Consider using high-quality sharpening stones that provide different grit options for different process stages.
- If you have a dull tool, begin by sharpening on a medium grit to flatten the bevel.
- If your tool is a bit sharp, hold the tool with one hand while the other holds the bottom of the stone.
- Lay the blade of the tool flat, making sure the sharp edge is facing towards you,
- Push away the blade and pull it inward slowly
- Repeat the process as many times as possible until you get the desired shape.
2. Using a Leather strop
In many cases, a leather strop is used after finishing with the stone. It is used to polish the cutting edges and remove the wire edge from your wood carving tools. Though it is not necessary to have the strop, it is always essential to create or purchase one that can sharpen your gouges.
Let’s look at the steps followed while sharpening your tools using a leather strop.
Steps to follow while using a leather strop to sharpen your knife.
- Apply a small amount of chalky powder to the back of your knife
- Place the beveled edge of the tool against the strop
- Applying pressure, pull the knife carefully towards you and away from you
- Turn the knife to the other side and do the same
- Repeat the process as many times as possible to remove the wire edge
- Polish the edge
3. Using a Sandpaper
Like stone, Sandpaper is one of the most preferred methods of sharpening wood carving tools, due to its affordability and the ability to produce sharper cutting edges on your blades. Most of the time, the condition of your tools after sharpening is determined by the sandpaper grit you use.
Below are the steps followed when using Sandpaper to sharpen your wood carving tools.
Steps followed when using Sandpaper to sharpen your Wood Carving tools.
- Mount a sheet of 2500 grit sandpaper on a smooth surface
- Using a honing guide, read how to hold a blade or chisel at the right angle when sharpening
- Lap (flatten and polish) the back of your blade
- Hone the primary bevel of your blade until it becomes thin
- Use a honing compound to polish the tip of your bevel.
- Taste the sharpness of the knife and clean it
How to sharpen a wood carving Chisel
A wood carving chisel is used in shaving, cutting, scraping, and smoothing the surface of the wood. Though a wood carving tool, it is beveled differently than other tools. The same procedure used in sharpening a carving knife is also used in sharpening the chisel.
Let’s see the steps followed while sharpening a chisel with a stone.
Steps followed while sharpening a chisel with a stone.
- Pour a few drops of water on your sharpening stone
- Drag the cutting edge of your tool across the sharpening stone until a burr is formed
- Use a leather strip to remove the burr formed on the chisel
- Taste the sharpness of your chisel and clean it.
How often should I sharpen My Wood Carving Tools?
It is a question asked by many woodcarvers, especially beginners. How you use your tools determines how often you sharpen them. Regularly used tools are likely to lose their sharpness more quickly than those that do not see a lot of carving. It is always advisable to sharpen your tool anytime you realize it is ready to be sharpened.
Though sharpening wood carving tools might be frustrating at times, it is essential to know that sharpening the edges of your tools is the most important preparation for wood carving. To get quality results on your wood projects, you have to work with sharp tools that will provide clean cuts and make your work easier. You also need to know how to store your wood carving tools to reduce the risk of danger associated with sharp tools.