Sharpening a Chisel for Woodworking: A Comprehensive Guide

Sharpening a chisel is an essential skill for any woodworker. A sharp chisel is essential for making precise cuts and achieving a professional finish. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of sharpening a chisel for woodworking. Before you begin, make sure you have the right tools.

You’ll need a sharpening stone, honing oil, and a leather strop. You may also want to use a honing guide to help keep your chisel at the correct angle while sharpening. The first step is to prepare the sharpening stone. Soak the stone in water for at least 10 minutes before use.

This will help to remove any impurities from the stone and ensure that it is ready for use.

Step 1: Establish the Bevel Angle

The bevel angle is the angle at which the blade meets the edge of the chisel. This angle should be between 25 and 30 degrees for most woodworking applications. To establish the bevel angle, hold the chisel against the stone at a 25-30 degree angle and draw a line along the edge of the blade with a pencil or marker.

Step 2: Sharpen the Chisel

Once you’ve established the bevel angle, it’s time to sharpen the chisel. Start by placing the chisel on the stone with the bevel facing down.

Apply light pressure and move the blade in a circular motion across the stone. Make sure to keep the blade at the same angle as you move it across the stone. Continue this process until you have achieved a sharp edge on both sides of the blade.

Step 3: Hone and Strop

Once you’ve achieved a sharp edge on both sides of the blade, it’s time to hone and strop your chisel. Start by applying honing oil to your sharpening stone and then place your chisel on it with the bevel facing down.

Move the blade in a circular motion across the stone, applying light pressure as you go. This will help to remove any burrs or imperfections from your blade and give it a polished finish.Once you’ve finished honing, it’s time to strop your chisel. Place your leather strop on a flat surface and apply honing oil to it. Then, hold your chisel at an angle of 25-30 degrees and draw it across the strop in a circular motion.

This will help to further refine your blade and give it an even sharper edge.

Step 4: Test Your Chisel

Once you’ve finished sharpening your chisel, it’s important to test it before use. To do this, place a piece of scrap wood on a flat surface and draw your chisel across it in one smooth motion. If your chisel cuts cleanly through the wood without any resistance, then it is ready for use.


Sharpening a chisel for woodworking is an essential skill that every woodworker should master. With practice and patience, you can achieve professional results with just a few simple steps.

Follow this guide and you’ll be well on your way to creating beautiful woodworking projects with ease.

Michael Jones
Michael Jones

If it's got to do with wood, I'm into it. Part-time hobby turned full-time obsession.