July 16, 2021

How to Repair a Chipped Chisel

It all started when I chipped a piece of my chisel. I did not have it professionally fixed, but I did not want the chips to turn into cracks. So I tried to make a temporary repair. It did not work well enough until I used a chisel body filler. It was like a liquid in a can. 

After a week or so, the chips had turned into cracks. I was upset that I had wasted a whole can of the stuff. After wasting that much, I would not waste anymore, and I decided to try repairing by filling the cracks with epoxy. It was not a permanent repair because the tool was made of steel. It made the entire tool look like it was a new one.

Place your chisel in a vice

Inserting your chisel on a vice secures it through clamping so that it does not move. The vice has two teeth that clap the material when using the chisel. Make sure the clamping is tight enough to hold the chisel but not to break it. 

Over-tightening the vice causes a snap or damage to the chisel, although chances are slim. A dull chisel is prone to damage when secured. It requires more force, and it slips away when in use. 

The chisel tip has to be clamped so that you start your repair. The chisel vice gives the chisel a guide when making cuts. 

Heat the chisel blank

Eating up a chisel bank is part of the sharpening and flattening process. Be careful of the amount of heat you apply. Otherwise, it breaks. Bringing the blank to red hot is the way to harden the blank. Put out the heat in oil, not water, and the oil should have a fast quench rate so that the blank does not take time to cool off the charcoal. 

Repeat the process of heating the blank slowly and evenly using a broad flame. You are allowed to put it on a bed of charcoal until the charcoal dies out, and that happens over a night. The bluing point is a sign of overheating.  

The chisel comes in a soft state from the store. That is why the heating process is necessary. It is the same as low-carbon steel when you get it. Cut it with a hacksaw, grind it using a wheel and shape it with a file. The edges have to be fine by burning through the heat treatment. 

Get the steel to 1400 degrees and heat it till the magnet no longer sticks onto the steel. Make use of forges and furnaces for the heating process. Using a torch for heat treatment is easy since the heat is concentrated. You are allowed to hold the steel on a flame until it shot enough. 

Grind down the chisel tip

Chisels go through grinding, and that gives a beveled edge. There are grinding marks on the tip of the blade as you grind the blade. What shows you that your tip is well-done is the cutting edge that becomes glassy smooth. 

A grinder is a replacement for sandpaper that takes forever to sharpen a chisel when it is blunt. The chisel grinder heats the chisel, but too much heat will destroy it. A power tool like a bench grinder is ideal for the chisel tip. 

As you grind the chisel, remove the blued steel. The grinder comes with two types of wheels. The other one is blue-gray, and the other white, and they both contain aluminum-oxide. The darker wheel is more complex and keeps its shape longer, and it is hotter when the wood file flattens the tip and refines the shape of the chisel tip. Grinding and weakens the steel. 

The soft wheel needs regular shaping using a dressing tool. A 100-grit wheel performs better. Using the coarsest wheel on your grinder prevents overheating. The fine wheel creates more heat and friction. The wheel’s surface has to be renewed using a dressing stick. The wheel has to be clean for fast production. 

Polish the chisel sanding down the chipped area

You need to gather your tools and materials before you start polishing the chisel down to the chipped area. Use high-quality sandpaper regardless of its price. Sometimes less means poor quality. Low-budget sandpaper is slow, and it wears out quickly. 

A combo pack that comes with 80-150 and 220 grit sandpaper is ideal for high performance. A spray adhesive is one of the materials needed for sticking the sandpaper to the glass. A low-tack adhesive performs better, and it is available in local shops. 

A standard spray still performs the same role. Make sure you follow the instructions on how to make a temporary bond. When you are changing the sandpaper, use a solvent to remove glue residue from the blade. 

Low-tack sprays do not produce less adhesive than standard sprays. Spray an adhesive onto the sandpaper and press the sandpaper onto the glass. Cut a sheet of 80-grit as you sharpen the surface. Repeat the process using 150 and 220-grit sheets. Apply the sandpaper on both sides of the blade to prevent the blade tip from sliding around. 

Fixing the chipped area with superglue

Superglue keeps a chisel in place, and that is the handle. The tip of the handles does not have to move while in use. The glue has to be removable just in case you want to make changes to the tool. 

Super glue is easy to remove from the glass or wooden handle. Rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, or lighter fluid will do the magic. Wood glue works better on a chisel. Drill the piece of wood on a chisel and fine-tune the taper. 

Remove ½ inch strip in the middle of the holder. Test the chisel by placing it inside the hole before you add glue. When the chisel fits well, add glue to the diameter hole. There is flexibility when moving the piece, and a thin coat of glue to the holder sticks the chisel. Use masking tape to secure the chisel until it dries. 

Using a metal file

A well-sharpened chisel is a useful woodworking tool that does not slow down your pace when working on a project. Sharpening a chisel is easy using a metal file. Buying a chisel from a shop does not mean it is ready for use or sharp enough. 

It has to be re-sharpened for effectiveness. The metal file shapes trim and smoothen chisels made of metal. It has hardened steel grooves that sharpen the chisel blade. The edges are sharp and smooth, no matter the type of wood. The metal file is ideal to use when there is more material to remove. 

Using a wood file

A wooden file is a coarse file that consists of sharp-pointed projections. It smoothes both the metal and wooden parts of the chisels. It works better on wood grain and gives you a revived surface that looks new. 

The wood file flattens the tip and refines the shape of the chisel tip. That increases the performance of the chisel, and it is as durable as the metal file. Test the chisel for sharpness using a rage.

David D. Hughes
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