October 11, 2021

How to Sharpen a Skew Chisel

Start by wearing your safety glasses when sharpening a skew chisel. Now turn on the grinder and let it come to speed. At this point, you can put the tool on the grinding wheel, and there is no need to apply any pressure. 

Let the wheel do the rest of the work. The powerful grinding machine removes unwanted material without force. Touch the chisel lightly as you make contact with the running grinding wheel. Take it off the wheel and switch to the other side of the jig. 

Make sure that the point of the skew is facing outward. Repeat the above process till satisfied. You now have a perfect skew chisel in good shape. 

The skew chisel works on planning cuts, V-cuts, and forming beads. Bevel angles vary from 25° to 45°. A 25° bevel angle gives you a fragile edge that needs regular sharpening. Yet, it gives better results.  A 45° bevel holds up well in tough stock, but it does not cut easily. A good rule of thumb is to make the bevel length about 11⁄2  times the tool thickness.

Wear safety goggles

Wear eye protection since there is a risk of eye injury from particles released when sharpening. Safety goggles give eye protection against multiple toxins such as dust, debris, chemical splashes, and other contaminants from the sharpening tool and the material. 

The protection is on both physical damage and infections from any surrounding elements. The infections are tricky since they sometimes manifest after some time, and you might not easily recognize the cause. 

The safety goggles come in different shapes and styles. What determines the one you choose is comfortability and taste. They have multiple coatings such as anti-scratch, anti-UV, anti-static and anti-fog. Know the weather that makes up your community so that you buy the perfect goggles. 

When sharpening the skew chisel, there are chemicals involved, such as lubricants. These are not to be in contact with the eyes since they are harmful. Since there are workers around the workspace, they need protection from substances. By giving them safety goggles, you are ensuring their safety. Additional properties such as anti-fog, high impact resistance, and anti-corrosion are a bonus. 

Working in direct contact with UV radiation is not good for your eyesight. That is why it is prohibited under the industrial standards for workers not to work with UV-protection eye-wear that ensures eye safety from UV radiations. It remains compulsory for workers to keep the goggles in sunny and polluted environments. 

Metal particles give a thermal residue that is harmful to the eyes. That is popular in heavy metal construction companies. They produce molten metal vapor that affects the worker’s eyes badly. There are high energy radiations that are harmful to eye vision. It is mandatory and helpful to wear safety goggles always while working in the industry.

Welding safety goggles involve intense UV and IR rays that are invisible but cause an eye injury. Welding safety goggles give a high degree of protection while performing this task. UV Protection goggles have a coating that blocks harmful UV rays from entering into the user’s eyes. There is extra comfort and protection from long-term eye problems like cataracts and eye cancer.

Place a piece of fine sandpaper on a flat surface.

Attach sandpaper to a glass surface using a strong adhesive. Since sandpaper has a course surface, it is effective in sharpening the edges of wooden chisels. The glass comes with a smooth and flat surface that holds the sandpaper as you work. Sandpaper is in grits, and 220-grit, 150-grit, and 80-grit sandpaper work well to sharpen different edges and get a razor-sharp chisel.

Put the piece of glass on the sandpaper, and trace the outline. Cut the sandpaper gently, following the outline traced earlier on. Apply some adhesive on the backside of the sandpaper and place the sandpaper on the glass surface. Squeeze it gently until it sticks on the glass.

Attach the 50-grit sandpaper to a block of glass and cut the 150-grit sandpaper. Repeat the process.  Finish off by attaching the 200-grit sandpaper to a glass block. Hold the skew at a 90-degree angle to the sandpaper.

Move the skew up and down as you sand it

The skew starts flat on its side. As you move it, it ends up on edge at the end of the cut. You cannot scrape and sand a V-shape without losing the sharp definition. As you sand it, start from the sides. Remove all the dust from the chisel. Start low on the sandpaper and finish with 120 grit. 

Using a bench grinder

You are allowed to sharpen your chisel on a bench grinder. Enough power on the bench grinder is required and the correct type of stone. Use techniques that maintain the bevel and prevent overheating. Put the edge back on your tools first. 

Get proper equipment for the project. The bench grinder should be powerful enough to maintain the wheel speed. Using a minimum of the eight-inch wheel is the smallest you can use. Get the right grinding wheel. The grade of the wheel tells you the hardness of the wheel material. For sharpening chisels, a grinding wheel with medium hardness and grit size of 60 is ideal. 

A well mounted and properly positioned bench grinder becomes sturdy. A waist height allows you to work standing straight to prevent fatigue. A grinding jig keeps your chisels at the perfect angle. 

Using an angle grinder

There are multiple methods used on the skew chisel. Operating it from the angle grinder starts with setting the grinder’s tool rest at an angle that the bevel matches the wheel’s surface. 

Sharpening a straight-edge skew is challenging since the skew is a difficult tool to sharpen. It comes with flat bevels. When you purchase a skew, it should have a hollow grind as it comes from the store. The first thing you must do is sharpen it and flatten the bevels.

David D. Hughes
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