Wood Carving Chisel

Guidelines shown below are for the cutting edge angle. Since this the entirety of the blade's cutting edge is honed, no secondary / micro bevel is given (as with Bench Chisels).

The angle () is the effective grind angle at the chisel point. The angle measured with the Tormek WM-200 AngleMaster will be greater than , but only by a very small amount.

General Guidelines
Material Notes
Hand Work Mallet Work
Softer woods 15° 18° - 20°
e.g., bass or tupelo
Medium woods 17.5°
20° - 22.5°
e.g., maple
Harder woods 20°
23° - 25°
e.g., ash or oak

Notes & Comments
  • Carving edges are typically not reground; only to reshape them, or repair a problem with the edge. More commonly, the edge is simply honed on the leather wheel.

  • R.M. Mottola has published a good set of instructions on Sharpening, Honing and Polishing Gouges and Other Carving Tools.

  • Hollow grinding on the back of the bench chisels (traditional, not Japanese chisels) is recommended by some, including by Garret Hack. Two videos below show that process.

  • Some information presented is from the Tormek handbook, Water Cooled Sharpening of Edge Tools, © Tormek AB.
  • Chisel edge nomenclature

  • If this chisel is to have a skewed end (as shown to the right), it is recommended that not be greater than 20°, as a more acute angle will tend to cause the chisel to drift to the side when using it. 15° is a better target for the maximum.

Tormek Live Sharpening Class - Part 3 - Chisels, plane irons & Tormek grinding wheels

Sebastien and Wolfgang offer some great tips on the sharpening of chisels & plane irons using the various Tormek grinding wheels, including the use of the diamond wheels.

  • At 00:46, there is a great explanation of sharpening a tool with a radiused end using the SE-77 Square Edge Jig.

  • At 00:52, there is a great explanation of how to use the MB-100 Multi Base.
Tormek SE-76 Square Edge Jig
Using the SE-77 Jig to Camber a Plane Blade on the Tormek Sharpener
Tormek SVH-60 Straight Edge Jig
(no longer sold)
Tormek AngleMaster WM-200
Sharpening with Garrett Hack - Hollow Grinding on Chisels and Plane Blades
Hollow-grinding a chisel with a Dremel tool

Tormek is a copyrighted logo of Tormek AB. Its presentation on this site is used to help the user quickly understand when specific Tormek tools, jigs, or setting are being used. For specific information regarding Tormek AB, or its products, please refer to the www.Tormek.com.

About this site
Remember : The goal of sharpening is to produce sharp tools, and these tools can injure you if mishandled. Safety measures should be followed to protect yourself and those in your shop. Be sure to read and follow all instructions from the manufacturer, and and utilize proper safety equipment. Never consume alcohol or anything that could impair your judgement before sharpening tools, or using sharp tools. Comments can be sent via eMail to me at SharpeningHandbook@Gmail.com.