How to Sharpen Chisels on a Bench Grinder: The Ultimate Guide for Precise Cutting

how to sharpen chisels on a bench grinder 2

Are you tired of struggling with dull chisels that just won’t make the cut? Well, fear not because sharpening your chisels on a bench grinder can save you from frustration and wasted time. A bench grinder is a powerful tool that can help you achieve a razor-sharp edge on your chisels. When done correctly, sharpening on a bench grinder can be quick, easy, and provide excellent results.

However, using a bench grinder comes with a certain level of skill and technique to avoid damaging your chisels. In this blog, we will discuss the step-by-step process of sharpening chisels on a bench grinder, including the tools you’ll need and the safety precautions you should take. We’ll also provide tips on how to maintain your chisels’ sharpness, so they always perform at their best.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned woodworker, this blog will equip you with the knowledge and confidence to sharpen your chisels like a pro using a bench grinder. So, grab your chisels and let’s get started!

Step 1: Prepare the Chisel

If you’re wondering how to sharpen chisels on a bench grinder, look no further! The first step is to prepare the chisel itself. Begin by removing any visible rust or dirt, which can dull the blade over time. If necessary, use a wire brush or sandpaper to clean the surface of the chisel before proceeding.

Next, check the angle of the blade. Most chisels have a bevel of around 25 degrees, but this can vary depending on the type of chisel and its intended use. Make sure you know the correct angle for your particular chisel before beginning the sharpening process.

Once the blade is clean and the angle is correct, you’re ready to move on to the next step!

Clean the chisel

Before cleaning a chisel, it is important to prepare it. Begin by removing any excess materials or debris from the tool using a brush or cloth. This ensures that the chisel is relatively clean and ready for a deeper clean.

Next, use a sharpening stone to hone the blade and remove any nicks or imperfections. This not only improves the chisel’s performance but also makes it easier to clean. Be sure to sharpen both sides of the blade evenly, keeping in mind that a well-sharpened chisel will be easier to clean.

Once the chisel has been sharpened, use a cloth or paper towel to wipe it down and remove any remaining debris or metal filings. Now the chisel is ready to be thoroughly cleaned. Remember to handle the tool carefully and wear protective gear to avoid any injuries.

how to sharpen chisels on a bench grinder

Inspect the edge for nicks or chips

As you prepare your chisel for use, it’s important to take the time to carefully inspect the edge for nicks or chips. Even the smallest imperfection in the edge of your chisel can result in poor performance and unsatisfactory results. Begin by holding the chisel up to a light source and examining the edge from different angles.

Look for any signs of damage, such as chips, dents, or nicks. These can occur from regular wear and tear or from improper use, such as using the chisel to pry or scrape rather than making clean cuts. If you notice any imperfections, it’s important to take the time to address them before using the chisel.

A chisel with a damaged edge can not only ruin your project but can also be dangerous to use, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right. By carefully inspecting the edge of your chisel before use, you can ensure a better result and a more satisfying woodworking experience.

Step 2: Adjust the Grinder

When it comes to sharpening your chisels on a bench grinder, the second step is to adjust the grinder. This is where you will set the angle of the chisel and determine how much material you want to remove. First, make sure the grinder is unplugged before making any adjustments.

You will need to adjust the tool rest to the desired angle, usually around 25 degrees for most chisels. Once the angle is set, adjust the distance between the chisel and the grinding wheel. The closer the two are, the more material will be removed.

It’s important to strike a balance between sharpening the edge and removing too much material, which can shorten the life of your chisel. Take your time and make small adjustments until you find the perfect balance. With the grinder properly adjusted, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step in sharpening your chisels.

Set the angle of the grinder

When it comes to using a grinder, the angle is crucial in determining how well your job will turn out. So, the second step to using a grinder is adjusting the grinder’s angle. The angle of the grinder should be adjusted depending on what task you want to fulfill.

A lower angle is required for tasks like sharpening and shaping, while a higher angle is required for tasks like smoothing out rough edges. Adjusting the angle of the grinder will ensure that your job is done according to your expectations and will result in a perfect finish. Similar to playing a musical instrument, adjusting the grinder’s angle requires precision and attention to detail.

With practice, initially starting with a higher angle to sharpen and then adjusting as you go, you’ll be able to master the angle in no time and achieve professional results.

Adjust the spark guard

Adjusting the spark guard is an important step when it comes to adjusting your grinder. The spark guard is a safety feature that helps to prevent sparks and debris from flying out of the grinder and potentially causing injury. To adjust the spark guard, start by loosening the screws or bolts that hold it in place.

Then, reposition the guard so that it is positioned correctly, allowing for proper protection. Once you have the spark guard in place, use a screwdriver or wrench to tighten down the screws or bolts that hold it in place. Remember to always keep your safety in mind when working with a grinder, and never operate the machine without the proper safety measures in place.

With a properly adjusted spark guard, you can rest easy knowing that you are protected while using your grinder.

Step 3: Sharpening the Chisel

If you’re looking for a simple and effective way to sharpen your chisels, using a bench grinder can be a great option. To sharpen your chisel, you’ll need to use a grinding wheel with an appropriate grit, typically around 60-80. Start by positioning your chisel at a 25-30 degree angle against the wheel, making sure to keep your fingers clear.

Move the chisel back and forth along the wheel, rotating it as necessary, until you see a shiny edge develop. Be sure to frequently cool the chisel in water to avoid overheating the metal. Once you have a sharp edge, you can refine it further with a honing stone or strop.

By following these steps, you can quickly and easily sharpen your chisels for use in your woodworking projects.

Grind the edge of the chisel

Now that you have flattened the back of your chisel and created a bevel, it’s time to take it to the next level by grinding the edge of the chisel. This is the step where you’ll be creating the razor-sharp edge that will enable you to work with wood with ease. To do this, you need a grinding stone, a lubricating oil, and a steady hand.

Start by lubricating the stone with oil and placing the chisel at a 25-degree angle. Use your dominant hand to hold the chisel and the other to guide it. Begin by running the chisel over the stone a few times, applying gentle and even pressure.

Then, angle your chisel slightly and repeat the process until you’ve gone all the way through the bevel and reached the edge. Once you’ve got the edge down, repeat the process on the other side of the chisel. Remember to use even pressure and take your time to get a sharp and smooth edge.

This step is crucial to achieving the perfect chisel sharpness and making your woodworking experience more enjoyable.

Flip the chisel and grind the other side

Sharpening a chisel is an essential task for woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts alike. To achieve a sharp and accurate cutting edge, it’s important to flip the chisel and grind the other side. This ensures that the bevel is symmetrical and properly aligned with the edge.

To do this, you’ll need to secure the chisel in a sharpening jig or vise and use a coarse sharpening stone to grind away the previous edge. Take care to maintain the angle of the bevel and apply even pressure as you work. Once the initial grinding is complete, switch to a finer grit stone to refine the edge and remove any burrs or imperfections.

With a well-sharpened chisel, you’ll be able to make crisp cuts and precise shapes, whether you’re working on fine cabinetry or a simple DIY project. So take the time to sharpen your chisels properly and enjoy the satisfaction of working with a quality tool.

Polish the chisel edge with a honing stone

Sharpening the chisel is the next critical step in bringing the blade to its best form. After creating a tightly-beveled edge, it’s time to whet the blade using a honing stone. With a non-slip surface, the honing stone allows you to re-grind any uneven spots or edges.

To begin, add oil or water to the stone’s surface and use light pressure to concentrate on the edge of the chisel while maintaining a consistent angle. Move forwards and backward, maintaining the angle and constantly checking the blade’s edge until it’s smooth and shiny. The honing stone is essential to the process, and it restores the microscopic roughness that makes a chisel’s edge effective.

Once finished with the honing stone, use a clean cloth to remove any excess debris, and then you have a polished, razor-sharp edge. Sharpening a chisel is a skill, and with consistent practice and a lot of patience, it becomes relatively easy.

Step 4: Test the Chisel for Sharpness

When it comes to sharpening chisels on a bench grinder, testing the chisel for sharpness is a crucial step. After grinding the bevel and creating a new edge, it’s important to make sure that the chisel is sharp enough to use efficiently. One way to test the sharpness is by making light cuts on a piece of scrap wood.

If the chisel cuts through the wood cleanly with minimal effort, then it’s sharp enough to use. However, if the chisel struggles to make a clean cut or tears the wood fibers, then it needs further sharpening. Repeat the sharpening process until the chisel cuts smoothly through the wood, ensuring that it’s sharp enough for your next woodworking project.

With these easy steps, you can sharpen your chisels like a seasoned woodworker and achieve professional-level cuts every time.

Test the edge on a piece of wood

Testing the sharpness of your chisel blade is an important step before you begin any woodworking project. To do this, you can take a piece of scrap wood and hold the chisel blade at a 20-degree angle against the wood surface. Make sure to apply even pressure and drag the blade across the wood in a controlled motion.

If the blade is dull, it will not cut through the wood fibers easily and may require several passes to make a shallow groove. On the other hand, if the blade is sharp, you should be able to make a deep and clean cut without much effort. Take note of any inconsistencies in the blade’s edge, such as chips or nicks, and use a sharpening stone or sandpaper to remove them before proceeding with your project.

By following this simple step, you can ensure that your chisel blade is sharp enough to tackle any woodworking task with ease.


There you have it, folks! Sharpening chisels on a bench grinder may seem daunting, but with the right tools, technique, and a bit of patience, the results can be truly sharp and impressive. Just remember to start with a coarse grit wheel, move on to a finer grit, and use the appropriate safety gear along the way. And if all else fails, just pretend you meant to carve those extra angles into your project – it’s called artistic expression, after all!”


What equipment is necessary to sharpen chisels on a bench grinder?
To sharpen chisels on a bench grinder, you will need a bench grinder and a specialized sharpening jig.

Can bench grinders be used to sharpen other tools besides chisels?
Yes, bench grinders can be used to sharpen other tools such as knives, scissors, and axes.

How often should chisels be sharpened on a bench grinder?
It depends on how frequently the chisels are used, but as a general rule, they should be sharpened every 3-5 sharpening sessions.

Is it necessary to wear protective gear when sharpening chisels on a bench grinder?
Yes, it is recommended to wear protective gear, including safety glasses and gloves, when sharpening chisels on a bench grinder.

Should you oil or lubricate your chisels before sharpening them on a bench grinder?
No, it is not necessary to oil or lubricate your chisels before sharpening them on a bench grinder. In fact, it is recommended to avoid doing so, as the oil or lubricant can damage the grinding wheel.

Can you damage your chisels if you sharpen them too much on a bench grinder?
Yes, if you sharpen your chisels too often or for too long on a bench grinder, you can overheat the tool and damage the temper.

What angle should you sharpen your chisels to on a bench grinder?
It depends on the type of chisel and its intended use, but as a general rule, a 25-degree angle is suitable for most chisels.

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