DIY sharpening chisels & drill bits

As most professional handymen would know, if you are an aspiring handyman or a home improvement enthusiast you will require a knowledge of sharpening in order to keep an edge on the tools you use.  There is nothing better than having a bunch of sharp chisels for any woodworking situation, sharp drill bits to tear through anything you want to make a hole in, and sharp hand planer blades to effortlessly glide through catching doors windows or whatever you need them for!!

There are many professional ways to sharpen chisels , drill bits and blades, however I am going to show you how  I have been doing it without buying sharpening machines and expensive guides and diamond stones. You may have some of the stuff lying around and then again you may not.

Setting the blade back

I appolagise if this is not the correct sharpening term for what I am trying to explain, however any active handyman will end up with a bunch of chisels with bits brocken on the sharp edges. This comes from catching them on screws and pins hidden in timber. In this situation one can iether buy new chisels or brave the action of “setting them back”.

rsz_sam_1174 (1)To do this you will need some form of flat aggressive (diamond, stone, carben fibre) wheel on a rotating machine. Professional carpenters who sharpen their own chisels would have a bench grinder or sharpening machine. However I am just a handyman that operates out of a few bags of tools and dont have workshop space. So I have fashined my own bench grinder out of an old tile saw, and a carbon fibre steal grinding disk.


Another thing I use to “set my blades back ” is my variable speed Makhita grinder with a diamond blade as you can see in the image below. I can appreciate that not many handymen will posess a polishing grinder however if you do it works!


Before setting a chisel blade back it is best to create a flat front edge with a file.You will need to use the flatness of a hand file to create the flat edge on your chisel when you file down the edge to remove any chips in the edge.


Once you have filed your chisel flat and removed enough material with your makeshift sharpeners, you will land up with a chisel that is ready for proper sharpening. The edge at this point will be course and will not stay sharp for very long should you choose not to use the sequence of sharpening to finer grits.

Sharpening sequence

When you start bringing your chisels and blades to an edge you will need a standard oil stone that most tradesman have, or if you are lucky enough to have diamond stones even better! It is also advisable to have something that is even finer than the light side of an oil stone. I use my little ceramic sharpener (in the images below) right at the end to add a polish to the edge and bring it to a proper blade. rsz_sam_1172


Getting used to sharpening

SAM_1177There is only one way to get this right and that is to do it often. Get yourself a little tool bag specifically for sharpening and put all your chisels, planers, sharpening stones, oils, disks etc and just sharpen your stuff!! You will eventually get a feel for it and the angles right etc, and ever sharper edges on your blades.