Learn How To Sharpen Your Wood Carving Tools

In this video demonstration professional wood sculptor Jude Fritts demonstrates examples on how to sharpen a gouge whilst she works on the pipe shade carvings for the pipe organ at St Philip Presbyterian Church in Houston.

It is essential to frequently sharpen your wood carving tools in order to maintain an extremely sharp edge. By not regularly sharpening your gouges or other wood carpentry tools you run the risk of either completely damaging your tools or injuring yourself because the wood tools aren’t performing to their full potential.

Jude Fritts uses Japanese water stones to sharpen her tools. After Fritts wets the stone she makes a slurry on its surface by rubbing it with a softer stone. There is much less mess involved when you use the water stones instead of the oil stones and they also sharpen much faster and smoother than an oil stone.

This demonstration also shows the motion of sharpening a gouge and the technique which is involved to correctly and efficiently attain this. Rock the chisel along its curved tip while moving it in an oval on the wet stone. She keeps her wrist at the same level so the tool is sharpened at a consistent angle. Once you get the motion down, it becomes a nice smooth rhythm that you don’t even think about and soon becomes second nature.

Check the tip of the chisel periodically as you sharpen until you get a little bit of a burr on the front. Take that off with a slip stone and then move to the polishing stone. Be sure to rinse the chisel off before you move to the next stone so as to not mixcoarseness’s. The coarse stone must also be fully rinsed down before it is placed back into the water

Two cotton buffing wheels are used to get the super sharp, mirror-like finish. Buffing wheels are often used nowadays instead of the leather strops that were traditionally used. Put a little rubbing compound on the wheel. Hold the chisel on the buffing wheel without pushing hard. Get the back and a little on the front, too. Always wipe the chisel off before you go to the next grade of compound. The result is a very shiny, razor sharp edge

In between sharpening sessions, you can use the fine buffing wheel to touch up the edges before having to sharpen again.

This demonstration of how to sharpen your tools is thorough and a very direct way to learn how to properly look after your wood carving gouges and tools.

No votes yet.
Please wait...
Who Uploaded This Tutorial?
This Video Tutorial is Tagged With:

, , , , ,

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    1. One of the cotton buffing wheels on my grinder is firm and the other, soft. Buffing compounds are graded in either numbers or letters, depending on the brand. For the firm buffing wheel, you’ll want to get hard compound — black for heavy duty cleaning. After I sharpen on my water stones, I use this to start. Always wipe it off before you go to the softer compound for use on the soft wheel. This is white rouge for shining to a high gloss finish on hard metals. Hardware stores carry these.

      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
    2. What do you carve Jude?Maybe you could show some of what you do.Also I noticed you have your grinder running towards you.I have set mine up to run away from me.I just turned the base around to do this.You seem to have the touch for sharpening.

      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
    3. Having a grinder spin downward as shown in my video is much safer. I hold my chisel with the handle up and the blade down against the wheel. The turning motion keeps the sharp end downward, so it will not fly up into your face. As far as I know — and I have some grinders that are 50 years old — grinders have always been manufactured to spin in this direction because of safety.

      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
    4. That is a very good question. You could keep the stones in separate containers of water. But this is what I do. I keep all the stones in one container of water. Each time I use one, I rinse all the slurry and debris off of it and put it back in the same tub. Clean stones can hang out together without any problem. Just make sure you wash them off when you’re finished sharpening. Thank you for your question.

      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
    5. Awesome video…thank you. Could you recommend for someone who is just starting out and does not have the great sharpening setup you do, how I could get my tools sharpen? I’ve looked locally (NC), but have not found anyone who sharpens wood carving tools.

      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
    6. Thanks for your comment, Phil. If you learn to sharpen by hand well, it doesn’t take much time. I sharpen six tools in about a half an hour and that lasts several full days of carving — with about three touch ups on the buffing wheel between each sharpening. If I didn’t touch up on the buffing wheel, I’d be sharpening on the stones a lot more. That’s the trick.

      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
    7. THERE IS NOT A GOOD SHARPENING SISTEM OUTTHERE FOR WOODCARVING TOOLS ,WHAT THEY SELL OUTTHERE IS ALL JUNK THAT DONT WORK GOOD ON WOODCARVING TOOLS THE BEST WAY IS MAKING YOUR OWN TAKE A LOOKON YOUTUBE AT: MRDAVINCICODE . I design a sharpening sistem that works perfect for woodcarving tools

      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
    8. I’m actually from the Northwest and the person filming is from Texas. The carvings that you saw in the video were for the pipe organ for St. Philip’s Presbyterian Church in Houston. If you want to see examples of my work, google Jude Fritts and you’ll find my website. You might also be interested in my brother’s website, who is the pipe organ builder. Look up Paul Fritts & Co. Thanks for your interest.

      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
    9. Thank you for this video! I’m very new to woodcarving and have been afraid to touch my gouges without understanding how to sharpen them. Your method is brilliant and very clearly explained, even for a novice like me. I have alot of work ahead of me to get the hang of that grinding rythym, hopefully I won’t ruin too many gouges in the process. Thanks again.

      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
    10. Thanks for posting this. It appears to me that you only work on the convex side, except for knocking the burr off the concave side. Do you ever have to spend more time on the concave side with a slip stone, or is it better to just take the entire end down past a problem area and then re-sharpen the convex side?I’ve had a chance to see your work at Pacific Lutheran. It’s exquisite! Thanks for the closeups on your website.

      No votes yet.
      Please wait...