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 mix coarseness’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.