2009/04/13

Ways to Sharpen Tools

Handymen always meet a trouble that those hand tools such as shovels, planes, hoes, gouges, chisels and other woodworking tools all become dull after repeated use or non-use with longtime. In addition, the bevel sometimes requires repair because of nicks, and at the very least, sharp edges must be maintained to properly do the job.

It does not take the skills of a professional to sharpen hand tools and sharpen them properly. Instead of casting dull hand tools aside or making an easy job more difficult than it really should be, use the following information to give the blades of hand tools a good working edge. Hand tools of all types are really very easy to sharpen, and with proper care and a little know-how, quality hand tools can last a lifetime.

Bevel Angles

Before you begin to sharpen hand tools of any type it is important to know the proper bevel angles for specific tools. A chisel or a plane at the tip should be beveled between thirty and thirty-five degrees. Below the tip the edge should be beveled between twenty-five and thirty degrees. A garden hoe or shovel should have a seventy-five degree angle along the edge. Be sure to observe the original bevel of the hand tools you intend to sharpen in an effort to maintain the proper angles. Consider investing in a honing guide before you begin to sharpen hand tools of any type. It will help you maintain the correct angles according to the hand tools you intend to sharpen, and it will provide the necessary information regarding blade types.

Sharpening a Dull Blade

Before you begin the sharpening process, it is important to know how to test your blade for sharpness. A number of simple tests exist, but you should pick the one that you feel most comfortable with. Then hold the blade with the edge in line with a strong light source and move it back and forth a bit. If you see a reflection or glint then you have a dull blade. There are blade edge testing kits if you plan on testing your blade quite a bit and are uncomfortable with your skills as a sharpness detector; however, they can often be fairly expensive and confusing to use.

Choosing a File or Stone

Various types of sharpening stones are available, and the stones used to sharpen specific hand tools will depend upon the blades. Select a stone with medium grit for hand tools that require a sharp fine edge. Examples of these types of hand tools are chisels, gouges, and planes. A stone with coarse grit may be necessary if the blade is nicked, excessively dull, or otherwise damaged.

Sharpening a tool requires three steps: filing, honing and burnishing. As seen in the diagram -- which is an exaggerated illustration of what a properly sharpened hand-scraper should look like -- the sides are flat, and the edge has a burr that's turned over into a hook.

Filing removes all traces of the previous burr, and flattens the edge. Honing prepares the edge by polishing the metal, removing any deep scratches left by filing, and flattens the edges of the scraper so that they are square. Burnishing raises the burr, then turns it over into a hook. The hook is the cutting surface.

The above three points are important for you to sharpen your tools. It is also a kind of skill that need you to exercise usually.

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