Mortising chisel sharpening

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Thought I'd pass this potential tip along for sharpening mortising chisels. If you've got a lathe with a 4-jaw scroll chuck, that makes a handy holder for a mortising chisel. Run the lathe at slow speed and use a cone tip in your Dremel tool. A light touch works best and really get things sharpened quickly and accurately. I tried two different types of chucks and they both worked well enough to get the job done rather quickly. Obviously, care must be taken, but wood turners should be accustomed to handling sharp pointy things.

1 mort chisel - 1.jpg




1 mort chisel - 2.jpg
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
There's usually already a Dremel in most shops. One has to buy a cone sharpener. My experiences with those cone sharpeners is that the cutting edges don't last all that long on the hardened steel of a good mortising chisel. The Dremel grind stone turning at 20K makes for a very slick and sharp cutting surface.
 

Hmerkle

Board of Directors, Vice President
Hank
Corporate Member
Still laughing about "wood turners should be accustomed to handling sharp pointy things." (one of the reasons I have a first aid kit in the shop, ONE reason... ha ha
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
The point of that tip was mostly to show how easily a 4-jaw scroll wood lathe chuck can be for holding the chisel. The USA-made Greenlee type and the European type chisels have different internal angles to accommodate the different bit tip geometry. Not only will a Dremel replicate the existing angle, it gives a far better finish. Yes, there is a small degree of risk and skill involved, but not much.

Holding the Dremel on the tool rest as shown makes things pretty easy. Not using the tool rest may be a learning experience as to how hamburger is made.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Couldn't you use a three jaw chuck, holding the chisel in the rounded portion by which it mounts?
Gripping the back seems to leave a lot of chisel hanging out. What's been your experience with that method when sharpening mortising chisels?

There must be lots of different ways to accomplish that task. Like everyone, I'd love to see photos of other methods.

For me, I use a method different from a wood lathe chuck. I was merely suggesting a use of potentially existing resources a wood lathe owner may have. Certainly, no two shops will have the same equipment. My method of choice for sharpening mortising chisels uses the resources I have at hand. I sort of doubt that most readers here have the same stuff sitting in the back of their shop. The six jaw chuck alone cost me over a grand over 20 years ago. I could also rig up my tool post grinder for the sharpening but that takes a lot more setup time and the result would be no different.


1 2 HP lathe 2 - 1.jpg
 

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