View Full Version : Inside bevel & honing

Doug Mason
10-27-2008, 12:42 AM
Though I have been sharpening tools for the last three plus years (plane blades, chisels, etc), I am new to carving tools (I'm using Pfeil).

Having meandered over to Woodcraft this weekend to pick up some Pfeil carving tools, I was fortunate enough to bump into another carver. He told me that he only stoops--never hones. This struck me as odd--as I thought that "sometime or other" one would have to hone to rejuvenate the edge.

1) Do people generally avoid putting an inside bevel on their gouges
2) Do you find that you just stroop without honing, or do you usually hone and stroop?

In the next couple of months as I experiment with carving, I'll answer my own questions by "doing it." Just wanted to get others opinions/observations.

Daniel Heine
10-27-2008, 10:21 AM

I only take my tools to the grinding wheel when the edge has been damaged, or if the angle has been compromised. I find that regular stropping keeps a good, sharp edge, and eliminates the need to sharpen on a reh=gular basis. I know this is very different than turning, or even planes and chisels, but it works. A thin strip of leather glued to a stiff board will create your strop. The rub stropping compound onto the leather. I prefer the flexcut compound, even though I do not like their tools. Once this is done, following the profile of your tool, and maintaining the bevel, dragh the tools across the leather strop 4-6 times. Thjis will renew the edge, and it's ready to carve again. I also have a honing system I use. It consists of a hard paper wheel on one end of the grinder, and a soft, floppy wheel on the other. I apply green honing compoud to the hard wheel, and hone the gouge/chisel on that wheel. Then on the floppy wheel, floppy compund is applied, then the tool is repeated on the floppy wheel. No grinding, just a form of power honing, and it has worked great for me. Here is a link to the system:

Good luck,

Phillip Bogle
10-27-2008, 11:42 AM
I too must have every sharpening system know to man and credit card. I use Henry Taylor Acorn tools for the most part and some Flexicut (which I agree are not that nice). For my carving tools I bought a thick leather belt blank from a shoe repairman. I use the red compound on the smooth side of the leather and strop the tool. One would think that nothing is happening, but you will notice a difference in the feel and quality of cut. I also have the "Razor Sharp" system that several companies sell for about $40. It is two laminated paper wheels and compound for each. The 8" wheels are placed on bench grinder in place of the grind stones. This puts a razor sharp edge on most everything I put to it. The Razor Sharp will not reshape an edge but it will polish and finish off the edge. Overall the thought is "easy does it", and only when you need to.

Robert Rozaieski
10-27-2008, 12:34 PM
Honing a small inside bevel allows you to use your carving tools "upside down". For example, when carving a shell with convex and concave lobes, the concave lobes are carved with the bevel against the wood. When carving the convex lobes, you can invert the gouge and use it with the outside bevel up if you have a small inside bevel on the gouge. If you don't have the inside bevel, the gouge will want to dig in.

I use the slip stone only when stropping alone won't get the edge back to hair splitting sharp. When this happens, I use the stone and then finish with the strop. I don't use the stone all the time.

The carver you met at Woodcraft likely uses a power stropping setup, which is like a high speed grinder but with a hard felt or leather stropping wheel rather than a grinding stone. These wheels can cut very fast when charged with stropping compound, therefore, not requiring any stone work. If you do not use one of these machines for honing/stropping, you will eventually need to touch the edge up with a stone, especially if you carve any hardwood at all.