General Information on Sharpening Wood Carving Tools


Typical Grinding Media Used
  • SG-250 Original Grindstone, graded course
  • DC-250 Diamond Wheel Course
  • 60 grit ProEdge Zirconium Belt
  • Very friable grindstone : 80 - 100 grit
  • Sandpaper : <100 grit

Shaping the Tool - Wood carving tools are typically only (re)shaped once in their lifetime. And that happens when the carver gets the tool from the manufacturer, and adjusts it to their own preferences. But, this is a pretty substantial process for carving tools.

  • These tools are not typically made from hard metals like high speed steel (HSS) or with carbide inserts.
  • Additionally, the cutting edge is usually not too large (like on a woodturning skew chisel). Thusly, there is not a need to go thru the reshaping process when changing the edge angle. The sharpening process can address that pretty quickly.
  • Finally, the cutting edge adjustments are typically 2° - 5°, and again, the sharpening process can address that pretty quickly.


Typical Grinding Media Used
  • SG-250 Original Grindstone, graded fine
  • DE-250 Diamond Wheel Extra Fine
  • DF-250 Diamond Wheel Fine
  • 120 grit ProEdge Zirconium Belt
  • Pedia ProEdge Diamond Belt
  • 600 grit ProEdge Trizact Belt
  • 1,200 grit ProEdge Trizact Belt
  • Very friable grindstone : 150 - 180 grit
  • Sandpaper : 150 - 250 grit

Sharpening the Tool - Carving tools are typically sharpened

  • softer woods - pretty rarely, maybe only at the start of the day.
  • harder woods - more often
  • when using a mallet - also more often ... especially if the tool is dropped !
  • when the tool is dropped - every time


Typical Grinding Media Used
  • SJ-250 Japanese Waterstone
  • 3,000 grit ProEdge Trizact Belt
  • Leather honing wheel with a honing compound
  • Paper wheel with a honing compound or diamond honing paste
  • Leather strop (e.g., horse butt leather) with a honing compound
  • Medium density fibreboard (MDF) shaped for the tool's edge, and using a honing compound or diamond paste

Stropping the Tool - Carving tools are typically stropped often. Very often.

My personal preference is to hone on a wheel at the start of the process, and then later, hone on either a leather strop or shaped MDF with a honing paste of some sort.

Some good web sites for learning about stropping carving tools include :