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How to Sharpen Your Wood Carving Tools with a Diamond Stone (Video Tutorial by Joe Dillett)

If you missed the first part of this series, check it out here: Dick Belcher on Sharpening Wood Carving Tools 


Joe Dillett is a Master Craftsman. He has more than 35 years experience as a professional carver and 30 years as an instructor, using primarily hand tools to create his work. 


In this video, Joe demonstrates how to sharpen your wood carving tools with Schaaf Tools Double-Sided Diamond Sharpening Stone. 

Schaaf Tools Diamond Stone Instruction Video Notes:

- How well you can sharpen your tools accounts for 90% of a carver's success

- Most people don't practice sharpening enough

- You must first understand the principles of sharpening

Understanding Angles (Timestamp 1:11)

- Woodcarving tools are carving in grain

- You can use just a piece of paper to create a gauge for the angle you want for you carving tools. Fold it to 45 degrees, and then fold it again for an angle of 22.5 degrees 

Sharpening Equipment (Timestamp 3:30) 

- Oil Stones, Ceramic Stones and Diamond Sharpening Stones

- Leather Strops

The Geometry of Sharpening a Tool (Timestamp 5:58)

- The bevel does not need to be completely flat. Joe prefers one that is slightly curved

- Keeping your corners slightly rounded for control versus sharp corners

- Personal preference is key. Everybody sharpens differently, and that's okay. Find what works for you

How to Sharpen (Timestamp 7:43)

- Use a honing oil or a mineral oil. Don't use vegetable oil because it will turn rancid

- The Diamond Stone will last longer if you use a lubricant

- 400 Grit is Coarse and 1000 Grit is to get your blade ready for the strop

- If you don't have an angle gauge, use your piece of paper (bent to 22.5 degrees) for reference 

- It doesn't make a difference which direction you go. Joe like to move the blade in tight, quick circles. Lock your wrist so the angle doesn't change. Continue sharpening until you feel a burr. 

- Next, use your strop to finish it off. Rub compound onto your Strop. Your tools should be razor sharp once the process is finished. 

How to Check to Make Sure Your Tools are Razor Sharp

(Timestamp: 14:30)

- Hold your thumbnail at a 45 degree angle. Slide your tool against the thumbnail. If it aggressively catches your nail, it is sharp!

Sharpening Tips, Continued - Practicing with a knife

(Timestamp: 14:50)

- Difference between cardboard, leather and wood for your strop material

- Leather can roll your edge, so if you're using leather, as opposed to wood, for instance, you have to slightly adjust the angle as you strop 

- Moving from the 400 Grit Coarse Side to the 1000 Grit Finer Side

- Make sure to keep the same angle when you move to the strop

- Once you can get a sharp edge on your knife, its time to move on to one of your gouges

Sharpening the #7-14mm gouge from the Schaaf Tools 12pc Chisel Set (Timestamp 20:40)

- Place your paper gauge next to the stone for reference

- On the 1000 Grit side of your Sharpening Stone, rock the curved gouge side to side while sharpening in a circular motion until you feel a burr 

- Now move on to the strop 

Why Joe recommends the Schaaf Tools Monocrystalline Diamond Sharpening Stone

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