Grind Twice, Young Chiseler


“Do not condemn the cutting qualities of a new tool until you have ground it more than once, as invariably you will find a perfect edge on the second if not the first time grinding.”

— Charles Buck, of Buck Bros., in “A Few Points on Sharpening to Users of Wood Working Tools.” For more on “decarb,” see this old post I wrote.

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5 Responses to Grind Twice, Young Chiseler

  1. I have found this to be true, even of my Lie Nielsen chisels. Especially in terms of edge retention, more so than edge quality. I remember someone complaining about their LN chisels edge life before I purchased mine. I wish I could remember who it was, so I could go back and ask them if they ever reground the edge.


  2. Eric R says:

    Sage Advice…..


  3. woodworkerme says:

    I have never had this problem as I buy mostly used tools. but I have made a few molding planes and made the irons from old files. so I will keep this info logged in my head for when I do have a problem. I guess I have been lucky with the treating of the steel.


  4. Niels Cosman says:

    I found this with one or two of my Ray Iles Mortising chisels (which are most excellent). On the couple of joints the edge folded quickly and I found I was having to resharpen almost immediately. After a single light grind, it was quite durable and could take a beating, literally.


  5. I personally have no scientific proof of this but I have spoken to a number of people whose opinion I trust and they offered the following basic theory…

    …most edge tools are ground before they are hardened as its easier to do, then they are hardened which can affect the steel at a molecular level and as the very tip of the edge tool is much thinner than the rest of the tool then its possible that the very tip can have a somewhat coarse / crumbly texture (i.e. carbide crystals can form near the edge) which sometimes will not have good edge retention…once you grind through this then you are in to the thicker section of blade and the crystal structure is more uniform and will hold and edge better…

    Or I could be a real sucker who believes people who sound confident!

    I’m sure Karl Holtey / Ron Hock or one of the other metallurgist / blade makers could confirm properly.


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