How to Sharpen Carving Tools

Suppose you own carving tools and notice how they get blunt after using them for a certain period; it’s excellent news. Many people regularly use carving tools and don’t realize that their tools don’t carve that well, after some time as they get blunt.

Now that you have realized that, here is the solution. In this article, we will provide you the information you need on how to sharpen carving tools. Get ready for some fantastic carving!

How Often Should I Sharpen My Carving Tools?

How often you need to sharpen your tools majorly depends on how often you are using them.

However, not to worry, we are not going to leave you hanging.

If you are someone who carves very often, you need to sharpen your tools more often. All carving tools don’t get utilized the same amount.

You first need an angle finding tool that will assist you find the angle of every carving tool.

If your tool’s angle is off by a number higher than 3 degrees, you need to sharpen it.

The Carving or Whittling Knife

This tool needs an angle of 17-19 degrees.

The Wood Chisel

The metal stalk is at an angle of 30 degrees, where it curves inward.

The Detail Knife

These knives should be in the 10-to-12-degree range.

Gouges or Veiners

The ideal angle for this tool is between 23 to 27 degrees.

When it comes to these carving tools’ angles, even a 2-degree change can alter the feel you have with them.

What Do I Need for Sharpening My Carving Tools?

You need safety gear, first of all.

You need to invest in gloves, a respirator, and a long sleeves shirt.

For the primary sharpening process, you need a sharpener.

How Do I Choose the Sharpener?

How will you know which is the right sharpener for sharpening your carving tools?

You can use three materials for sharpening your carving tools.

These are sandpaper, sharpening rotators, like a belt sander, or stones.

Stones are similar to bricks that Japanese knives are usually sharpened on. You can reply on stones as the cheapest and easiest way to sharpen your carving tools.

Sharpening rotators and sharpeners are useful tools to sharpen your carving tools but require high grit. A stone is durable and can be used for many years. However, sandpaper may not be as durable as that.

How to Sharpen Carving Tools?

The first step in sharpening your tools is to break down the metal of the blade of your tool. There will be a removal of the vanadium or steel from the blade’s end to create an edge.

Removal of some metal from the blade of your tool will not damage your carving tools. It is necessary for good outcomes of carving. Any blade has to go through this process, whether it is a kitchen knife blade or a carving tool blade.

Bring the blade of the carving tool to the sharpener you have chosen. For gouges and chisel, keep the blade at 30 degrees. For whittling knives and detail knives, hold the edge at a 17-19-degree angle.

When sharpening on a stone, put some oil on the stone. Keep your blade against the stone in a firm manner and move it from side to side.

If you use rotators such as sanding belts or whetstones, you don’t have to do much. It will do the sharpening for you. All you need to do is hold it loosely against it.

How to Sharpen Carving Tools Such as Knives

When you are sharpening a knife, you can

  • Push the knife and blade away from your side
  • Pull it towards your side
  • Make circular movements with the blade

How to Sharpen Carving Tools Like Chisels

Chisels generally have bevels on both sides. They are at 20-degree angles. The chisel needs to be held at 20 degrees to the stone. The edge needs to be glided up and down through the length of the stone.

Continue until you feel a burr edge on both of the sides of the blade. You should feel a mild roughness over the cutting edge when you drag your finger moving away from the cutting edge.

You will feel the blade to be rough at this point. It would be best to run it through the leather strop until it gets smooth on both edges.


The process of honing is when you straighten out the blade edge that you made just now.

Honing the blade of your tool is an essential step in the sharpening of your carving tools. You have just beat away some metal particles with an abrasive. Now, you need to smoothen the metal out.

You can make use of a honing rod for this purpose.

You have just made the metal blade thinner than before and much more brittle than before. It will now cut through substances easier than before.

Honing needs to be don’t 6-12 times while you are sharpening your carving tools. You can opt for a honing rod or even use a leather strop for honing.

Summing Up

Firstly, when you purchase a carving tool, make sure it is one with the right quality blade. If it is not of good quality, it will not sustain a lot of sharpening.

Once your carving tools are sharp, you will find that your carving takes significantly less time, and your finished carved products are more accurate and look much better.

Sharpening your carving tools and learning how to sharpen carving tools is a skill that is essential for you to practice well and master, whether you are carving for fun as a hobby or professionally for work.

It is time to purchase your sharpening equipment and get sharpening to create a carved masterpiece!

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