Sharpening Your Own Chisels and Plane Blades


Sharpen Your Own Chisels & Plane Blades

Meeting Times
  1. Thur, 9/21/2023 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Thur, 9/21/2023


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Class, Has Prerequisite

Woodworking & Small Boatbuilding Studio

General Woodworking, Hand Woodworking


Learn to give plane blades and chisels a razor-sharp edge so you can experience the joy of doing fine woodworking by hand. This class will show you how to sharpen your personal chisels to a razor-sharp cutting edge using either of two methods:

  • The system used for BARN's chisels and plane blades, which involves sharpening flat bevels using the Lie-Nielson honing guide.
  • A hollow-grind method, which involves using a grinder to create a concave bevel and then flattening the heel and toe on water stones up to 6000 grit.

The class will also cover an essential step with both methods: flatting the back of the chisel or plane blade by using sandpaper and water stones, a chore needed onlyy once in the life of a blade unless rust spots develop.

Having sharp tools, whether they’re BARN’s or your own, is not only safer, it’s also key to dramatically improving the quality of your work.

BARN's sharpening equipment is available for use during open studio times, provided you have first taken the free, one-hour Orientation to the Woodshop class. Open studio is free for members and $20 for guests.


  • Bring one or two plane or chisel blades that need sharpening, if you have them. You can get hands-on experience with the hollow-grind method only on your personal tools.
  • If you don’t have tools to bring, no problem. You can learn BARN’s method on BARN tools.

If you bring tools in really bad shape, there might not be enough time in the class to get them really sharp.


Before the class begins, you must have completed Orientation to the Woodshop.

Class Policies

  • Ages 14 and up are welcome.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes. While using grinders, you must also wear safety glasses, tie back long hair, and avoid loose-fitting clothing and jewelry. We recommend bringing your own safety glasses.

BARN Policies

Instructors or Guides

Ted Newman

Ted studied woodworking and has taught classes at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine. He is active in BARN's woodworker group and volunteers as a safety monitor.

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