Tool: DMT 6″ Diamond Whetstone Sharpener
Most of my woodworking tools are only as good as they are sharp. After learning how to correctly sharpen my chisels and plane blades my skill level as a carpenter changed forever. A properly sharpened chisel is a much more versatile tool. If you are using oil stones, like an Arkansas Stone, I suggest the DMT W6F and W6C Diamond Sharpeners.
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I carry both the DMT coarse and fine stones in my truck, foregoing the ‘extra fine’. When I am working, you will find these stones on my tailgate, where I may return more than once in a day to maintain a razor sharp edge on my work chisels. In my tool belt, I carry one chisel; a 1″ Scandinavian chisel (in above photo) recently replaced by a 1″ chisel I picked up in Prague for about $7. In my truck is a small rack in which I carry 4 work chisels. 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″ and 1-1/2″ mortising blade. In combination with the 1″ I can handle most standard carpentry tasks throughout the day.
The most important thing about properly sharpening one’s blades are the results. Not only will my wicked-sharp blade pare a smooth face, but more often than not I don’t need a hammer to make a cut. Try mortising a hinge with a dull Stanley chisel, then try with my long blade freshly sharpened. I can easily mortise a hinge by hand with one of my blades. Think it’s elementary? Well, then wonder why guys are always coming up to me asking if I’ll put an edge on their tool. Most often their chisels are beyond a fine stone’s ability and that’s why it’s important to carry these stones, bring them out on your jobsite and use them as often as needed to maintain the edge.
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In my home shop I still have a large assortment of Hard Stones all the way up to the Sun Tiger S-1 6000 grit polishing stone. The DMT diamond whetstones are a pleasure to spit on and go to town. I can’t really recommend a tool more than these. If you are just starting out or if you are using oil stones, I suggest you get yourself a $30 chisel and one of these $45 sharpening stones and your skill-level will never be the same. The quality will show in your work.
Note: In my shop I have several diamond plates by other manufacturers. These are available by grit size and come in an assortment of dimensions. I don’t use the DMT stones for my Japanese Blue Steel chisels, which are my most favored blades. My Jap steel blades never reach the point of dull that my Carpentry blades become in hours, but then again, I’m not scraping off glue from concrete with my shop blades.
DMTsharp.com – Product Data
DMTsharp.com – Instructions for Sharpening!