Sharpening Your Chip Knives

by L S Irish

Of all the elements, supplies, and tools used in creating a chip carving the angle and quality of your knife blade edge is perhaps the most important influence in cutting clean sides to your chips. Chip carving knives are straight edged short bladed tools that fit snugly into the palm of your hand.

Sharpening supplies:

1000- to 2000-grit coarse ceramic stone

6000- to 8000-grit fine ceramic stone

emery cloth

leather strop

honing compound – red oxide rouge

heavily printed newspaper


L S Irish Chip Carving 12A coarse ceramic stone (not shown) is used to create the bevel of the cutting edge. The fine grit ceramic stone sharpens that edge. When working either stone lay your knife low against the stone’s surface, pull the knife’s edge across the stone, life, turn , then pull along the opposite side of the knife.




L S Irish Chip Carving 13Strops have two sides – a finished leather side and a raw hide side. Coat the finished side with honing compound. Holding the knife low to the strop pull the blade across the honing compound. Completed the stropping by working the blade over the raw leather side.




L S Irish Chip Carving 14Give a final polishing to your blade by working it across a heavily printed newspaper. To keep your edge fresh strop the blade often during any carving session. A few pulls across the strop every half hour insures the sharpest edge possible.




L S Irish Chip Carving 15The upper left knife has been properly sharpened with a long low bevel, ready for chip carving. The lower right chip knife shows the factory honed edge.






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