I am using the method Paul teaches and I do get some very sharp edges. Problem is I always end up with the edge grinding more on one side than the other leaving me with a non square end! I try to change the pressure but then I get a slightly rounded end. Any one got any ideas other than more practice……..
Maybe you’re liftng the handle of the chisel upwards, effectively altering the bevel angle. This is more likely to happen on the back phase. It should remain at a fairly consistent angle as you move back and forth, the only exception being the slight natural arc when at the end of the push phase.
I’m also having this problem. Do you guys also end up with an unevenly shaped bevel? I get that, and the skewed edge. I can’t quite put my finger on the issue. My current thought is that I’m putting too much pressure on that side, which corresponds to the trailing edge of the chisel that winds up skewed and poorly beveled. So I’ve been trying to increase the pressure on the leading edge but I just barely started doing that so who knows if it’ll help. Trailing and leading refers to the chisel held right-handed and at 45 degrees to your left.
I’ve found that the key to getting a good straight bevel is consistency. It took me a long time before I could freehand sharpen to an angle. You just need to start very slowly and practice keeping your hand steady and moving straight.
You’ll eventually get a good feel for it, and be able to go faster as you practice. It feels and sounds rougher if you’re taking too much off somewhere or angling your hand the wrong way. If you’ve already got a bevel a bit out of whack, it may be a good idea to use (or build!) a guide to set the angle and get it sharp the first time, and then work on maintaining that angle while getting a good feel for the right motion and pressure to use free-hand.
The key here is to practice a lot, and before long you won’t remember why you were having trouble in the first place. Just like with planing and sawing, you need to get your muscles to learn what your brain already knows. Keep at it and it’ll be second nature in no time.
-Tim Anderson, UT, USA
Thanks everyone I shall keep practicing. It is good to know that I am not the only one but also sorry that you are having this problem too. I tend to wait until it is fairly bad then use a guide to get back square but I shall continue until I get the “feel”
Kiyoshigawa makes a good point about muscle memory. It’s like learning a musical instrument, or a difficult passage of music on an instrument: you go slow to make the necessary connections in your brain first, then speed up, then perform it without really thinking too much about it.
If your having difficulty, just spend a month sharpening slowly, it may feel like your not making progress, but you’ll see how beneficial it is in the long run.
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