I try and try to sharpen my chisels on my grinder but I never get a straight sharp edge. Aside from an expensive jig, is there another way to do this? (Same goes for my lawnmower blades and axes.)
Michael Dresdner: How about an inexpensive jig?
There are several on the market, but if you really want to save money, make one yourself. All it takes is two pieces of wood and a couple of bolts.
Rather than explain it, I will direct you to Ian Kirby’s book “Sharpening with Waterstones.” In it, he shows you how to make simple, effective holding jigs for grinding a variety of blades, and they cost well under a dollar. Is that inexpensive enough?
Rob Johnstone: Sometimes in my more paranoid moments, I think that grinder manufactures are in cahoots with chisel makers. One really quick way to ruin a good edge on a knife or chisel is to fire up your standard grinder and start making sparks fly. The perfect cutting edge, as my luthier instructor, Larry Frye, used to say is “infinitely thin and infinitely smooth – anything less is a compromise.” I’m with Michael, what you need to do is read Ian’s book, make a simple jig and get a bit of practice. Soon your friends and neighbors will be asking you to sharpen their tools.