Sharpening A Cheap Chisel: Does It Worth It ? 6 Questions Answered

A chisel is one of the essential tools you need as a builder. Its versatility means you can use it for multiple tasks at the construction site, like cutting bricks, shaving masonry, and trimming timbers and carpentry.

You need a new quality and sharp chisel for all these tasks because it makes your work simple and fast. Purchase a new sharp chisel even if it costs more money.Sharpening A Cheap Chisel

What about buying a cheap chisel and sharpening it when it goes blunt– won’t it function effectively? Well, the sincere answer is that such chisels won’t be as effective as the new ones. Besides, sharpening a cheap blunt chisel doesn’t worth the time, energy, and stress.

Read more to discover why sharpening a blunt chisel isn’t the best alternative to purchasing a quality, sharp, and expensive chisel that guarantees a more effective and speedy work rate.

This page also discusses other crucial things about sharpening a chisel, including the better oil, the best sharpening angle, etc.


Is Sharpening Cheap Chisels Even Worth It?

As mentioned earlier, sharpening cheap chisels doesn’t worth the time, stress, and energy. It takes time and energy, and you might not derive the best result.

Why You Shouldn’t Consider Sharpening A Cheap Chisel

Below are some of the reasons why you shouldn’t consider sharpening a cheap Chisel

It is time-consuming:

Are you willing to spend hours sharpening a chisel when there are other important tasks to accomplish? If no, don’t consider it as an option.

Sharpening a chisel isn’t child’s play; it takes more than 30 minutes if you want a very sharp one.

It can be stressful:

Sharpening a blunt chisel is only a time-consuming task; it also drains energy and strength. You need much energy to get good and desired results.

It doesn’t worth the stress unless you are just doing it to learn how to sharpen a chisel.

It doesn’t make it a new and better one:

A cheap blunt chisel will remain one even if you sharpen it from now till tomorrow. Let’s not downplay the fact it will be sharper than before; sharpening won’t make it better than the expensive and new ones.

You can’t compare the quality of an expensive chisel to an old one, regardless of how long you sharpen it. High-priced chisels feature edible and durable materials that can resist pressure and last long.

On the contrary, many cheap chisels feature poor materials that can’t stand the sharpening pressure. They are prone to damage if you sharpen them regularly for a long time.

Sharpening costs money:

Sharpening a chisel isn’t just about the stress, it will cost you some amount of money. You will purchase the materials needed for the sharpening exercise.

You might be thinking of hiring a chisel sharpening service, which is a good idea.

However, you should be ready to part ways with some money because sharpening a chisel isn’t free.

Though the cost of sharpening chisels depends on size and type, you need some amount to hire a quality chisel sharpening service in Europe and other parts of the world.

What’s the essence of spending such an amount on sharpening a cheap and blunt chisel when you can get a brand new one if you add a little amount to the service charge?

Poor Edge Retention:

Cheap chisels have poor edge retention, meaning they can’t retain sharpening for a long period.

Their edge retention ability is so poor that you might have to sharpen them twice before completing a task. This is one of the primary reasons why you should ignore the cheapest chisel in the market.

Though the price is high, a new and expensive chisel guarantees laudable edge retention. You won’t have to sharpen them regularly before using them for your project. This means you won’t experience the stress of sharpening a chisel now and then.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sharpening Chisels

How much does it cost to get chisels sharpened?

The cost of sharpening a chisel varies from one place to another due to many factors.

The type and size chisel are significant factors determining how much it will cost to sharpen a chisel.

The expertise and experience of the sharpening service are also determining factors.

Nonetheless, the cost of sharpening a chisel ranges from $10 to $15 in the US and many parts of the world. Hence, ensure you have at least $10 before visiting any chisel sharpening service near you.

Why Can’t I get my chisels sharp?

There are many reasons why your chisels aren’t sharp despite all your efforts. Let’s discuss the problems and their possible solutions.

  • Poor honing skills or techniques

You won’t come close to having a sharp chisel if you have a poor honing technique. You need to master the technique deployed by many experts if you want a sharp chisel.

Learn how to hone the cutting edge, not the middle of the bevel. Stop flattening anywhere far from the cutting edge if you want the desired outcome.

We advise you watch YouTube tutorials on how to sharpen a chisel or how to improve your honing techniques.

  • You are using the wrong stone

Sharpening stones play a significant role in the whole sharpening process. You can’t get a smooth chisel if your stone isn’t compatible with your chisel.

You use the right sharpening stone for the chisel to save time and energy. Using incompatible stones won’t produce an impressive result, and it could damage the blade geometry in the long run.

In the same vein, use a flat stone while sharpening your knife, chisels, and cutting equipment. Whether it’s water, oil, diamond, or Arkansas, ensure you flatten your stone before using it.

  • Your Finishing Abrasive Isn’t Good Enough

You couldn’t get a sharp chisel because the final finishing abrasive wasn’t good enough to produce your desired outcome.

For instance, finishing at a 4000-grit water stone, 1200-grit diamond stone, or a soft Arkansas stone won’t produce the sharp edge needed to carve a hardwood.

You must reach 8000 grit when sharpening the chisel with a diamond or water stone. Anything lesser won’t give the desired sharpness and efficiency.

  • The Sharpening Angle Is Too High

An extremely high sharpening angle will result in hard penetration, meaning the chisel won’t easily cut or trim the wood.

This means you will apply much force when using the chisel due to a higher final sharpening angle.

The solution to this problem involves targeting a low final sharpening angle. For instance, a bench chisel should feature 25° angle and 5° secondary bevel.

What is the easiest way to sharpen a chisel?

According to Petter Lund, whetstone is arguably the easiest way to sharpen a chisel. This method involves sharpening the chisel with three quality whetstones of 1000, 2000, and 5000 grit. You can purchase the stones from Amazon or other online stores.

You will also need a diamond stone to flatten your whetstone. Get a sharpening station for more convenience and safety.

Flatten the whetstones using the diamond stone, soak the three stones for about five minutes, and arrange the honing guide to fit your angle on the blade.

Start sharpening the bevel once the chisel is flat on the backside. Click here to read more on sharpening your chisel via the whetstone method.

Do cold chisels need sharpening?

Yes, sharpen your cold chisels when they are blunt or dull. Meanwhile, below is a brief step-by-step guide to sharpening cold chisels:

  • Wear your eyes protector and other protective gear.
  • Prepare your metal-capable grinding wheel.
  • Turn it on and explore the slowest setting option.
  • Firmly hold the cold chisel. Then, let the cutting edge touch the side of

grinding wheel.

  • The grinding wheel will sharpen the cold chisel as long as they come in contact.

However, ensure the chisel doesn’t become too hot because it will affect the efficiency in the long run. You can read a detailed article about the cold chisel sharpening process here.

Is oil or water better for sharpening?

Oil stones are better for sharpening than water stones because you don’t have to dress or flatten them too often. Similarly, oil stones are more durable than water stones.

The only drawback to the oil stone is that they are not the best option for inexperienced users. They can be messy sometimes.

What oil do you use to sharpen chisels?

Refined Mineral oil is the best option for sharpening chisels as it doesn’t harden or turn rancid. It is light and compatible with almost all stones.

Working with a non-hardening mineral oil prevents unhealthy odors and fumes that could cause health problems.

Though some people use vegetable oil for its affordability, it’s not an ideal honing oil because it could clog a stone due to its high hardening capacity.


As much as you want to reduce your expenses, don’t choose an extremely cheap chisel over a slightly expensive one.

You might end up spending more money sharpening it without getting the desired sharpness and efficiency.


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