how to sharpen a chisel with water stones


After researching and trying a few different types of sharpening methods this is the setup and process I have settled on.

sharpening supplies

My sharpening system is based around water stones, here is a rundown of all the supplies you’ll see in the video.



I took an old cookie sheet from the kitchen (make sure you replace it with a new one!) and screwed a piece of plywood to the bottom of it. This cleat allows me to put it in my bench vise and then I can set my water stones inside of it. This helps to collect a majority of the water. A piece of shelf liner keeps the stones form moving around.


The water stones (right to left): King 250/1000 stone, Norton 8000 stone, Norton 4000 stone. I really like the Nortons and as soon as the 250/1000 wears out I will be replacing it with Norton stones as well. Nothing is “wrong” with the king per say but I like the size of the Nortons better.


Leather strop and fine honing compound. This is used in the final step of sharpening and is also used for quick touch ups to keep the chisels sharper longer before having to return to the stones.


Fine diamond stone used for keeping the water stones flat. You can buy more expensive plates but I haven’t had any issues with this one and it does keep the stones flat.


Veritas MK II honing guide. I really like this guide. It is a bit of a splurge but it is quick and easy to setup for the angle you want and allows you to move on to a micro bevel without removing the chisel.


I picked up the belt idea from watching one of Swartz’s videos. I use a couple of pieces of ¾” mdf blocks glued together. I’ve found that they are flat enough. The sandpaper belt lasts a lot longer than standard sandpaper!