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Restoring Chisels, Turning Gouges and Other Edge Tools

  Making a Dovetailing Chisel by James D. Thompson 1 of 2  


I had 2 chisels that were really close to scrap, just taking up space, one a 1/2” and the other a 3/4”.  I decided to make something useful out of them.


I have seen dovetail chisels made by others, and I always wondered exactly how they did it.  Now I know.

The first thing I did was to blue the steel by heating it. This would allow me to grind and file the metal.  I started removing metal by using a 4 1/2” disc grinder.

I ground both sides to a point along the top edge of the chisel and all the way to a knife edge along the sides.  The metal is roughly annealed, so I can now attack it with a bastard file.  There is some metal to be removed before the flats are actually flat.

Just continue to file away the rough stuff.

At some point you will have fairly good looking flats.  Now you go to a fine file and remove the scratches left by the bastard file. Once you have done your best with the fine file, it’s time to start using sandpaper, in continuously finer grits.  Soon you have a decent looking chisel.

Now it’s time to harden the chisel.

I heated mine to a good cherry red and quenched it in water.

Then I buffed off the oxidation so I will be able to see the tempering color.

I used my propane torch to warm up the blade until it got to the straw color I wanted.

Woodworker's Guide to Wood Collection only $79.99 at Shop Woodworking
1 of 2  

D. R. Barton

L. & I. J. White


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