July 16, 2021

How to Repair a Chipped Chisel | A Practical Guide

It all started when I chipped a piece off my chisel. I did not have it professionally repaired, but I did not want the chipping to turn into cracks. So I tried to make a temporary repair. That did not work well enough until I used a putty knife on the chisel. It was like a liquid in a can.

After a week or so, the crisps had become cracks. I was annoyed that I had wasted a whole can of the stuff. After wasting so much, I did not want to waste anymore, so I decided to fill the cracks with epoxy. It was not a permanent repair because the tool was steel. It made the entire device look like a new one.

Place your chisel in a vice

Inserting your chisel into a vice secures it through clamping, so it does not move. The vice has two teeth that clap the material when using the chisel. Ensure the clamping is tight enough to hold the chisel but not break it. 

A dull chisel is prone to damage when secured. It requires more force, and it slips away when in use. Over-tightening the vice causes a snap or damage to the chisel, although the chances are slim. 

The chisel tip has to be clamped so that you start your repair. The chisel vice gives the chisel a guide when making cuts. 

Heat the chisel blank

Eating up a chisel bank is part of the sharpening and flattening process. Be careful of the amount of heat you apply. Otherwise, it breaks. Bringing the blank to red hot is the way to harden the blank. Put out the heat in oil, not water, and the oil should have a fast quench rate so that the blank does not take time to cool off the charcoal. 

Repeat heating the blank slowly and evenly using a broad flame. You are allowed to put it on a bed of charcoal until the charcoal dies out, which happens at night. The bluing point is a sign of overheating.  

The chisel comes in a soft state from the store. That is why the heating process is necessary. It is the same as low-carbon steel when you get it. Cut it with a hacksaw, grind it using a wheel and shape it with a file. The edges have to be acceptable by burning through the heat treatment. 

Get the steel to 1400 degrees and heat it till the magnet no longer sticks to the steel. Make use of forges and furnaces for the heating process. Using a torch for heat treatment is easy since the heat is concentrated. You can hold the steel on a flame until it is short enough. 

Grind down the chisel tip

Chisels go through grinding, and that gives a beveled edge. There are grinding marks on the tip of the blade as you grind the blade. What shows you that your tip is well-done is the cutting edge that becomes glassy smooth. 

A grinder replaces sandpaper that takes forever to sharpen a chisel when it is blunt. The chisel grinder heats the chisel, but too much heat will destroy it. A power tool like a bench grinder is ideal for the chisel tip. 

As you grind the chisel, remove the blued steel. The grinder comes with two types of wheels. The other one is blue-gray, and the other is white, and they both contain aluminum oxide. The darker wheel is more complex and keeps its shape longer, and it is hotter when the wood file flattens the tip and refines the shape of the chisel tip. Grinding and weakening the steel. 

The soft wheel needs regular shaping using a dressing tool. A 100-grit wheel performs better. Using the coarsest wheel on your grinder prevents overheating. The fine wheel creates more heat and friction. The wheel’s surface has to be renewed using a dressing stick. The wheel has to be clean for fast production. 

Polish the chisel sanding down the chipped area

Before polishing the chisel down to the chipped area, you must gather your tools and materials. Use high-quality sandpaper regardless of its price. Sometimes less means poor quality. Low-budget sandpaper is slow, and it wears out quickly. 

A combo pack with 80-150 and 220-grit sandpaper is ideal for high performance. A spray adhesive is one of the materials needed for sticking sandpaper to the glass. A low-tack adhesive performs better, and it is available in local shops. 

A standard spray still performs the same role. Make sure you follow the instructions on how to make a temporary bond. When changing the sandpaper, use a solvent to remove glue residue from the blade. 

Low-tack sprays do not produce less adhesive than standard sprays. Spray an adhesive onto the sandpaper and press the sandpaper onto the glass. Apply the sandpaper on both sides of the blade to prevent the blade tip from sliding around. Cut a sheet of 80-grit as you sharpen the surface. Repeat the process using 150 and 220-grit sheets. 

Fixing the chipped area with superglue

Superglue keeps a chisel in place, and that is the handle. The tip of the handles does not have to move while in use. The glue has to be removable, just in case you want to make changes to the tool. 

Super glue is easy to remove from the glass or wooden handle. Rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, or lighter fluid will do the magic. Wood glue works better on a chisel. Drill the piece of wood on a chisel and fine-tune the taper. 

Remove ½ inch strip in the middle of the holder. Test the chisel by placing it inside the hole before you add glue. When the chisel fits well, add glue to the diameter hole. There is flexibility when moving the piece, and a thin coat of glue to the holder sticks the chisel. Use masking tape to secure the chisel until it dries. 

Using a metal file

A well-sharpened chisel is a useful woodworking tool that does not slow down your pace when working on a project. Sharpening a chisel is easy using a metal file. Buying a chisel from a shop does not mean it is ready for use or sharp enough. 

The metal file shapes trim and smoothened chisels made of metal. It has hardened steel grooves that sharpen the chisel blade. The edges are sharp and smooth, no matter the type of wood. The metal file is ideal to use when more material is removed. It has to be re-sharpened for effectiveness. 

Using a wood file

A wooden file is a coarse file that consists of sharp-pointed projections. It smoothes both the metal and wooden parts of the chisels. It works better on wood grain and gives you a revived surface that looks new. 

The wood file flattens the tip and refines the shape of the chisel tip. That increases the performance of the chisel, and it is as durable as the metal file. Test the chisel for sharpness using a rage.

David D. Hughes
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