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You’ve mastered sharpening your plane blades and chisels; now it’s time to work on getting those curved tools razor sharp. One way to ensure an even edge is to use a jig like the Oar Sharpener.

Designed by Ross Oar and machined in the U.S. by West Falls Woodcarvings (Ross and Barbara Oar’s company), the aluminum sharpening jig clamps over the tool to keep its edge at the correct sharpening angle.┬áBesides gouges and V-tools, the Oar Sharpener will also work with bench chisels up to 1-1/2″ wide.

The Oar Sharpener comes with complete instructions. Pricing starts around $29 before shipping.

Oar Sharpener [Stadtlander WoodCarving]
Oar Sharpener [Tools for Working Wood]
Oar Sharpener [WoodCraft]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

6 Responses to Oar’s Sharpener For Woodcarving Tools

  1. Blind says:

    Why would you want to sharpen the convex side and not the concave side?

  2. Gary says:

    Because that’s where the bevel is. The picture depicts sharpening an outcannel gouge. To sharpen an incannel gouge (bevel on the inside of the curve) you’d need a narrow grinding wheel or a profile cut in wood or leather that matches the curve. You’d then use a sharpening compound of some kind.

    Carving is a paring operation. Using a gouge with the bevel on the wrong side would mean angling the tool severely (think turning without riding the bevel) because you would be referencing the cut off of the bevel of the tool. Outcannel gouges are very good at coping inside miters for things like raised panel doors.

  3. Eric R says:

    I have one of these type sharpening jigs and it works great.

  4. Liz says:

    Do you need to be careful about what you use to sharpen the edge? I have a tendency to take off more metal then I want to when I sharpen edges.

  5. Keith says:

    Looks like a nice setup but is seriously overpriced. Should be about $9.95 considering it is about $2.00 worth of materials. One could be made easily in 30 minutes or less with even basic hand tools (hacksaw) but a lathe would be best.

  6. George B says:

    Blind –

    Carving gouges are sharpened on both sides to allow the carver to make a deeper, or shallower cut as the tool is driven through the wood, as well as to strengthen the cutting edge (back bevel). This is the standard way “European” trained carvers prep their tools.

    This jig is supposed to help maintain a consistent bevel, but you obviously will need to address the inside bevel with slip stones, strops etc.. In fact, you should sharpen the inside bevel first as this is the critical part of a carving gouge. The toolmaker establishes the sweep of the tool by swagging the gouge over a cylindrical form. Thus the inside of a carving gouge is the reference shape, and the outside must be ground and sharpened to match this shape.

    You can see that this jig is less useful than say a chisel sharpening jig, because there is almost always some mismatch between the inner and outer bevel in a hand forged gouge. A carver would do well to buy one of Chris Pye’s (or Nora Hall or other carver’s…) books or DVDs and learn to sharpen gouges properly!

    Someone else brought up in/out cannel tools which are Pattern makers tools. They use use tools with an in or out cannel bevel (either, or, but not both) because unlike a carver, pattern makers are trying to cut precise groves of constant radii. Carvers seldom make cuts in wood the way pattern makers do.

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