Discussions on this forum are membership-run. I (Mary May) will monitor conversations and will try and contribute as needed. However, I can't guarantee that I will always have time to keep up with the discussions. Please feel free to contribute, as the only way this forum will be successful is if members get involved! I will also be the "judge and juror" with inappropriate, rude, or offensive behavior, so play nice!
Forum breadcrumbs - You are here:ForumForum: SharpeningSharpening the 9/3
The discussions on this forum can be read by anyone, but if you would like to join in and participate, please login or register as a Free Member.

Sharpening the 9/3


I Was looking for looking for any tips Or references that you might suggest in my quest to sharpen a 9/3 swiss made gouge.

I have watched your basic sharpening video with the fishtail gouge 5-6x however I’m having a tremendous amount of difficulty with this 9/3. It either ends up looking like a Batman hat or the hunchback of Notre Dame.
how do I find that sweet spot Of not too much twist of wrist and for arm - rounding the corners - and not enough ending up with Batman ears  I’ve ordered another 9/3 hoping by the time it arrives that I’ve gotten better

Any suggestions appreciate!

Hello Laura.

I have always found very small tools and "quick" gouges to be particularly problematic. Here is what seems to help me get the job done. Shaping and sharpening smaller tools means removing smaller amounts of metal than with larger tools. Because the metal is removed so quickly, it pays to use magnification to examine the edges as the work progresses and accept that it is perfectly acceptable to proceed slowly to prevent creating misshapen profiles.  Instead of assuming that the entire profile must be shaped with single rotations you can work the protruding areas separately. The interior surface of gouges determines the profile and any work necessary (other than final polish) should be accomplished before working on the bevel.

If the profile is not flat across with the body of the tool then it may be an advantage to reshape the end flat before you start. The resulting small flat at the edge can then help to determine the bevel areas needing the most work. Consistent flats can help developing consistent edges. As you develop the final edge take the time to hone/polish any burrs away from the interior because those burrs can cause a false impression of the shape of the edge being created. Just remember that most edge shape flaws, especially on smaller tools, are the result of being overly aggressive during the sharpening process. Use fine stones, work slowly to prevent creating issues, and after you have the shape you want, avoid returning to stones unless absolutely necessary. Strops and hones can restore sharpness and is less aggressive than returning to stones. Have fun.


I agree with everything Michael Evans said.

I would avoid aggressive gouges (less than 4000 grit) because it becomes too aggressive for such a small gouge. If you do use a rougher gouge, it's difficult to gauge when it's going wrong because it happens too quickly. Before you know it, it's gone lopsided. Very fine stone, very slow movement, and keep looking at the end of the gouge often so you can see if it begins to become misshapen.

Also, the "v" part of the slip stone is the part you will need to remove the burr, as nothing else will fit. So make sure that you make sure the slip stone hits the entire edge of the blade - "walk" it along the inside edge of the blade. As it is usually a pretty sharp pointed slip stone, it's easy to not get the entire edge. You can also use 4000 or 6000 grit sandpaper wrapped around something like a putty knife to use as a slip stone.

Get into the "zen" of sharpening, and don't rush it...