This process removes less metal than grinding and creates a finer edge. In general the honing angle should be the same as the ground angle. To maintain a continuous angle when honing, lock your elbows into your sides and adjust your height with your knees.


Whether you decide to use man made or natural stones, the method of honing will require the same techniques. Most stones require oil or water to be applied to their surface. They do not  act as lubricants, but they carry away particles or metal and grit.


1. Position the stone on your workbench with its length running way from you. Add a little oil or water to the surface according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Place the chisel on to the stone’s surface at  the required angle, and push it back and forth in a continuous motion. It is essential that the same angle is maintained throughout this process. Continue until you are able to feel a small ridge of metal or wire, which will form on the opposite side of the ground angle. This is called a ‘burr’ and needs to be removed using a slip stone.


1. When honing a gouge, fluter or veiner, place the stone horizontally in front of you and add a little oil or water as appropriate.

2. Place the gouge at the required angle on the surface and slide it from side to side along the stone’s length. As you slide, rotate the gouge so that the curvature of the blade receives an even grind. Be careful not to hone away the corners of the cutting edge which need to be kept at a sharp 90 degree angle to the shank. If the corners become rounded then it is probable that the gouge is being rotated too much.

It may be helpful to practise the sliding motion initially on a flat piece of soft wood. When using the stone, continue the process until you can feel the burr on the inside of the gouge’s curve, opposite the honed angle. This should be removed with a slipstone.