Hand Tools Archive

Advice on sharpening a Slick

Dave (Arlington, VA)
Hi -

Not too long ago I acquired an old unhandled 3 3/4 inch Slick. It was (is) in fairly bad shape with some pretty bad pitting on the bottom of the blade (unfortunately coming right to the tip of the blade). My first (and easiest) challenge was to figure out how to put a bevel on it given that the blade profile (looking at it head on) is pretty much triangular....unlike most chisels. But I solved that problem.

Now my next problem is the bottom of the blade. Unlike most chisels this slick is not flat on the bottom and I based on what I have read that is by design. It has a very, very modest banana-like arch to it along a fair portion of the blade. I understand this it to permit the slick to easily lever/maneuver in and out of cuts.

When I put a straight-edge to it it looks like maybe the first 1/4-1/2 of an inch is "flat" before the modest arch begins to be apparent to me.

Since I'm not trying to flatten the entire back (or even the first inch or two...at least I don't think I am or should be trying to flatten that much) and since trying to flatten that only that first 1/4 or 1/2 inch of the blade requires a raising the handle ever so slightly off the bench, I am wondering how I can go about flattening this back in a repeatable fashion both now and in the future.

Any advice from the slick-savvy would be appreciated.

Thank you!


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