How to Turn a Screwdriver Into a Chisel

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Things You'll Need

  • Bench grinder

  • Safety glasses

Turn any flathead screwdriver into a chisel with a bench grinder.

Screwdrivers make great chisels. They are tough and can take the abuse of being used as a pry bar, a knife or getting beat on by a hammer. The only place where a screwdriver is not as good as a chisel is when you need to carve or shave wood with it. You can easily turn your screwdriver into a full-fledged chisel with a bench grinder. Typical woodworking chisels are ground to a 30-degree angle. You need to sharpen only one side of a screwdriver to make an ordinary bevel chisel.


Step 1

Put on safety glasses. Turn on the grinder and stand in front of it. Any common grinding wheel will work.

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Step 2

Hold the screwdriver by its handle. Point the end up at a 30 degree angle. Apply the tip of the screwdriver to the spinning wheel.

Step 3

Apply a small amount of pressure to the tip of the screwdriver, maintaining the 30 degree angle against the wheel. You should see bright orange sparks shooting straight down toward your feet.

Step 4

Move the tip back and forth horizontally over the wheel as you continue to maintain the 30 degree angle.


Step 5

Watch the point where the screwdriver is coming into contact with the wheel. You should see the end of the screwdriver getting flat. Keep the pressure on the tip until the tip of the screwdriver is completely flat against the wheel. You will be able to see the knife-like edge develop. Stop grinding when satisfied.


You don't need to worry if your chisel is not a perfect 30 degrees.


The screwdriver will become red-hot. Keep a small container of water handy to cool it off. Don't try to use a Phillips or hex head screwdriver for this task, they are not wide enough. Only straight flathead screwdrivers will work. Don't try to sharpen both sides of the screwdriver. It might be tempting, but it will compromise the edge, making it too thin, and you can't maintain the 30 degree bevel angle unless only one side is flattened.


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