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Thread: First hello and chisel question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Sudbury, MA
    Posts
    38

    First hello and chisel question

    Hi Folks. I just found this site the other day and am happy to find that some of you who's opinions I once enjoyed hearing can be heard again

    So my question is, what chisels are you using for hacking out joint waste such as dovetail joints? What have you found takes the beating from the carvers mallet? How about what you prefer for dense tropicals and softwoods.
    How does the bevel angle relate to wood density or steel hardness?

    Lokking forward to your answers.

    Cheers,
    Nick

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    15,582
    First Nick, Welcome to the Family!!!

    I'm in Japan, so I use Japanese Chisels, I buy them used (read CHEAP) and bring them back to life, they have treated me very well.

    The Japanese chisels are meant to be pounded on, buy design, they even use a steel hammer, no wimpy wooden mallet stuff here

    I don't do a lot of exotic hard woods, so I don't know about that part of the question, sorry.

    I'd have to check to see what I grind them at, but it is nothing special, just the basic angle...........
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    1,487
    Hi Nick. Welcome to FW!

    I have the MHG chisels from Hartville. They seem to be a good set, although I haven't really given them much beating they seem to work quite well. as to blade angles, My understanding is a paring chisel will have a shallow angle while a mortise chisel will have a steep angle to handle the driving blows. I'm sure you'll get better answers than mine!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Forest Grove, Oregon USA
    Posts
    290
    Hi Nick, not much help here as regards hacking out waste between DTs. I use a coping saw to remove the waste and then pare a couple slices to the baselines. I've used many different types of chisels, vintage and new. Different technique when using a straight sided firmer like my vintage Butchers than if I use my Blue Spruce.

    I have a set of 4 chisels coming from a blacksmith which are based upon an 18th century design. Those are quite whackable, as are the Butchers.

    In general, good chisels are not prone to chipping or other premature failures, so no special angles required. Functionally, though, a chisel used to pare should use a fairly low angle and if the edge retention not be as good as desired, a sliver of a higher angle may be necessary.

    My chisels I bash with a mallet have a steeper angle, say 30 degrees or so. Too, with chisels made from A2, like the LN, need a higher angle but do not affect their function.

    Take care, Mike
    Wenzloff & Sons Sawmakers

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Sudbury, MA
    Posts
    38
    Thanks for the replies and warm welcome.

    Stu - The more I work with hand tools the greater my interest becomes in the difference between western and eastern style tools. That being said I was thinking of getting a Japanese chisel or two to see how they feel. Unfortunately going to the antique store/flea market and finding a couple to rehab is pretty unlikely around these parts. What do you consider to be a good compromise between price and durability? I was looking towards the Matsumura to try out. All suggestions are welcome.

    Cheers,
    Nick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    15,582
    Nick, I think they are good chisels, but man, they cost money!

    If you are new to woodworking, you might want to just get a good set to beat on a bit, the various Stanley and or other good, decent brands will stand you well, especially if you set up a Power Strop of some sort, then you can get them STUPID sharp in a hurry.

    I've found and sent sets for guys from here before, it is not that hard to do.

    Chisels on Yahoo Auction <- in Japanese, but you can see the pics

    i don't make any money on this, I just cover my expenses, and I hope to help a few guys get some good older Japanese chisels for a good price *you have to rehab them yourself!

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

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