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Sharpening wood chisels

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  • #16
    My 3 chisel set I want to say is Vermont American that I might have picked up at a 5-10 30 years ago. When I bought my first house money was tight and even though we bought the house for $88k, for me it was an enormous sum of money. The house was then and still is in pretty good shape and is where I first forayed into refinishing hardwood floors. That was an exhausting but rewarding experience.

    i really didn't and clearly still don't know enough about quality woodworking tools. I really have to rely on the expertise of more knowledgeable and experienced people like you all. Most of my work with a couple of exceptions involves basic home repairs with the most technical work involveing replaciement door slabs to include the mortises and boring the locksets.

    After my first house we bought a new home and I coasted for about 15 years really just doing patch and paint and it was during that period I built bookcases for my daughters collection of "little golden books" a real simple pine 3 shelf book case I made with the aid of of my ancient B&D router. Inevitably though I ended up having to replace a Masonite side door when the old door began delaminating. It was a very challenging experience for me and I learned that I needed to slow down from my normally frenzied pace on the job site. Fortunately I also learned about the wonders of 2 part wood patch (bondo) .

    My current house which was built in 1927 involves making somewhat uncomfortable compromises because I don't think any of these walls are plumb or square and so I find myself in constant annoyance when the bubble is on a line rather in between the lines as it was when I recently had to replace a door and re-work the jamb. Doesn't sound like much but it does affect the trim and affects the door swing. I find myself just having to "go with it" rather that trying to get to plumb and square which is a very odd feeling since I like to be within an 1/8 in 10' at work. Commercial projects are mostly steel framed and walls are plumb and square so laying my work is pretty straightforward using a standard tape measure and a laser. Even modern wood framed jobs are pretty decent largely because tools and methods have improved so much more.

    Whenever I look at Lee Valley/Veritas I'm like a kid in a candy store, I fell asleep flipping through the e-catalog but I did find a large layout square that I overlooked before and they seem to have a solution for all things wood. If you all haven't seen CWS's recomendation of those wood chisels I'd say they look good, price is right and you've got at least one trustworthy endorsement. Thank you for the recomendation.


    • CWSmith
      CWSmith commented
      Editing a comment
      Not pertaining to tools or woodworking... but you mentioned "little golden books":

      Our one and only child is now 48 and when he was little we bought almost every "little golden book" that was in print at the time. Over those very young years, I think we bought close to a hundred of them (well, that's probably an exaggeration, but there was every one that we could find to buy anyway... dozens! Our Jason, was reading word when he was two, and reading "little golden books" by the time he was three. By Kindergarten, his tested reading level was 5th grade. (When he was a baby, I loved coming home from work and holding him on my lap, feeding him the bottle, and reading Dr. Zeus (we had all those books too).

      We passed these on when our Grandson was born and after a very few years, our DIL sold them all... I wasn't very happy, as they say, "some people know the price of everything, and the value of nothing!


  • #17
    i really enjoyed reading to my girls even though I would come home exhausted from the day's work. We had every golden book and like you read all the dr Seuss books to them as well.

    Later the we began to collect all sorts of Disney videos and we still have all the books and tapes. We can't seem to part ways with them and even though we no longer have a working VHS player we probably will keep those as well.

    I really enjoyed watching chity chity bang bang, Mary poppins, sound of music with my girls and I hoping to find a vhs player so I can enjoy seeing the movies with our grandsons. There is just so much richness to those movies and I feel modern entertainment just can't match it.

    We had buckets of beanie babies and McDonalds happy meal toys as well but we finally managed to give those away. The books and movies with be here for safekeeping for the foreseeable future.
    Last edited by Mightyservant; 05-19-2018, 08:22 PM.


    • #18
      Pretty much the same here, books galore, board games, and practically every Fisher-Price toy that was out during those years. My wife and I cherish those things and really wish our daughter in law had some of that in her personality... but she doesn't see any value whatsoever in such things and goes on these "purge" binges at least once a year. Sad, because all of the toys we bought are grandson over the years ends up being tossed, donated, or sold after just a couple of years, leaving him little of his childhood.

      Since the "golden book" event, we think hard about handing over anything more, preferring to keep the stuff here for the grandson to play with. But he's just finished his first year at Iowa State, so not much reason to keep stuff... ah wait, the great grandchildren?

      We've got several of the very first electronic games in the attic, along with board games, puzzles, cabbage patch kids, large HO train collection, etc. etc.; even a Atari 800 system


      • #19
        We really owe it to my wife since does keep a lot of things including Christmas cards. I use to gripe about all the stuff she would keep but I've come to see the wisdom of it all now. Whenever I'm rooting around looking for something I might stumble on the old cards and then I find myself sitting for an hour looking at old cards from dear friends and loved ones. It's a great way to revisit the past with the family.

        Congratulations on your grandsons first year at Iowa state, science and technology seem to be where all the money is headed. Springtime in the Midwest is beautiful and you will thoroughly enjoy your grandsons graduation.

        We have a few old and tattered board games and some toys but it's mostly old artwork, homework and ribbons. If I got rid of it all I'd have plenty of room for a modest shop but I seem to manage ok in the tight space I have.

        Your grandchildren will come to realize the value of keeping the old books and toys. It's a sort like having mile posts to ones past though it's hard to imagine that sometimes in the age of social media and all these kids face down on there phones. You won't mind being custodians of family memories, I can assure you, your grandchildren will really appreciate it.


        • #20
          I was just looking at my Sears sharpener up on a shelf, haven't did my chisels in a long time. The big stone makes a curved/hollow grind that makes it easier to sharpen by hand after that. Course it's a mess and takes a lot of time. I used to use bungee chords and let it run while I'm doing other things, just check it every now and then.
          They still have them for about $50


          • Mightyservant
            Mightyservant commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you, I’ll have a look. Seems like once sharp keeping them sharp is much easier.

        • #21
          Absolutely, once sharp, easy to keep sharp. When I first used the WorkSharp, it took forever to get my chisels sharpened. The main reason was I had done them by hand for years and the angle was slightly off. I bought an extra glass wheel and adhered 80 grit paper to it. The initial grinding process took some time but once the desired angle is achieved, it doesn't take long to go through the grits and get everything sharp. Even a nick in the edge doesn't take long to remove in the future. I would assume the same is true with any precise angle system.


          • Mightyservant
            Mightyservant commented
            Editing a comment
            10-4, thank you for your input!

        • #22
          After my previous post, I went out and sharpened 8 chisels. I only sharpened 6 to completion. I had 5 that had never been touched by my WorkSharp. Three of those had some serious issues. I took 1 of them to the grinder to get the bulk of the steel removed, about 1/8" worth because someone had chipped the end so bad. Anyway, I started with 80 grit to get the angle at 25? . It took a while to get a couple of nicks out but things progressed quickly after that. Today, at HD, I bought some Freud Diablo 6" PSA to try out. An update will come shortly.


          • #23
            Very informative, if you dont mind me asking and since I'm not a woodworking professional I'm curious what you'd typicaly use your chisels for.

            I use mine for hogging out a mortise that might be a little shallow or removing paint and coatings from similar work. I also might use it as temporary wedge or making rough frame splices. Since I don't build furniture I don't use them much though I like them to be sharp when I do.

            I see several shows on public television that make amazing use out many type of chisels and it's very remarkable what can be done with a chisel in skilled hands.


            • #24
              Many years ago, when all I had was a set of three cheap Sears "Companion" chisels, I use them mostly for clean-up work, like hinge and lock placement, small projects etc. After my layoff/retirement in 2003, I decided to do some more serious woodworking and carpentry and bought a set of four Marples. I had no place to set up a shop of any sorts as the basement in that house had very low ceilings (I couldn't stand upright) and was most always damp. So anything I wanted to do required me to haul everything out on the deck; and of course haul it all back in when it started to rain.

              So to that end, I decided to make a couple of work benches/platforms that I could quickly set up and take back down. So my chisels went to work cutting mortises and cleaning up tenons for my particular design of these. The Marples are just "bench" chisels, and not really designed for cutting deep slots like mortises. That led me to the previously described Narex mortise chisels which were great for the projects. As mentioned earlier, I added other Narex chisels (bench and skew).

              There are all kinds of chisels, designed of specific tasks they simply make things easier. Having a good, strong, and very sharp chisel just makes cleaning up certain projects. While I have a couple of mallets for chiseling, I often find that just using them in-hand is perfect for cleaning up and edge, making and inset for hinges or door locks/striker plates to be enough. A good chisel with a bit of heft and a great edge is the perfect tool.



              • #25
                I sometimes take on too much and when that happens I really struggle trying to work out of the garage. I finally can get to my tools again after using up boxes of flexible duct of various sizes and a roll of insulation I used for the plenum and duct fittings. I have to set up everything out side and pay attention to the forecast and the end of the day I cover up everything with rubberized canvas tarps but I'm loath to do that for very long since damp air will still get to bare metal.

                When I'm at my mothers house, if she takes a nap after lunch I get a chance to watch several woodworking shows and it's amazing what these guys can with just a chisel. On one show a guy making a stool and he used a chisel to mortise the seat very quickly. He then used a small for the tenons but sort of cleaned them up with a wood chisel. I find mortise and tenon construction sort of fascinating but right now I'm just a fan, maybe someday.