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New Chisels....

6449 Views 44 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Barry747
And I'd viewed more videos than I can take. As I haven't bought or used chisels in a long time, and those were Stanly's used to notch wood like 2x4's and the like, I bought a set of Narex Bench chisels and finally got around to taking them out of the packaging. I had also gotten a set of Narex Mortise chisels. So after seeing these videos and wanting to do the right thing I decided to flatten the back side of the chisels. I have the DMT Diamond Duo plates with Coarse/Fine/X-Fine diamond plate surfaces. I found from trying to flatten a bench plane iron that I needed something a bit more than coarse to start with as the iron had never been flattened. So I ended up with using some Norton wet/dry 220 grit paper which did a decent job of getting the stubborn edges flat all the way across and then proceed with the other three steps polishing it more and more as I went. I finished the iron using the Veritas MKII system and got a really shard iron. So this morning I was excited about taking on the chisels until I wasn't. As the shoulder isn't 100% yet and won't be for at least another 5-7 weeks I just wanted to flatten the widest chisel and check it's flatness. Hoping the coarse plate would be a good starting point I quickly became discouraged. I'm using water as my lubricant and I'm only trying to flatten from the tip back maybe 2-3" and quickly saw that this was far from flat. I had run my HF 3 chisels very quickly and they did well, mostly in about 10 minutes on coarse but the Narex was well into 40-45 minutes and that included the 220 grit sandpaper and coarse diamond stone, possibly longer. I was starting to feel some soreness in my hand and realized I was flattening them as well. As trying to hold the width of the chisel flat and with pressure I was using both hands similar in the same method you would for CPR except I was standing. They don't mention what to do with skin cells in the mesh of the diamond stone but I figured I'd clean that up for good measure and the slurry was stopping any bleeding.....and I have really smooth palms. The chisels in this subject are found here

So back to Google, DMT's website, and Amazon (the website not the jungle). So I ordered the Extra Extra Coarse Diamond Stone and should have that in a few days but I still have the issue with holding the chisels flat on the stones. So I immediately thought of the wisdom of this group and thought I could entertain you with my antics, abrasions, and newly smoothed skin while seeking some wisdom other then "send them to Louie's Sharpening Service and get it done for $50". I can't be the first, and if I am I loose, to have this kind of issue with sharpening, or at the least the flattening process. I was thinking that there must exist somewhere a holder that will allow a strong grip on a small part so it can be help down flat with pressure and allow good clear hand contact. Anything guys and gals? My palms would greatly appreciate it. Some pics included to hopefully see the problem.

Next thing to tackle would be the mortise chisels...........


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I use the magnet from an old speaker. it makes it comfortable to hold chisels and irons as small as 1/8". Another magnet type is the one from parts trays from HF. The tray must be removed. Using a magnet eliminated the cramping I would get when trying to hold chisels and irons. I have made several hand planes, some requiring very small irons, and this trick was a huge step forward.
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Steve, When a chisel is sharpened by first flattening the back (usually only once), the chisel's flat side can register against the wall of a mortice/tenon and you can achieve a straight cut. It also helps when paring to produce straight slices, like when making shoulder cuts. As far as the bevel...when you look at the sharpened cutting edge under a microscope, it becomes evident. Magnified... the scratch marks look wavy and corrugated. The finer the steel is abraded at the cutting edge, the easier and better it will perform. This is even more evident when paring across soft wood fibers like pine...where the fibers alternate from grain to grain. If a chisel is honed to 8000 plus grit, then stropped 50 to 100 times, the chisel is much sharper than your barbers best straight razor's edge. The same thing applies to hand plane irons sharpened this way, and will slice curls even on end grain. They also plane with less chatter.

On another note: Bench planes generally have longer chisel irons, and they make it easier to aim the chisel in the right direction because of that...Kind of like aiming a rifle versus a pistol.
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I use the Aldi chisels Paul Sellers recommended, and they are awesome. They hold an edge and sharpen very well. My only negative is that they are metric in sizes...but that is minor. They have nice wood handles and long beveled blades...perfect for bench work. The other drawback is you have to buy them when they make them available, which in the USA seems to be about 3 times a year.
My father taught me the basics of sharpening, and believe me he could sharpen. I saw him once sharpen a 1/2" twist drill bit with a honing stone by hand and watched him drill through a steel trailer bed. I have never seen that again in the last 50 years. I still have his honing stone and use it for my chisels and plane irons.
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