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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-22-2012, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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Jerry sent me a PM with the following questions.

I thought it would be easier to answer on the forum as other members may be able to contribute.

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Hello James,
I'm at a new and interesting part of the learning curve which has to do with learning about and using chisels. I read your remarks about the "Scary Sharp" sharpening method and then watched the video about it. I have a couple of questions for you if you don't mind helping me with them.

The first one is this. The video talked about using MDF material on the glass that the paper is adhered to. I do not access to MDF locally and even if I did a large 4 x 8 ft. sheet would be far more than I would need for this purpose. Do have any suggestions for a material that would work other than MDF?

Next, from what I gather the paper being used is just plain ordinary wet and dry paper that I would buy at a auto repair shop or other supplier. In the video they show, or think they showed something other than paper to start with and then moved on to the paper, I didn't get what that first stage was, do you know?

I am thinking of buying a simple set of four Blue Chip chisels for now. I believe that for now, all I need is a chisel that can be used to square up the corners of a quarter inch wide mortise but I am sure that I will need others as the learning progresses. Does the choice seem reasonable to you and if not what might you suggest. I also plan to buy the guide that is shown in the video which is the one that suggested too.

Anyway James, any help with this subject will be greatly appreciated if you find time to respond to my questions, but if you are to busy, I sure do understand.

Thanks in advance,

Jerry
Hi Jerry.

I may answer your questions in a number of posts as I go back and forth.

1. Can you show which video to which you are referring? There are a number on youtube and it would help if I can see the particular one.

2. I purchased 4 sheets of glass about 4" x 15" some years ago, but have not yet glued the sand paper to the glass.

3. At the moment, I am just using the sandpaper resting on a sheet of MDF. I find this to be smooth enough for my purposes. You will have to take care that the sand paper does not move also that you do not dig into the sandpaper. Use more pull strokes. When I move up to sharpening my plane blades, I may use the glass and adhere the sandpaper.

4. I just spray the sandpaper with WD40 as a lubricant and to create the slurry.

5. I believe the idea of using the mdf as a backer for the glass is to provide a very smooth, solid surface on which to rest the glass. This is to prevent the glass from breaking. In Australia we can buy mdf in smaller sheets [600mm x 1200mm] If you buy a larger sheet of mdf, you will always use the remainder for jigs, templates etc. I think my shed and MDF is like a washing machine and socks....I use 12mm (1/2") mdf.

6. I use various grades of sandpaper that I purchased from a local hardware store [bunnings]. Some people recommend buying from an auto repair shop as they may have the finer grades that the ordinary hardware stores do not stock.

7. I use 400, 800, 1200, 1600 and 2000 grit sandpaper.

8. Can't comment on the "Blue Chip" chisel set, however, be aware, that cheaper chisels do not hold their edge as well as quality chisels made from quality steel. They will work, but you will find you have to re-sharpen (hone) them more often.

9. I find the guide necessary, as I cannot hold the blade at a constant angle and would end up with a rounded edge.....

James
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-22-2012, 07:25 PM
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Just another option on the backer. I visited a local granite countertop maker and he gave me three of the sink cutouts. these are perfectly flat and a great surface for sharpening. I haven't figured out why they don't make a matching cutting board from these, all they would have to do is square it up and round over the edges.

When it is scary sharp, you will see yourself, just like looking in a mirror.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-22-2012, 10:21 PM
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If glass, then "float glass" has been specified. I've used 12" x 12" granite from the big box stores successfully.

I use wet/dry paper I purchased at an auto parts store.

My Home Depot has MDF in 2' x 4' sheets in 1/4", 1/2" and 3/4".

I use water with good results. I've never used anything else so I can't comment there.

+1 with what James said on the quality of the chisels. The flip side of that is, if you get the cheaper steel you'll get really good at sharpening.

I too MUST use a guide (still). I made a setup block to insure the same angle every time.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-22-2012, 11:07 PM
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Jerry
I use both the "scary sharp" and a machine. The way I do my scary sharp, is I purchased a piece of granite ( 12 x 12 ) from a local supplier and wet and dry sand paper from an automotive parts house. I use a guide and when you are done, it truly is scary sharp. Using water over an oil is in my opinion better, easier to clean up and free. I like free Get the best chisels you can afford. There is a difference in the steel they are made from. If you get the cheaper ones, you will get a lot of practice sharpening them. I don't use anything under my granite other then my work bench. And a spray bottle of water works just fine. I have used this for a long time. Since you are starting out I would suggest a jig. Mine is a veritas but there are many out there that are good. Hope this helps.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jw2170 View Post
Jerry sent me a PM with the following questions.

I thought it would be easier to answer on the forum as other members may be able to contribute.

2. I purchased 4 sheets of glass about 4" x 15" some years ago, but have not yet glued the sand paper to the glass.

5. I believe the idea of using the mdf as a backer for the glass is to provide a very smooth, solid surface on which to rest the glass.

8. Can't comment on the "Blue Chip" chisel set, however, be aware, that cheaper chisels do not hold their edge as well as quality chisels made from quality steel. They will work, but you will find you have to re-sharpen (hone) them more often.

9. I find the guide necessary, as I cannot hold the blade at a constant angle and would end up with a rounded edge.....
I first learned of 'Scary Sharp' years ago. I got some pieces plate glass, recommended at the time, backed with plywood. Never heard of gluing sandpaper to the glass, recommended fluid was always water.

I like the idea of a cheap chisel set to start off with. One reason is, if you screw up, you won't be screwing up an expensive chisel. Second you get lots of practice sharpening. I bought a cheap set of lathe chisels, figuring by the time I got them worn out I'd be ready for expencive stuff. Problem was, never did wear them out, finally give them to one of my sons.

Ah, guides. I don't use one. If my lathe chisels needed sharpening, I used my small bench belt sander. Same with my regular chisels. My theory is, your chisel is continually changing angles when you use it. So, close enough is good enough. And that theory has worked very well for me so far. I got the idea from Sam Maloof I believe it was. He'd use his chisels as can openers, screwdrivers, whatever, then sharpen them when he wanted a chisel. Good enough for him, good enough for me.

A plane blade tho, for that I definitely recommend using a guide. Because a plane blade is always at the same angle, and even a bit off is not good.

Scary Sharp (TM) sharpening system: http://home.comcast.net/~kvaughn65/scary.html

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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PS in all my comments, I am talking about flat wood working chisels. I have not used or sharpened any rounded lathe chisels or gouges.

James
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 04:10 PM
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In that I have never used a chisel enough to know much about it, but I have to admit that I still cannot visualize how one can get the bottom corners of a mortise cleaned up and really sqare. Sincey you cannot get the chisel flat on the same plane as is bottom of the mortise, how can it be completely cleaned up? I can imagine getting thing square down to the very bottom but not the last little bit which would not allow the tenon to bottom properly so the the end of the tenon cannot contact the bottom of the mortise. The end of the tenon could be relieved just enough to allow of the less than square bottom of the mortise.

I do understand that the mortise and tenon joint is a tried and tested joint that has been arround for a very long time and has not presented a problem to those familiar with it. I need to get with the program and learn from experience what you that know about using this joint already know. It's just things like what I have described that makes wonder about things and end up asking question like this one.

Jerry
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bowen View Post
In that I have never used a chisel enough to know much about it, but I have to admit that I still cannot visualize how one can get the bottom corners of a mortise cleaned up and really sqare. Sincey you cannot get the chisel flat on the same plane as is bottom of the mortise, how can it be completely cleaned up? I can imagine getting thing square down to the very bottom but not the last little bit which would not allow the tenon to bottom properly so the the end of the tenon cannot contact the bottom of the mortise. The end of the tenon could be relieved just enough to allow of the less than square bottom of the mortise.

I do understand that the mortise and tenon joint is a tried and tested joint that has been arround for a very long time and has not presented a problem to those familiar with it. I need to get with the program and learn from experience what you that know about using this joint already know. It's just things like what I have described that makes wonder about things and end up asking question like this one.

Jerry
Hi Jerry.
This may be the cause of your dilemma.

IMHO...The tenon does not bottom to the mortise. The sides must be square and flat so there is good contact long grain to long grain and to prevent racking. The end of the tenon should be slightly above the bottom of the mortise.

The bottom of the mortise, if done with a router cutter, will be flat. That is the way the cutter operates.
If cut with a chisel there is a bit of 'wriggle room' to allow for glue and does not have to be perfectly flat.

I would cut my tenons about 1/8" shorter than the depth of the mortise.

There may be other opinions from those who use mortise and tenon joinery on a regular basis.

James
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 04:36 PM
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 05:01 PM
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James is correct. There should always be a little extra room between the bottom of the mortice and the tenon. This allows a place for excess glue to go and has no effect at all on the strength of the joint. No one will ever see the bottom of the mortice so looks don't count for anything. A rough bottom is just as good a s a smooth one.

I use one extra step when sharpening. I use a felt wheel and green chromium honing compound, all available from Lee Valley but available from many other sources as well. The honing compound is 8000 grit so it really puts a fine edge on a blade. I quit when I can effortlessly shave the hair off the back of my hand or arm. I tried shaving with one of my chisels once just to see if I could do it but I quickly found out why straight razors have radiused corners. Maybe one of these days I'll round off the corners of a chisel and try again.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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