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HemeolaMan

Posts: 1514
Joined: Jul. 13 2007
From: Chicago

Chisel choices 

Hello all,

I'm considering replacing my marples chisels with some japanese ones.

I've heard good things about funahiro's and imai's, I will also be buying some shapton stones for sharpening.

It appears though, that my 19 mm marples chisel has begun to lose it's 25 degree bevel and I have no bench grinder with which to restore it... sad day.

I'd like to know how often you luthiers regrind the bevels, i realize this depends on the amount of work and wood types etc. But, once every 6 months, 3 months, 1 month...??

also, I've been meaning to replace the planes in my crapass planes (which i have ground flat on the bottoms and modified of course ) I hear lie nielsen has some good blades. Any opinions?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 18 2009 13:31:21
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
Joined: Jan. 17 2005
 

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

quote:

ORIGINAL: HemeolaMan

I've heard good things about funahiro's and imai's, I will also be buying some shapton stones for sharpening.

It appears though, that my 19 mm marples chisel has begun to lose it's 25 degree bevel and I have no bench grinder with which to restore it... sad day.

I'd like to know how often you luthiers regrind the bevels, i realize this depends on the amount of work and wood types etc. But, once every 6 months, 3 months, 1 month...??

also, I've been meaning to replace the planes in my crapass planes (which i have ground flat on the bottoms and modified of course ) I hear lie nielsen has some good blades. Any opinions?

There are a lot of different sharpening guides you can buy to set the bevel angle on your chisels. I use one that cost about $14 to restore the bevel using sandpaper laid on a piece of glass. Once you have the angle you want you just hone the leading edge.

Japanese chisels will take a wonderful edge but they are laminated so they tend to be very thick. I found them awkward to use in guitar making. I prefer Stanley yellow handle. I have no trouble keeping an edge on them that you can shave with.

They're called plane irons and Lie Nielsen makes really good ones.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 18 2009 14:35:44
 
Aadi

 

Posts: 28
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
 

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

I use LMI chisels and have no complaints. Like John, I use sandpaper for sharpening but my Object of Known Flatness is a granite surface plate. I also use a cheap guide to maintain a consistent angle. You can avoid frequent regrinding of the primary bevel if you sharpen before the edge is nicked and use a guide for consistency.

As for your planes, you may be better served by new (old) planes than new irons; the new, cheap planes I've encountered have generally been useless wastes of perfectly good steel with problems far more serious than low-quality irons (though they have those too!). I own a miserable imitation #4 whose iron cannot be set to cut straight. It's impossible. I replaced this affront to the art of planing with a Stanley #4 from the '60s which is a pleasure to use. Considering the reasonable eBay prices of common vintage Stanley planes useful to luthiery (#4, #5, #60 1/2) you should consider replacing your planes if the crapass ones you're using now are unsatisfactory. You can buy a Stanley of reasonable quality for the cost of a new Hock iron.

I've had to regrind a primary bevel on both the vintage Stanley irons I use and it takes some time but is not unreasonable with a guide and 50-grit aluminum oxide sandpaper on a sturdy Object of Known Flatness. Once the primary bevel is established I form a thin wear bevel at a steeper angle and polish it to a very high grit. This makes a sharp edge which is easy to repair without removing significant amounts of metal. I will probably die of old age and pass the planes on to my various progeny before the primaries need regrinding again.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 18 2009 21:21:12
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

With respect of chisels

I dont like Japaneese chisels very much. As John said, they are thick and they are brittle as well, meaning they are not the best choice for hardwoods. Japanesse woodworking culture is working mostly softwoods.
I use good quality Pfeil chisels and for the roughing I have some Chinese HSS chisels which are awesome for hardwoods. Chinese woodworking culture is mostly hardwoods.

Planes. I have a Anant 5 (or6) for jointing and it works very well. Besides that, I dont like metal planes. I mostly use some very nice Chineese wood planes with hss blades. They are incredible when it comes to holding an edge. Very recomendable and they are relatively cheap as well. But you need a diamond stone to set them up. The steel is very hard.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 19 2009 0:04:57
 
Stephen Eden

 

Posts: 898
Joined: Apr. 12 2008
From: UK

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

I have used many types of jampanese chisel asl all the makers around here use them. The cheaper jap chisels are bad and chip easily the more expensive ones say £25 a chisel are great quality. They stay keen for a lot longer and because the fatness of the blade its easier to sharpen without a guide. also the backs a ground out for ease of sharpening as well.

With respect to planes.

I bought a clifton #5 which i have to say is the best plane ive ever used and the blade quality is higher than lie nielson ones. i have a lie nielson block plane though because cifton dont make them. :(

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 19 2009 0:49:08
 
HemeolaMan

Posts: 1514
Joined: Jul. 13 2007
From: Chicago

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

thanks guys!

with respect to planes, I have an old stanley jack plane that I might buy a new blade for, some nice thick piece o steel. I'm not sure what to think of the lie nielsen block planes:

What are the advantages/relative merits of the low angle vs regular block plane, and or the adjustable mouth block plane?

Anders, could you please possibly divulge the name of the maker of those block planes?

I'm super excited to take on this project. presently i'm building a cabinet makers bench, good times!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 19 2009 12:44:17
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
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RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

I dont know what the name of the manufactor is I buy them here: + is an i

http://www.d+ck.biz/d+ck/category/d+ckcatalog/Chinesische-Hobel-68_80/detail.jsf


This is my very favorite. A wonderfull plane



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 19 2009 12:53:05
 
XavierF

 

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug. 17 2009
From: Haute-Savoie, France

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Anders,

I agree, it is excellent, and beautiful as well!

From the same German supplier I also bought two Japanese planes with replaceable HSS blades which are very good.

Xavier
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 20 2009 3:29:39
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
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RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

quote:

ORIGINAL: HemeolaMan

I'm not sure what to think of the lie nielsen block planes:

What are the advantages/relative merits of the low angle vs regular block plane, and or the adjustable mouth block plane?


Like you I was not sold on Lie Nielsen because of the high price. After all, pretty much all metal planes are based on the designs of Bailey. I bought a low angle Lie Nielsen and found it to be better than any of the old Stanley and Bailey planes I have. The base is perfectly flat, the iron is very thick and holds an edge remarkably well and the fit and finish is beautiful.

The low angle and adjustable mouth both help prevent chip out. It's much better for use on end grain or wood with reversing grain.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 20 2009 6:07:55
 
benros

 

Posts: 144
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RE: Chisel choices (in reply to Anders Eliasson

hey anders, i know your post is somewhat old, but i need to buy some good and inexpensive chisels and strongly considering to buy the chinese hss chisels from dictum which you use(d). everywhere i found some little information about it, is mentioned, that they are good for rough work. what i like to know, are they only for rough/hardwood work or are they also usable for any other job (i cant imagine why not)? i mean, if they can be made really sharp, why not use them for softwood either?
greetings,
ben
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 5 2016 9:32:05
 
Perrate

 

Posts: 30
Joined: Jul. 23 2015
 

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to benros

Check this....

The best ones... with them you can work on everything you want.. swiss quality..

http://www.pfeiltools.com/en/home.html
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 5 2016 9:51:16
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

You can use whatever chisel for all kinds of work if they have the right size and are sharpened correctly.
HSS blades are pretty tough to sharpen and its difficult to make them totally high end sharp. I like HSS mostly for planes that I use for hardwoods like rosewoods and ebony.
The chisels I´ve used the most over the the years are the Pfeil ones that Perrate recommends. There are other brands making the same kind of chisels with the same quality. But the Pfeil ones are easy to get for me, they are easy to make very sharp. They look good and have a very nice feel to. I also use Pfeil gauges.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 5 2016 11:30:45
 
benros

 

Posts: 144
Joined: Aug. 27 2016
 

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to Anders Eliasson

thanks for the quick response. i like pfeil tools also, but looking especially for low budget high quality (i know, somehow an antithesis;), since my luthier tool investigations so far have emptied my pockets and the chinese chisels are only a little bit more than half of the price of the pfeils. but if the hss is really that difficult to sharpen, i probably have to look further. Ive seen that MHG has a new series of bevel edged chisels with, as it seems, a very good price-value-ratio (https://www.feinewerkzeuge.de/mhg.html). probably i go with that ones. thank both of you for your hints!
greetings, ben
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 5 2016 12:09:07
 
benros

 

Posts: 144
Joined: Aug. 27 2016
 

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to Anders Eliasson

p.s.: another chisel question to all of you: what are (in your working routine) the most needed chisel cut widths? (a 2mm chisel i already have) if you would have to choose only 3 sizes, which ones would that be?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 5 2016 12:35:49
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
Joined: Jan. 17 2005
 

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to benros

quote:

ORIGINAL: benros

p.s.: another chisel question to all of you: what are (in your working routine) the most needed chisel cut widths? (a 2mm chisel i already have) if you would have to choose only 3 sizes, which ones would that be?

1/4, 5/8, 3/4 and few small ones (2mm ground down). I am currently using Narex chisels. They take a fair amount of tuning to get the back flat and sharp edges rounded but once I figured out how to sharpen them they are excellent and cheap. When I first bought this set I was very disappointed since I was unable to put a proper edge on them. The steel is very hard so it takes some real grinding to achieve the proper bevel (I like low angle) but once the edge is there all it takes is a little stropping to keep them like a razor. I only use a stone on them once a month or so.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 5 2016 14:38:29
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to benros

quote:

if you would have to choose only 3 sizes, which ones would that be?


6 - 10 and 15mm, but I would miss the 4mm.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 5 2016 15:42:24
 
Echi

 

Posts: 949
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

I have mostly Stubai and Pfeil (other than few Japanese ones) but heard well of Narex.
Last year I bought some chinese "Aldi" (or Hofer) chisels and found they have a very good steel for what you pay them: once properly set up they can work well.
Anyway, they are quite sturdy as they are made with carbon Steel, but for precision work I would prefer A1 steel, which is softer but can get more sharp than a carbon steel blade.
I'd go for 2.2 cm instead of 18 mm for the wide chisel as I like to slice laterally the wood with the wide chisel.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 5 2016 17:09:15
 
JuanDaBomb

Posts: 189
Joined: May 18 2011
 

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

A (non-luthier) +1 for Narex.

I've had the set from Lee Valley for a couple years. I mainly do paring cuts and some chopping with a mallet, on both soft and hard woods. I recently chopped several mortises in claro walnut which was very hard, and they held up nicely. No chipped edges. Nice thin sides and lightweight (Narex also makes a thicker bench chisel). I would describe edge retention as average, but quite useable. They can get razor sharp too.

A couple things I noticed, at least with my set. I have trouble keeping a damage-free edge at 25 degrees. It starts to get chippy almost right away, even on pine just using hand pressure. Also, I had to sharpen them like around 10 times before they really began to work well. But I think that's not uncommon with any new chisel.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 6 2016 7:12:35
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

25 degrees is not nice but far from practical on all chisels depending on the use and what kind of chisel we talk about.
A well kept 30 degree chisel will cut most things very well. A have a few 25 degree for special jobs and the rest is 30 degree.
And a good "slicer" is nice. I have a 30mm that I consider a knife with a different handle.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 7 2016 7:37:32
 
JuanDaBomb

Posts: 189
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RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

Anders: could you elaborate on your slicer?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 7 2016 8:24:38
 
Njål Bendixen

 

Posts: 65
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RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

benros

I strongly suggest buying the best tool that you can afford, and only buy the tools that you actually need. A good tool will work on any kind of wood and do any kind of work. It all depends on how you like to sharpen though. In my experience sharpening is all important, but different steels interact with different sharpening method in different ways. For example the steels that I like to use do not sharpen well with diamond stones. I never use strops, because I don't like the microscopic rounding of the blade at the very tip. It makes the tool feel different when cutting, especially when doing freehand work. If course guitar makers do not do that much freehand work as violin makers. Nevertheless I hate working with a tool that has been stropped.

I can offer advice but it could be quite a long conversation. The important thing is that you find a way to sharpen that works for you, and that you find tools that suit your way of sharpening.

I used to teach sharpening at Newark School of Violin Making.

I learned the hard way and the expensive way. You can save yourself a lot of money and a lot of trouble by getting this right from the beginning.

Please feel free to ask any question.

Njaal
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 7 2016 22:19:04
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
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RE: Chisel choices (in reply to Njål Bendixen

I've never taught anything but I've been sharpening things since my father showed me how to spit on a carborundum stone and sharpen a pocket knife by rubbing it in circles. He was wrong of course but that was 70 or so years ago and I doubt he expected me to be a luthier. I've only recently started stropping my chisels and knives and am a complete convert but whatever turns your crank.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 7 2016 22:37:44
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
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RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

Oh boy sharpening, the subject that brings the nerds to that table even more than French Polishing.

To strop or not to strop, as long as the microburr on the tip of the blade is honed off.

Last month I spritzed some water on a shop window and slapped a piece of 1000 grit wet /dry paper on it. It stuck there vertically. I sprayed water on the paper and it dripped down the glass. I sharpened a 220 plane blade on the paper as it clung to the glass. Today I am thinking about sharpening it it again, but it's still not dull enough.

Sharpening is really interesting, there are so many ways to go at it.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2016 4:00:47
 
Stephen Eden

 

Posts: 898
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From: UK

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

Sharpening is a funny thing. I round the bevel on my chisels as I find it makes carving the heel easier. As a result I strop my chisels. I keep my plane irons flat and do not strop as I find they don't work as well. That's just me though.

I use 4 chisels these days. A 22mm a 14mm a 6mm and a 1.5mm. The rest I have I barely even bother to sharpen.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2016 5:58:00
 
estebanana

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RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

Yes, I don't strop the plane blade either, a more raw edge works better. And I know what you mean about chisels stropped out to be slick.

I use four chisels too, one thin one I ground to less than 2mm wide. A half inch pattern /paring chisel and a 1/4" and one that is about 3/4" wide. I find the 1/4" chisel the one I use the least, almost not needed. But when you need it you need it.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2016 12:23:08
 
jshelton5040

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RE: Chisel choices (in reply to estebanana

New chisels always seem to require a lot of work. I round off all the sharp edges, grind the top absolutely flat then polish them on the buffer until they reflect light like a mirror.
After that regrind the bevel to the angle I like and begin sharpening by working up to 6000 grit on a water stone then strop.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2016 14:18:07
 
Cervantes

 

Posts: 480
Joined: Jun. 14 2014
From: Encinitas, CA USA

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

I am not a luthier but do some woodworking.
I have some Narex chisels which are good for the price.
I also have one Ashley Iles chisel which I like slightly better and costs about the same.
Of course there are more expensive nicer chisels you can buy. I say always buy the best tools you can afford / justify. I bought three vintage planes off Ebay which work well. I replaced the blade on the #4 plane with a Hock blade which is a big improvement. I use waterstones to sharpen everything.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 8 2016 17:33:28
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1496
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Chisel choices (in reply to HemeolaMan

I like to use European style chisels and I like them with a hollow grind. This makes sharpening easy, with only the cutting edge and the other end of the bevel resting on the sharpening stone, which preserves the bevel angle. I sharpen frequently--perhaps for every job. But I grind very infrequently, because I don't remove much metal when I sharpen; I use a very fine stone. I have gone for years without re-grinding a set of chisels. But now I have a Tormek grinder which makes grinding a breeze.

I love the Lie Nielsen block planes. I have several, four actually. I also use a very long, German, wooden jointer plane.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 11 2016 2:15:33
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