Author Topic: chisel usage  (Read 10039 times)

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Offline Tom Bainbridge

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chisel usage
« on: May 29, 2008, 05:44 PM »
im curious about american chisel usage, especially second fixers like brice and some of you renovation guys

from what i see and hear "it would seem" that you avoid them like the plague and opt for routers everytime

is this the case?



in my case i carry a chisel roll holding 12 chisels        4mil up to 32mil

if im only hanging a single door in a flat or restricted space i find chisels are far easier than carrying a router and dust extractor up three flights of stairs

(having loaded them in the van and unloaded them at each end of the day)


i happen to use bacho 343s because i can bash them with a 30oz hammer and they dont complain

the 4mil is the exception, (its not bacho) and its so small it only needs hand preasure
Bromley, Kent. UK

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2008, 05:58 PM »
I frequently use chisels and occasionally a small japanese saw for small fix stuff, for the very same reason as you. On site quick repairs on windows and doors. I also use Bahco chisels, though they are getting scarce around here. Since Bahco closed the HQ / plant in Enk?ping (close to where I live) and moved production to Portugal the quality has dropped from being among the best money can buy
to very good. Before moving overseas Bahco hand tools did seldom break but nowadays the tools come separated from the handles and I have seen pliers break.  >:(

I have scoured some stores (I am partially in the business so I have very very sweet deals on tools) for original Bahco stuff and today have enough to last me for the rest of my working days with chisel and all kinds of Bahco handtools.  ;D

When I did a cultural heritage class renovation last year and did rot repair and renovations on some two hundred windows I found that working with hand tools sometimes was as time efficient as working with power tools. (Only certain power tools were allowed anyway due to restrictions imposed by the lady supervising the renovations so it was back to basics...)


And the outcome was just as good as using powertools, for the most part.   
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Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2008, 06:22 PM »
i only use japanese saws

i havent time for western saws anymore, too large, to bulky and too rough a cut
Bromley, Kent. UK

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Offline Eli

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2008, 05:27 AM »
I carry a roll of Marples/Irwins for fine work, that's about the most I'm ready for. I have four 'rough work' chisels that I keep sharp but hit hard. I dream of japanese chisels but I'm not ready. Have been using pull style saws for almost ten years. I had/have problems sawing western style.

I'd like a Carpenter's slick for all the very fine beams and slabs around my area, and a good set of butt chisels would be nice. ;D

Having said that, if it's more than one door to be hung, I'm spending the time setting up MFS and routing.  8)
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Offline Fred West

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2008, 04:53 PM »
DD, I carry my Lie Nielsen chisels with me as well as several japanese saws though my dozukis get most of the use. I too carry some crap chisels that like Eli I hit pretty hard. I also carry several of the Lie Nielsen planes as well. All in all I can use the hand tools for some jobs much faster than I can setup the power tools. However, I LOVE my power tools and would not want anyone to think I am pure Neanderthal.  :) :o 8) Fred
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Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2008, 05:02 PM »
oh dear

dd IS clearly a neanderthal   :o

i hit my chisels with a 21 or 30 oz estwing  ::)

i suspect lie neilsons wouldnt take that much abuse
« Last Edit: May 30, 2008, 05:02 PM by dirtydeeds »
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Offline Jesse Cloud

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2008, 06:36 PM »
Don't think I have ever done a project without a few chisels...

I have maybe twenty of them.  A basic set of 8 beveled edge chisels between 1/8 and 1 inch., a few mortising chisels, a few 'utility' chisels that I can whack the heck out of, a couple of goosenecks, a couple of skews, and a few chisels reground for special purposes such as stop cuts on string inlay.

I have heard from a number of professionals here in the US that 'once you pull out the hand tools, your profit is gone.'  Not sure I believe that, but I do know a lot of folk who spend what seems to me an excessive amount of time making a rough cut with a machine and then 'sneaking up' on a good fit with hand tools.  Certainly not the Festool method, eh?

I notice dd also carries a block plane, just about my favorite tool!   And for pure handworking pleasure, nothing beats a spokeshave.

BTW dd not sure we use 'Neanderthal' with the same exact meaning on both sides of the pond.  In the US, a neanderthal is simply one who uses hand tools to the exclusion of power tools.

Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2008, 06:48 PM »
for one offs and non repetative specials (i do quite few) its quicker by hand and yes there is a degree of skill in using chisels

making a jig for a one off doesnt make sense



as for the block plane i prefer it to power tools when perfecting a scribe line
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Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2008, 07:23 PM »
  DD, no question I'm a power tool guy. If the tool doesn't do all the work for me they I can't do the job.  ;) Truthfully I don't own good chisels, just a set of Stanley's, that I only use when I have to. Jesse touched on the issue, there isn't enough money in using hand tools in the kind of work I do. Sure for small jobs, like installing one door hands tool aren't a bad way to go, however, there isn't as much money to be made in these small jobs. Jobs that require a sort of production setup with power tools allows for less time spent on each step and therefore more money in my pocket. No question that here in the States the use of hand tools is a dying art in regards to carpentry.
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Offline Dan Clermont

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2008, 03:45 AM »
I had a bad scare with a router when I first started woodworking. Didn't get hurt or anything but it made me rethink my hobby. I quickly got into hand tools!

It all started with a Record #5 and learning how to sharpen. For years I built projects with only hand tools. Eventually I got back into power tools but still enjoy the hand tool side.

From my experience it is easier to get precision with a chisel / plane sometimes on small jobs. If I was doing a production run it may be a different story

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Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2008, 05:14 AM »
its the same here, if its production it has to be power tools. because of brice's comment i had a quick think about my site tool bag. answer.............. i have very few traditional carpentry tools that go on site

changing tack slightly

the main reason i started using japanese saws (vaughan bear saws) is that i bought the festool systainer 4 hand tool box, they were the only saws that would fit (im now back with a tool bag)

since then ive found other benefits of japanese saws and wont go back to western saws

the small size is ideal for going up and working on narrow scaffolds and other very restricted places

with mdf getting used so much i can cut a scribed line and put a leading edge (back bevel) on it in one go

the high polish on the saw blade acts as a mirror so i can cut mitres freehand "if necessary"
Bromley, Kent. UK

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Offline kit camp

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2008, 12:26 PM »
Brice,

It's interesting to me that you say that. Of course, I'm not out there hand nailing or anything, and I have about ten grand worth of power tools riding out there in my little truck, but I really can't imagine working without at least a razor sharp chisel and block plane. Even on more production/low budget jobs (MDF) I use the block plane all the time. It rides in the hammer loop of my Occi trimmers, easily at hand... I have a full set of good chisels in the truck all the time, plus a couple beaters.

I also frequently use a shoulder plane and my little set of Bunny Planes, as well as card scrapers.

You nailed it though, hand tool use has pretty much gone by the wayside, maybe no where more than here in So Cal.

I used to use hand saws more when I was building boats. Not too much any more, though I carry a Bear brand ryoba. I mostly use it to cut shims off after door hanging and other little weird jobs.

- Kit

Offline woodshopdemos

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2008, 12:54 PM »
I became a chisel user almost by default. At one time a couple of years ago, I was reviewing several good sharpeners and I needed plane blades and bodies to practise on and also chisels for the same purpose. So all of a sudden, the chisel drawer had surgically sharp blades and when I needed to pare an unrouted side of a pin in the dovetale set, I simply pulled open the chisel drawer. Ever since then, I have used the chisels more frequently. Sharpened, they are absolutely wonderful.
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Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2008, 03:36 PM »
wsd

its sort of how i came to using REAL chisels

there aint nothing like the exactness you can get
Bromley, Kent. UK

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Offline TomCrawford

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2008, 11:51 PM »
Sometimes they can cause serious injury just like a power tool.  Many years ago working I was on a piece of Oak with a 1/4" chisel which I had just finished honing on a water stone. I had failed to tighten the clamp well (at the time my bench was a pice of MDF on legs with no dog holes).  the wood slipped, instinctively I reached to grab it and the chisel went in one side and out the other of my left index finger. It got all tendons and nerves. After two plastic surgeries it is still not very useful.
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Offline Fred West

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2008, 12:04 AM »
Tom, I am sorry to hear about that injury. I don't think anymore surgeries on the chisel will make it any better but it may be worth a try.  :) ;) All kidding aside I dropped a chisel in a fairly similar manner and it sliced through my shoe just missing my little toe. I am pretty sure it would have taken my toe off completely had it hit directly. It was a one inch chisel and sharp as the dickens.  :) ;) Fred
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Offline SRSemenza

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2008, 01:09 AM »
I've got some battle wounds from chisels, all my fault of course...bloody chisels attacking me ;)
got a scare across my forehead from a stray chisel :-\


underused , I would think that armor you are wearing should be pretty good against chisels. ;)


       I had one stab me (corner of a 3/4")  in the heel of my hand below the thumb. Wasn't bad enough to need anything other than time and band aids though.  But it makes me  much more aware of just were I place my hand now.



Seth

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2008, 08:52 AM »
for one offs and non repetative specials (i do quite few) its quicker by hand and yes there is a degree of skill in using chisels

making a jig for a one off doesnt make sense



as for the block plane i prefer it to power tools when perfecting a scribe line

Three, is the threshold for making a jig, for me.

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2008, 08:57 AM »
its the same here, if its production it has to be power tools. because of brice's comment i had a quick think about my site tool bag. answer.............. i have very few traditional carpentry tools that go on site

changing tack slightly

the main reason i started using japanese saws (vaughan bear saws) is that i bought the festool systainer 4 hand tool box, they were the only saws that would fit (im now back with a tool bag)

since then ive found other benefits of japanese saws and wont go back to western saws

the small size is ideal for going up and working on narrow scaffolds and other very restricted places

with mdf getting used so much i can cut a scribed line and put a leading edge (back bevel) on it in one go

the high polish on the saw blade acts as a mirror so i can cut mitres freehand "if necessary"


Tom, you follow a scribed line with a pull saw? Does that saw have more set than most?

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: chisel usage... not a chisel, but almost a block plane
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2008, 09:24 AM »
The other day I was installing custom made window casings (post and lintel style) with integral extension jambs all pre-finished and pre-assembled. The installation amounted to clearing high spots and other obstructions from around the window so I could fit the casing in place and then a lot of scribing and fitting of the casing until the jambs fit nicely against the window.

For 95% of the work I used one power/hand tool, and this work was done in the client's bedroom. I mention it here because it took the place of chisels, a saw, and a block plane. I did use a knife and small saw to make notches so the jamb fit odd profiles on the aluminum window frame. Using this tool I could erase wood down to the scribe line on the casing and cut rebates on the back of the jamb to fit overlapping parts of the existing frame.

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As far a chisels go I use an broad assortment from different styles, countries of origin, even centuries. It would be nice to have a set of the older Bahcos. The sets I do have are so inferior to the old individual chisels.

My favoritel is a very old Swan cast steel 2" firmer that is actually only about 1 3/4" since a large chunk of the corner cracked off. This was made when tempering was more art than science and it is so hard that when I finally get it sharp it stays sharp for years. With the corner gone it isn't much good for mortises but it is heavy enough to use as a small slick.

« Last Edit: June 01, 2008, 12:31 PM by Michael Kellough »

Offline Tom Bainbridge

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2008, 12:16 PM »
mk

this is the saw i use    http://www.bamboocraft.net/workshop/showphoto.php?photo=1253

the kerf is only 0.88 mil so spliting a normal pencil (scribe) line is dead easy

used at a very low cut angle (i would guess i cut at 15 degrees) combined with the 14 tpi means there is no tear out

i rarely need to use a block plane to improve the fit

 



clearly if the scribe line is against brick or stonework you have to use a jig saw
« Last Edit: June 01, 2008, 12:38 PM by dirtydeeds »
Bromley, Kent. UK

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Offline hissatsu

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Re: chisel usage
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2008, 01:41 PM »
Quote

       I had one stab me (corner of a 3/4")  in the heel of my hand below the thumb. Wasn't bad enough to need anything other than time and band aids though.  But it makes me  much more aware of just were I place my hand now.


Seth

I have 1/2" wide scar on the back of my left hand from a little accident while mortising some cabinet doors for pin hinges (with a 1/2" inch chisel, not surprisingly). Somehow I managed to mortise my hand. Well, at least it just went through all the layers of skin but stopped just at the muscle and tendons. Gave a good view inside though. I wear gloves now when I use chisels. Now if I had been using a mortise chisel at the time, I imagine things would have been a bit more "interesting".  :o

Pedro
« Last Edit: June 01, 2008, 01:45 PM by hissatsu »