Author Topic: Chisels and the Elusive Nature of Sharpness  (Read 8206 times)

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Offline Justin F.

  • Posts: 311
  • Louisiana, USA
Chisels and the Elusive Nature of Sharpness
« on: July 20, 2008, 05:32 PM »
I use to shave with a straight razor -- still do off and on --- and one of the most difficult things for a newbie to determine is razor sharpness.  Ultimately, after going through the usual tests of sharpness (hanging hair, thumbnail, etc), one usually is left with the most wise and unfortunately enigmatic definitions:  "if it shaves comfortably, it is sharp".   Well, I think this chisel sharpening thing might be the same as I have just sharpened (honed) a few chisels and even though they can not shave arm hair, they cut the end grain on pine very well, leaving a slightly burnished effect.   Question:  Any telltale pointers to chisel sharpness?  What do you look for?

Justin
« Last Edit: July 20, 2008, 08:24 PM by jaegerhund »
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Offline Per Swenson

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Re: Chisels and the Ellusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2008, 05:41 PM »
Blood.

Per
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Offline Justin F.

  • Posts: 311
  • Louisiana, USA
Re: Chisels and the Ellusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2008, 05:51 PM »
Check.

Justin
" The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding. "

Offline Per Swenson

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Re: Chisels and the Ellusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2008, 05:55 PM »
Of course I was being snotty.

I suggest spending 10 bucks here

or 20 bucks Here

its really the only way, other wise you are guessing.

Per
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Offline Matthew Schenker

  • Posts: 2619
Re: Chisels and the Ellusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2008, 07:12 PM »
Good Afternoon,
Good subject!  Sharpening has worked for me, but I'm always surprised that I did it (if that makes any sense) and always wonder whether I've done it well enough.
Has anyone used the Veritas Sharpening System?
Matthew
FOG Designer and Creator

Offline Justin F.

  • Posts: 311
  • Louisiana, USA
Re: Chisels and the Ellusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2008, 07:21 PM »
No Matthew --- but I have heard good things about it.    I think Fine Woodworking picked it number one out of a bunch that included the Tormek, Lap-Sharp, and other respected sharpeners.


Justin

Edit:  Oops, I realize now that you were not talking about the MK.II  SYSTEM.   But that looks like a nice guide.


« Last Edit: July 20, 2008, 07:23 PM by jaegerhund »
" The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding. "

Offline Per Swenson

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Re: Chisels and the Ellusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2008, 07:45 PM »
Matthew, Justin.

We own both.

If you are going to be serious about the sharpening biz

MK2.

Time is a valuable commodity, and with a dedicated motorized sharpening system

it is no longer drudgery.

Anecdote time, I know a few union carpenters who will go out and buy a stanley chisel,

use it until dull...then buy another. I kid you not.

Some times we get caught up in the minutiae of this profession/hobby/sport

and lose sight of the goal of building stuff ;)

Per
Party like its 1929. It's the American way.


There outta be a law banning sesquipedalianism on

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Offline erikfsn

  • Posts: 240
Re: Chisels and the Ellusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2008, 08:02 PM »
If they are using a Stanley chisel until it's dull I guess they don't get any use of it at all.

If a tool shaves the back of my wrist comfortably I consider it sharp enough. I recently started
using diamond whetstones and like them.

Erik
« Last Edit: July 20, 2008, 08:03 PM by erikfsn »

Offline Peterm

  • Posts: 262
  • I work with wood in West London, UK
    • carpenterhandyman
Re: Chisels and the Ellusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2008, 02:13 PM »
If a tool shaves the back of my wrist comfortably I consider it sharp enough.

Funny how some things stick in your mind.

When I was little (late 1960s) my Grandad, an old-school time-served joiner, told me the edge of a chisel should be shiny enough to see your face in, and sharp enough to shave with; never really appreciated what he meant until I bought some Japanese waterstones last year.

And FWIW, my 28-year-old Stanley chisels are doing just fine, thanks!

Cheers, Pete.
The only thing worse than spending more than you need is spending less than you should have...

Offline Allen Akin

  • Posts: 27
Re: Chisels and the Ellusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2008, 10:54 AM »
Has anyone used the Veritas Sharpening System?
Yes, I have one, and used it often until I bought a Work Sharp.  As far as jigs for hand sharpening go, it was the best I found.

Allen

Offline Dave Ronyak

  • Posts: 2234
  • Flyin' from NE Ohio
Re: Chisels and the Ellusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2008, 11:17 AM »
Good Afternoon,
Good subject!  Sharpening has worked for me, but I'm always surprised that I did it (if that makes any sense) and always wonder whether I've done it well enough.
Has anyone used the Veritas Sharpening System?
Matthew


Yes, I have used one with good results.  The only annoyance is that chisels may not be lined up exactly square to the edge, the holder would be improved if it had a long side support to register a side edge of the chisel or plane iron against to help assure consistent registry each time the tool was inserted or reinserted in the holder.

Overall, I prefer a diamond "stone" to quickly develop an edge and thereafter a water stone for the final edge.  But the Work Sharp looks like a very good idea.  I also use an abrasive loaded rubber wheel to keep the honed edge on my lathe chisels.  I can mount and run that wheel concurrently on my Shopsmith when using it as a lathe.  Using this technique, I rarely have to grind and resharpen my lathe chisels.

Dave R.
Friends, family and Festools make for a good retirement.  PCs...I'm not so sure.

Offline Tom Bainbridge

  • Posts: 1009
  • Limey Carpenter
Re: Chisels and the Elusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2008, 07:59 PM »
chisels sharpened and honed with tormek will dry shave my forearm

that is quite good



give me the impossible and id be in heven

give me a tormek with a ceramic 10'000 grit stone
Bromley, Kent. UK

aka dirtydeeds

Offline Eiji Fuller

  • Retailer
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  • Posts: 1087
Re: Chisels and the Elusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2008, 03:22 AM »
Tormek wet grid and finish up with a few passes on the bevel and a few laps on the back on a 6,000 grit water stone. I skip the honing wheel in favor of the sater stone for chisels and irons. I do use the honing wheel for my jointer blades and kitchen knives.

If it is sharp it will slice note paper without any frays.

Eiji
« Last Edit: July 23, 2008, 03:23 AM by Eiji Fuller »

Offline Neill

  • Posts: 889
Re: Chisels and the Elusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2008, 02:12 PM »
I saw an episode of the Woodsmith Shop last weekend about sharpening chisels and planes.  They used a plywood board that appeared to be about 12" x 18" with various degrees of sandpaper affixed to in squares.  Easy to move from one degree to the other through the sharpening process.  Inexpensive to make and maintain. I think they indicated that the plan was available for no charge on their website.

Neill
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Offline Per Swenson

  • Posts: 871
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Re: Chisels and the Elusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2008, 05:04 PM »
Neill,

No,No, Noooooo,

Don't use ply wood.

Use a 1/4 plate glass.

Then get these papers here

and very carefully attach then with spray 77

Then go back to lee valley and get this baby, which is how this whole thread started.

Sorry to sound so stern, but we aren't talking dollar store chisels here, and I'am no elitist.

I have a dolla store chisel, I keep it handy for use in the more urban confines of NJ, like Patterson.

Tune it up on the concrete side walk even.  Its effective for the trip from door to truck. ;D

Per
« Last Edit: July 23, 2008, 06:19 PM by Per Swenson »
Party like its 1929. It's the American way.


There outta be a law banning sesquipedalianism on

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Offline Justin F.

  • Posts: 311
  • Louisiana, USA
Re: Chisels and the Elusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2008, 05:11 PM »
Per, do you need to use the adhesive or will ,  if you use water, the water tension hold the paper to the glass?

Justin
" The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding. "

Offline Per Swenson

  • Posts: 871
  • So far deep in rural nj, there are no Neighbors
    • Swenson&Swenson
Re: Chisels and the Elusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2008, 05:25 PM »
Jaeger,

That is just the way we have done it, jeeze I'm getting old...for ev for a long time.

These days we have the MK2 so I just leave some of that 2550x and 9000x glued down, walk over to the bench, no guide

or nuthin and tune up.  If I am workin in somebody's house, and I arrive unprepared, happens a lot.

I glue a piece of 2500 to the corner of the bathroom window.

Yeah? What are ya laughin at? ::) You don't do that? Wha sit down with your little stone and look all professional?

I would luv a cuppa Mum. :D  Oh I can see it now. Sorry I am way outta hand here. ::)

Per
Party like its 1929. It's the American way.


There outta be a law banning sesquipedalianism on

internet forums.

www.swensonz.com

Offline Justin F.

  • Posts: 311
  • Louisiana, USA
Re: Chisels and the Elusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2008, 05:44 PM »
Per!  My word!!  Etiquette my man.  So all I need to do is find the nearest window and slap some abrasive paper on it ? ----  my word!  :D

Justin
« Last Edit: July 23, 2008, 06:04 PM by jaegerhund »
" The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding. "

Offline Per Swenson

  • Posts: 871
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Re: Chisels and the Elusive Nature of Sharpness
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2008, 06:01 PM »
Actually if your workin near a granite counter top...

you won't have to run that exhaust fan to stand your self.

But yeah, I was getting extreme, just fine some 1/4 plate.

If you look around you will discover it is everywhere.

Per
Party like its 1929. It's the American way.


There outta be a law banning sesquipedalianism on

internet forums.

www.swensonz.com