DIY Fishtail Chisel

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Blog entry by GarageWoodworks posted 09-14-2014 12:58 AM 1546 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been wanting to abandon my dovetail jig lately and I was reinvigorated by Frank’s seminar today to learn hand cut dovetails. Frank Klausz (at Woodworking in America 2014) used a fishtail chisel to clean out his sockets, although not a necessity, I wanted one. I went back to the market place at Woodworking in America and Lie-Nielsen sold them for $75 a pop (minimum). So, being a little more than I wanted to spend I decided to make one from an old Buck Bros chisel.

I first ground the chisel on both sides with a grinding wheel and refined with a bastard file. I then sharpened on a water stone (last picture).

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5 comments so far

View wunderaa's profile


248 posts in 2441 days

#1 posted 09-14-2014 01:47 AM


View MadJester's profile


2065 posts in 2668 days

#2 posted 09-14-2014 01:58 AM

Nicely done…chisels are a dime a dozen at estate/yard sales…no need to spend that kind of money for a new one when you can get good quality vintage steel ones everywhere you look…and you already had yours, so bonus all around….I may try this myself….thanks for posting it…

-- Sue~ Mad Jester Woodworks, "Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom" Thomas Carlyle

View Woodwrecker's profile


4211 posts in 3814 days

#3 posted 09-14-2014 02:14 AM

Looks like that should do the trick alright.
I have a few ground into different configurations for special applications.
Good work Brian.

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2199 days

#4 posted 09-14-2014 05:15 PM

Great idea. Tough though to grind off that much metal without taking the temper out of the blade, but if you go slow, and dunk in water especially when close to the business end, it should be ok.

View GarageWoodworks's profile


539 posts in 2394 days

#5 posted 09-14-2014 05:43 PM

You can see a water drip in pic 2 from dipping. Dip and take you time and you’ll be fine :)

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