Piping Up #3: When all else fails, chisel

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Blog entry by sylinen posted 06-13-2014 06:50 PM 1033 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: What to do when the machines break Part 3 of Piping Up series no next part

I’d finished roughing out the stummel of the pipe on the bandsaw and I moved on to rounding off the rough edges. My first approach was to stick the 12” disc sander on the Shopsmith and go to town. Since the lathe was out of commission, I thought this was my next best option. I’d seen videos on YouTube and it seemed fairly straightforward. What quickly became apparent was that such a large, rigid disc was not going to give me the fine detail I wanted. It worked fine for rounding the stem and the convex faces of the bowl, but led to flat spots at the inflection points.

What to do? I initially reached for the Dremel, but it quickly became apparent that there weren’t enough sanding discs or shaper bits in all the world for this job. Well, I’d gotten some Stanley Sweetheart chisels for Christmas, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to blood them in (and I do mean blood in; those suckers are sharp from the factory). I’d never done any carving before. The extent of my chisel use was recessing hinges for cabinets and doors, but watching the Woodwright’s Shop gave me just enough confidence to be dangerous.

My approach was to go slow and work on forming the lip around the edge of the bowl. I went around the perimeter with the 1/4” chisel, carving out a trough to the depth I wanted. Then I just started knocking corners off and paring down with the larger chisels to create a consistent lip. After about an hour I’d gotten it to a shape I was reasonably happy with.

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