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Ain't Nothing Like A English Pig Sticker

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Forum topic by BubbaIBA posted 07-07-2014 07:13 PM 1207 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BubbaIBA

383 posts in 1844 days


07-07-2014 07:13 PM

I’m in the short rows on the new bench build. The base is marked out and drilled for the drawbore pins. I have started chopping the mortices. There are three mortices per leg each 13mm wide, 60mm deep and 90mm long. If all goes as usual it will take about an hour a leg. Thats including looking, water or tea breaks, scratching, kicking the ball for Sweet Maggie Dog and so on. Because it is Summer in Tucson, I’m through until later today unless we get a Monsoon rain this afternoon. What ever, about four more hours chopping mortices and about the same sawing the tenons and then it is fit the base to the slab. Once they are together I have to find a couple of guys to help set it upright. Like I said I’m in the short rows.

The reason for this post and one of the reasons it can go so fast is I use an English Pig Sticker by Ray Iles to chop the mortices. As the title states, there ain’t nothing like a pig sticker for chopping mortices. They are fast and very easy to control. A good pig sticker is almost like an extension of your arm and hand…place, whack, push, repeat. With the 60mm mortices I’m chopping today I’m half way to depth on the first pass and will be to full depth on the second, then all that will be needed is to clean and square the ends. It doesn’t get better.


17 replies so far

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racerglen

3112 posts in 2248 days


#1 posted 07-07-2014 10:40 PM

Awsome tool, and some sweet work !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

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ColonelTravis

1196 posts in 1362 days


#2 posted 07-07-2014 11:29 PM

Mmmm – Ray Iles tickers. I’m sure they’re great. Have you used other brands before them? Wondering how they compare (or don’t)?

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lateralus819

2236 posts in 1357 days


#3 posted 07-07-2014 11:41 PM

I chopped my first mortises this week. I’ve done 4 so far. I had tons of fun! Might invest in mortise chisels and do em by hand from now on, hell with a router.

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shampeon

1719 posts in 1651 days


#4 posted 07-07-2014 11:51 PM

With all due respect to Paul Sellers, it’s much easier for me to chop mortises with a real pig sticker than a bevel-edge bench chisel. I’ve done both, and his method works, but the sheer mass and chopping power of a pig sticker is awesome.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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theoldfart

8139 posts in 1919 days


#5 posted 07-07-2014 11:58 PM

Pig stickers have my vote

I drilled then chopped four mortises in 4” of red oak using these.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

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BubbaIBA

383 posts in 1844 days


#6 posted 07-08-2014 02:35 AM



Mmmm – Ray Iles tickers. I m sure they re great. Have you used other brands before them? Wondering how they compare (or don t)?

- ColonelTravis

Ray Iles is the only one currently making pig stickers. I’ve several older ones, the difference the Iles chisels use D2 steel and are not beat up. I haven’t picked up one of the older chisels since buying the Iles. As far as comparing to other style mortice chisels, there is no comparison.

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BubbaIBA

383 posts in 1844 days


#7 posted 07-08-2014 02:41 AM



I chopped my first mortises this week. I ve done 4 so far. I had tons of fun! Might invest in mortise chisels and do em by hand from now on, hell with a router.

- lateralus819

Four or less I can do ‘em by hand as fast or faster than by machine, more the machine wins.

There is no set up time, just mark, whack the holdfast, place the chisel, give it a whack, push, place the chisel. Repeat until you have a mortice. It becomes Zen like and is very calming.

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BubbaIBA

383 posts in 1844 days


#8 posted 07-08-2014 02:43 AM


With all due respect to Paul Sellers, it s much easier for me to chop mortises with a real pig sticker than a bevel-edge bench chisel. I ve done both, and his method works, but the sheer mass and chopping power of a pig sticker is awesome.

- shampeon

I agree, I will use a bevel edge chisel to chop the button mortices to hold a table top but anything bigger or deeper the pig stickers come out to play.

BTW, thanks guys for reading and replying.

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ColonelTravis

1196 posts in 1362 days


#9 posted 07-08-2014 03:53 AM

Interesting, I have had the wrong definition of a pig sticker. So these are a little shorter than the modern mortise chisel?

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BubbaIBA

383 posts in 1844 days


#10 posted 07-08-2014 02:43 PM



Interesting, I have had the wrong definition of a pig sticker. So these are a little shorter than the modern mortise chisel?

- ColonelTravis

I hadn’t thought about a pig sticker being short. I don’t have any modern mortice chisels so I can’t say one way or the other but I did put it next to one of my older Robert Sorby mortice chisels and they were within a mm or two of each other.

I guess to avoid confusion they should be referred to as “English Pattern Mortice Chisels”, but the farm boy in me likes the sound of “pig sticker” :-).

ken

View Tim's profile

Tim

3119 posts in 1429 days


#11 posted 07-08-2014 07:17 PM

With all due respect to Paul Sellers, it s much easier for me to chop mortises with a real pig sticker than a bevel-edge bench chisel. I ve done both, and his method works, but the sheer mass and chopping power of a pig sticker is awesome.

- shampeon

Yeah this is one of those where I am going to have to say there’s a skill involved in what he does. He does say students in his class can learn his method quickly enough and I’m sure that’s true, but trying it myself hasn’t been that easy. Anything takes practice and I’m sure I’ll get it, but I’m thinking a mortice chisel might be easier. I’ve gotten the mortices chopped and they work, but getting the walls square (plumb?) to the top is tricky. I’ve been on the lookout for pigstickers but no luck so far.

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shampeon

1719 posts in 1651 days


#12 posted 07-08-2014 07:48 PM

Yeah this is one of those where I am going to have to say there s a skill involved in what he does. He does say students in his class can learn his method quickly enough and I m sure that s true, but trying it myself hasn t been that easy. Anything takes practice and I m sure I ll get it, but I m thinking a mortice chisel might be easier. I ve gotten the mortices chopped and they work, but getting the walls square (plumb?) to the top is tricky. I ve been on the lookout for pigstickers but no luck so far.

- Tim

Apart from the mass, keeping the chisel square to the sides is much easier with a pig sticker, I’ve found. The large handle and square blade are a big part of that, no doubt.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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theoldfart

8139 posts in 1919 days


#13 posted 07-08-2014 08:05 PM

The oval shape of the handle assists in keeping the chisel square in the mortise.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View BubbaIBA's profile

BubbaIBA

383 posts in 1844 days


#14 posted 07-08-2014 10:11 PM



With all due respect to Paul Sellers, it s much easier for me to chop mortises with a real pig sticker than a bevel-edge bench chisel. I ve done both, and his method works, but the sheer mass and chopping power of a pig sticker is awesome.

- shampeon

Yeah this is one of those where I am going to have to say there s a skill involved in what he does. He does say students in his class can learn his method quickly enough and I m sure that s true, but trying it myself hasn t been that easy. Anything takes practice and I m sure I ll get it, but I m thinking a mortice chisel might be easier. I ve gotten the mortices chopped and they work, but getting the walls square (plumb?) to the top is tricky. I ve been on the lookout for pigstickers but no luck so far.

- Tim

Tim,

Look at the OP, there is a link to TFWW where you can buy Ray Iles chisels. I’ve been down the road of buying used ones if you factor in the eBay burn rate and the need for most pig stickers to be re-handled it will be cheaper to buy new. Truth is you can forget all that, the Ray Iles chisels are a bargain just as is.

ken

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waho6o9

7180 posts in 2045 days


#15 posted 07-08-2014 11:02 PM

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