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Tuning up chisels - a quick [probably stupid] question

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Forum topic by HibbittyDibbitty posted 08-13-2014 12:45 AM 792 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HibbittyDibbitty

8 posts in 315 days


08-13-2014 12:45 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question sharpening chisels

I fully understand how dumb some of you will think I am for asking this question. Trust me, you and I are in agreement. So no need to post a reply telling me as much. Anyway, here goes:

I keep cutting my fingers while sharpening and/or using my chisels. Not on the cutting edge, but on the long edge where the blade’s back meets its side at 90 degrees. When I was using cheap-o, big box chisels, I just ran a fine stone over those edges a couple of times to put a little micro-round on the edge, but I’ve just bought some less-cheap-o Narex and Stanley 750s and I’m hesitant to do the same thing before making sure I’m not screwing up big-time. To my mind, I want the sides to be square to the back, but I can’t imagine that it’s necessary to have a perfect 90 degree edge all the way from the bevel to the shoulder, right? Am I completely off the deep end here, or is this a common problem?


17 replies so far

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dirtycurty

44 posts in 302 days


#1 posted 08-13-2014 12:52 AM

I can’t help you with your question about chisels, but what I wanted to tell you is that the only “stupid” question is the one you don’t ask.

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Airframer

2657 posts in 676 days


#2 posted 08-13-2014 12:53 AM

I have the exact same problem when I sharpen and use my Chisels. I had never thought of putting a slight round on the edge. I’ll wait and see what others say on the issue but for now I just wrap a bandaid around the offending finger and let the chisel rest on it instead of skin.

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

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HibbittyDibbitty

8 posts in 315 days


#3 posted 08-13-2014 12:54 AM

Agreed, of course. But they can still expose the stupidity that led to them. I’m holding out hope that I’ll be vindicated though.

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HibbittyDibbitty

8 posts in 315 days


#4 posted 08-13-2014 12:56 AM



I have the exact same problem when I sharpen and use my Chisels. I had never thought of putting a slight round on the edge. I ll wait and see what others say on the issue but for now I just wrap a bandaid around the offending finger and let the chisel rest on it instead of skin.

- Airframer

Eric, the fact that I’m not the only one with this problem is just as valuable to me as a quick solution.

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Pezking7p

1476 posts in 375 days


#5 posted 08-13-2014 01:01 AM

I just try not to cut myself, which usually means being careful when paring. The only reason I can see for keeping it sharp all the way up the back is when you sharpen your chisel to that spot on the chisel it won’t be sharp all the way out to the corners. But what can a couple thousandths of unsharpened corners hurt?

I say knock them down with a few swipes, but I’ll wait for someone more knowledgeable to chime in as well.

-- -Dan

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Airframer

2657 posts in 676 days


#6 posted 08-13-2014 01:02 AM

Yep usually a few minutes into chisel use I will see some DNA left on the project. After making sure I was still 10 and 10 I’ll notice some slices on the side of my guide hands pointer finger where the chisel rests and slides when paring. Figured I was the only one as well and just chalked it up to me being a dumba#^.

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

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TheFridge

963 posts in 209 days


#7 posted 08-13-2014 01:04 AM

I’d leave the last inch or so near the cutting edge alone and round over the rest.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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DaleM

923 posts in 2107 days


#8 posted 08-13-2014 01:21 AM

I can only think of one reason for leaving them sharp on the edge. That sharp edge works well when trimming edge banding on plywood. If you haven’t done this before, the iron on banding is slightly wider than 3/4 inch ply and sliding the chisel edge along to trim it flush is the best way I have found so far. Of course, you would only need to keep one chisel sharp for that, so I don’t see any problem with rounding the rest of them slightly.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

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bigblockyeti

1738 posts in 444 days


#9 posted 08-13-2014 02:10 AM

I knocked the corners of mine off too. I don’t need any part of the chisel that sharp, except for the cutting edge.

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JohnChung

273 posts in 798 days


#10 posted 08-13-2014 08:23 AM

I haven’t gotten to that situation yet. The edges should be crisp but not sharp like a blade. If it is that sharp just use a leather strop. It will knockdown the sharp edge.

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JayT

2534 posts in 934 days


#11 posted 08-13-2014 11:20 AM

I don’t see any issue with knocking down those corners, leaving the last little bit near the cutting edge alone. That crisp, sharp corner is probably the result of flattening the chisel back. At least it shows you did a good job of flattening. :-)

A couple strokes on a strop or your finest stone sould take the sharp edge off without affecting chisel shape. If for some reason you use up that much chisel in your lifetime, the back would need done again.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

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JayT

2534 posts in 934 days


#12 posted 08-13-2014 11:21 AM

Double post

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

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JayT

2534 posts in 934 days


#13 posted 08-13-2014 11:23 AM

Triple post—the interwebz has gone nuts.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

View Tim's profile

Tim

1331 posts in 685 days


#14 posted 08-13-2014 06:14 PM

Here’s what highland hardware has to say about it in the sales blurb on their Narex premium chisels:
“like most chisels, they’ll feel better and work better after you’ve gentled their long edges and flattened their backs.”

I assume that means the sharp side edges that I too have been a victim of being cut by. I guess I can’t see how they’ll work better but it’s better than being sliced up. I also just assumed I was the dumb@ss that didn’t know better, but many of us are learning on our own from the internet instead of from a mentor or shop like back in the day so it’s better to ask than not know.

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TheWoodenOyster

976 posts in 658 days


#15 posted 08-13-2014 09:12 PM

You can round those edges off. I still need to do that with my chisels, actually. You aren’t crazy.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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