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Monday, December 26, 2011

New Stanley Sweetheart Chisels

My current set of chisels is from Footprint. I don't like 'em much. The handle shape is too bulky, and they hold an edge like butter. I've made them work, but I've been itching to replace them. Some time ago, I got a 3/8" Stanley SW to try out. I like it. It takes and holds a decent edge. I've never used a Lie-Nielsen or I can't make the comparison, but it works for me. It's also a huge step up. Today, I picked up the 1/2". I wanted to get the 1/8" as well, but the shape of the blade didn't look right to me, I'll have to look at a Lie-Nielsen to fill that slot, I think.
My new 1/2" (top) next the my 3/8". I liked the 3/8" enough to make me feel confident about getting the 1/2".
The beveled edge of the new chisel. It's much finer than my existing chisels. I can't compare it to something like an LN, but it is pretty good in my eyes.
Top shot, before honing.
Back of the chisel before flattening. The little scrapes are in the varnish that Stanley puts on the blade...remember to remove that!
After flattening on the 1000 grit water stone. This step took about a minute.
After the 4000 grit.
Cutting edge is sharpened.
A few test cuts in walnut. It sliced with ease.
Total prep, to flatten and sharpen the 1/2" chisel was about 11 minutes. That includes taking the pictures, and running to another room for better light. I'll admit that I was cautious about getting the Stanleys. I didn't want to spend my money on a bunch of duds. These two seem to be pretty good tools. I've used a mallet with the 3/8" chisel and it held up fine. I haven't taken a whack at the 1/2" yet, just paring cuts so far.
Overall, I'm satisfied with the fit and finish of the SW chisels. The handle shape is comfy for my size hands. The machining could be just a little bit better in my opinion, but I was still able to prepare the chisel in a very reasonable amount of time.
I currently have a 1/4" LN chisel on back order, so I'll have something to compare with once that thing shows up. I'd like to get a closer look at the LN 1/8" chisel as well. The sides of the Stanley in that size aren't very delicate, and I want to see if I can get something with keener bevels.

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