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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Woodworking: prepping some new chisels

I have a couple of small woodworking projects that I would like to work on. Indirectly, I have some stuff on the drafting board that will require a small amount of woodworking as well.
As we all know, I sold off most of my wood tools. Included in those sales were my Lie-Nielsen chisels. I have a few antiques and a few new Stanley's, but nothing compares to a Lie-Nielsen chisel.
I set off into the land of internet shopping and ordered a 1/2" & 1/4" chisel. As I expected, my new chisels are super nice and I'm all in love with them and stuff.
This morning, I wanted to take care of the prep work to get them ready for use.

Here goes:

Some time ago, I made a sharpening set up based on the Lie-Nielsen design available on their web site. I'm not going to get into the construction, as it is pretty basic. You'll get the idea as we go along. I made it so that I could clamp it onto my work bench using my surface vice and a dog.

When you receive a chisel from L-N, it will have been flattened to 400 grit. They do a pretty darned good job. I started to polish the back on my 1000 grit water stone.

It did not take long to get a polished band at the tip of the chisel.

This is the back after the 4000 grit stone.

Moving on to the Norton 8000. It's flatter than it looks. For the record the stones I use are: King 1000 and 4000, and a Norton 8000.

Quit looking at my feet! This is the back of the chisel after the 8000 grit stone. That star is a sticker on the back of my phone. Great little way to show polish!

Now is the tricky part. You see, the angle blocks on the board are set up for plane irons. They register in the top section of the sharpening guide. Chisels are held in the lower part. Geometry tells us that those angles are going to be different. L-N chisels are ground at 30 degrees. I just want to add a little bit of a secondary bevel without adding a whole bunch of angle to the edge. If I use the 30 degree block, the tip of the chisel will not touch the stone.  If I use the 35 degree block, I will actually get something closer to 32 or 33 degrees. Perfect!

After a few strokes on the stone, the polish will come quickly. This is mainly due to the level of quality to which these chisels are made.

A few more strokes...

From the 1000 grit stone, I progressed through the 4000 and onto the 8000.

And the 1/2" chisel is done!

Here, I am putting the finishing touches on the 1/4" chisel. I suppose what I want to say now is that I learned a lesson a while back. I no longer push chisels when I sharpen them. I start at the far end of the stone and pull it back. It's probably happened to you: you're going along, having a good ole time and you push down a little too hard and BAM! you've dug your chisel into your stone. That isn't fun. You can exert more force on the edge of a chisel than a plane iron because the chisels are narrower. They can rock, they can catch, they can wreak havoc.

Two nicely polished chisel edges. With the backs polished to 8000, the idea is that I won't put the backs onto a coarser stone in routine sharpening. I can do all of the deburring at that grit and maintain the existing back. As long as I never ding them up, or use them too long between touch ups, I hope that I won't need to go back to the 1000 stone for the bevel.

Here is the sharpening set up again.

My addition to the L-N board, was to turn it into a box of sorts. This did two things. First, it gave me somewhere to set my stones when they aren't in use. Second, it moved the sharpening board up and reduced the amount that I have to bend over.

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