NO! NO! NO!
SYP is the worst of both worlds, IMHO. The winter wood is very hard,
while the summer wood is relatively soft. When you are cutting through
oak or maple, the wood is hard, AND very solid, so the fibers you are
cutting have a good backing. With SYP, when you are cutting fibers in
the winter wood part of a ring, you are cutting very hard wood, with a
soft layer behind it.
Analogy: Paring oak is like slicing a carrot on a solid cutting board
on a counter top. Paring SYP is like slicing a carrot that is resting
on a sofa cushion.
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.
I'm looking forward to practicing. I ordered a DP a few days ago.
Still need to gegting fluorescent lights up. The snow flurries started
just a few days ago and the temps are commensurate.
What do you think we should do for the rest of the materials with "our"
I happen to own a "rubber mallet". Is that appropriate for pushing a
chisel, or would one of the other contrivances I've seen be worthwhile?
The contrivance I was thinking of looked like a possibly rubber-coated
cylindrical mass of wood.
The sole good use of polyurethane is to make a damn nice mallet. I
have an 18oz Shop Fox urethane mallet and it works better than wood,
plastic, or (cringe) steel. I fell in love with it on the second
stroke. Rawhide may have a similar resilience to it. I'll have to
check that out.
Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.
-- Margaret Lee Runbeck
Ahh shoot Bill, whittle mortices in whatever you want to. From
pineywood to purpleheart and get used to the feel of it. Fir 4X's will
mortise nicely, Don't sweat the little sh@t, and get on with it.
Experience will come and you will be fine.
I think the Narex are a great value.
I have some Marples Blue Chips. You can use the Marples with a mallet
but they aren't the best choice for mortising if you do a lot.
If you want to try chopping mortises in softwood with your Marples, by
all means do it. You should be able to get a respectable result, with
One advantage of the motise style chisel is that it won't twist as you
are chopping the mortise. And as you chop with the mortise chisel, and
lever out your waste, you won't need to spend time paring the
sidewalls if you chop and lever correctly. There are plenty of
examples on the Net for how to do that.
Compared to the steel in the Narex, the Marples edge will degrade
faster (according to published comparative tests, and assuming the
Narex mortise chisel steel is as tough or tougher than their bevel
edge chisel steel).
You should think about what sizes of chisel you need for hand
mortising. The general rule is the mortise width should be the same as
wall on either side. If you are working with 3/4" wood, you almost
always want the mortise to be 1/4", and each sidewall will be 1/4".
Maybe you should also have a 3/8" for working in 1" wood (or the
closest metric equivalent). The others in the set may never get used.
Another good option is to purchase one really good mortise chisel that
you need now, say the 1/4". And then if you ever need a 3/8", get it
Besides Sorby, Lie-Neilsen makes great chisels. 1 LN chisel will cost
more than the whole set of Narex chisels.
The Narex bench chisels were given a "Best Buy" rating by FWW in t heir last
chisel review. Note that was bench and not morticing chisels. I have not seen
a morticing chisel review.
FWIW, I have yet to find a "bad" chisel at yard sales or the bay, as long as it
is a socket chisel. Some are better than others of course. Usually very good
price, especially if it needs a handle.
A followup to Jeff's post. He once had a short article/ amusing anecdote on his
site about the Sorby company and proper shaping of mortice chisels. The proper
transition from the cutting edge to the back of the chisel is rounded to aid
levering out the chips, not an angle. He also has a plan to build a sharpening
Someone mentioned Scarey Sharp, which is the method I use.. IME, a sheet higher
than 320 grit lasts a long time as long as you remember to pull not push. I can
buy a helluva lot of sandpaper for the $200 people want for a set of water
stones. A quarter inch 10" x 30" glass shelf cost a buck at the thrift store,
and easily holds six or more pieces of 1/3 sheet strips. I have a separate 12"
square of glass that holds 150 and 220 wet or dry. I do replace those grits
fairly often, but I frequently flatten chisels and plane blades. (I do not
collect chisels and planes, I do not collect chisels and planes, I do not.....)
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