I've got a 20 year old Marples blue handled chisel I've started using
to chop out dovetails. After about four corners worth of completely
chopping through tails & pins in rather tough 5/8" red oak the chisel
badly needs a sharpening (it started out arm shaving sharp). Is this
about what you experience, or is it time to find some better quality
When you say sharpening, do you mean a light touch up on an oilstone or
a regrind. ?
I have an oilstone near the bench and lightly touch up the edge of
chisels as required.
If you are having to resharpen too often you may have overheated the
chisel at some point and lost the temper. This should be fairly obvious
from the color.
I scary sharp with a roller guide for a few minutes going through three
grits of sandpaper on the bevel to get back to the arm shaving sharp -
is this a 'touchup'?. The bevel angle is at approx whatever the
factory bevel was. I'm pretty new to chopping and I'm basically
wondering if it's normal to need to re-sharpen after every dovetailed
drawer. Maybe the chisel is bad (though I'd expect and old but seldom
used Marples to hold a good edge) or my sharpening technique is off. I
sure it's never been sharpened agressively enough to have over-heated
the metal. I'll try a micro-bevel (per Chris' comment) when I get a
chance and see if that helps the edge holding up.
Appreciate everyone's comments.
These are quite awesome quality, I have a set with "Garrette Wade" on the
handles but they are the same (Stubai on the blades), mine are minus the
leather shock washers. They hold an edge quite well for a long time, and the
Beech handles can really take a lot of hard slamming from a Beech mallet
without even denting.
Stubai chisels made in Austria: http://www.diefenbacher.com/stubai2.htm
There is a review there you can read, that I entirely agree with. No more
cheap Sheffield steel! Stubai steel is not dark and "gummy", but a fine light
gray dust on yellow 220. These are worth it!
Alex - "newbie_neander" woodworker
This seems reasonable to me.
After all this work, you should need an excuse for a rest!
Of course, if people make too much fuss about sharpening, they will be
reluctant to get engaged.
For chopping (and mortising), a medium oilstone (or somesuch) is probably
quite adequate. The fancy stuff is needed for paring and carving.
Jeff G, feeling dogmatic.
Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK
email : Username is amgron
Are you chopping or paring?
The angle of the blade can be customized in the general direction of the
For paring, the stock angle is fine, but it's perfectly normal to have
to touch 'em up on 4000 & 8000 stones as you work. If you continually
touch up, real sharpening are spaced much farther apart.
For chopping, you may need a steeper angle on the bevel, more like a
mortise chisel, and you'll still need to touch up as you work.
I have a set of Blue Chips and still use them for many jobs. The
higher-end stuff I replaced them with still need touching up, although
less frequently. I don't hit paring chisels with much more than my
palm. I typically remove waste with a coping saw, band saw, or trim
Someone else recommended the Lee sharpening book. It's a great resource.
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