How long between sharpening chisels when chopping dovetails?


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 chisels?
Steve
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Steve wrote:

Before you start shelling out money for new chisels, check your sharpening technique. The best book I've ever seen on the subject is the one by Leonard Lee.
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Steve wrote:

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.
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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.
Steve
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Steve wrote:

What bevel angle are you using? You may wish to increase the bevel angle and see if it holds up better.
Chris
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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!
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Alex - "newbie_neander" woodworker
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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.
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Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK
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Steve wrote:

Are you chopping or paring?
The angle of the blade can be customized in the general direction of the task.
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 router (half-blinds).
Someone else recommended the Lee sharpening book. It's a great resource.
Barry
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