'bout to buy a couple mortise chisels for chopping some deep mortises
and don't know what to buy. Seems like i've heard some bad poop on
Sorby but don't know anything about the Hirsch. I like ordering from LV
but i want good chisels.
All recomendations are appreciated.
I like my Sorby chisels better than any other I have tried so far. They
are nearly ready to go out of the package. Not so for Hirsch or Two
Cherries. They have an annoying plastic coating that I remove with
paint stripper and require some serious honing time to get them in top
shape. Especially frustrating were backs that were far from flat,
possibly from the high polish they are given at the factory. I have no
idea why they do this. If anybody knows, I would be glad to hear it. I
like the way they cut now that they are up to speed, and the edge
holding seems fine, but I didn't like how much work it took to get
there. I'm planning on trying a few of the more sane priced Japanese
chisels next and see if I like them.
I never heard what the knock on Sorby chisels was, just some vague
comments to the effect that they aren't what they used to be. All three
of mine were nearly flat out of the package and had nice, crisp
I can't compare brands, but I've got two Sorby mortise chisels and I
have no complaints. At the time I got mine (a few years ago) the best
price I could find was at:
You can either put the URL together or start at the base address and
work your way to the "Heavy Duty" Sorby chisels.
I bought this Henry Taylor set, great price:
I had read that the Sorby steel is loaded with too much "silicon" or some
such, which makes it softer and more shock absorbing, this was from an
old chisel review in a magazine from about '95, in which the steel of all
the chisels was chemically tested for content. One would need to sharpen
more often. These HTs have thick steel ferrules and hoops on beech handles.
I have not used them yet so I cannot report on their edge holding qualities,
Andy Dingly said: "Henry Taylors are what Robert Sorby should be"...
that was the final straw and I bought 'em.
But If you get them, tell them to make sure the blades are straight inline
with the handles, I have had two replaced.
However, despite the over polished backs of the Two Cherries and Hirsch,
they are famous for being the best steel in chisels from anywhere in Europe,
the rockwell "C" test for hardness is 62 which is excellent. You'd sharpen
less often and because of that they take a very fine edge much easier and
faster than cheaper gummy steels. So even if you have to do a lot of work
to flatten the backs it might be better in the long run for quality of use.
Alex - newbie in woodworking
I bought a Japan woodworker 1/2 Matasushima (sp) chisel last week.
I've not honed it up yet, and will be my first mortise chisel. On the
10th I head for Cosman's class in Canada with a woodworking friend. He
bought a full set of Hirsh for the class.
The Hirsh are a bit large for my taste in just holding them, I have not
used them yet. After the class I hope to have tried a few different
mortise chisels and see which I prefer.
I can tell you the Japan woodworker bench chisels definetely get
sharper and hold their edge better than my vintage 720's do for
dovetail work. The Japan chisel honed on 1000 grit Shapton by hand is
sharper than my 720 up to 8000 with a jig.
On Thu, 30 Jun 2005 09:48:41 -0500, Jack Gray wrote:
I have a Hirsch from LV. As another poster pointed out, the Hirsch comes
with a coating. That's lacquer, to prevent rusting during shipment and
storage. It comes right off with acetone. Some of the ugly
yellow paint comes off along with the lacquer. Mine did take a lot of work
to flatten the back. Perhaps someone who has owned both Two Cherries and
Hirsch can comment--maybe they're not exactly the same.
I found that a secondary bevel of 35 deg was adequate for hard maple.
At any more acute angle the tip bent.
That huge handle is really nice when whacking a deep mortise.
"Keep your ass behind you"
vladimir a t mad scientist com
Jim Wilson was making some very nice beefy
mortising chisels that he sold through Steve
Knight's site. RC 62, backs flat, sides square
and flat and thick. The bevel to sides edge is
sharp enough to siice the sides of the mortise.
It will also slice your finger - DAMHIKT.
Though Jim's site says he's quit making them
I recall a post that he's started making them
again. Go to his site and drop him a line.
ps. If you get a mortising chisel stuck in
a mortise, when you're tugging and
pulling - keep your chin out of the
exit path. If not, you WILL literally
see stars. DAMHIKT..
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