Mortise / Mortising Chisels

I'm looking for some good, heavy duty, truly imperial mortising chisels. I've seen the Lie-Nielsen offering, but I was wondering if there are any other good ones out there. I'm not opposed to buying the LNs, but they're statement that they're for cabinetmaking and not timberframing makes me a little nervous. Anything beefier out there?
JP
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Ray Iles mostise chisels at toolsforworkingwood.
http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/Merchant/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=toolshop&Product_Code=MS-MORT.XX&Category_Code=CRI no affiliation, yada yada
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Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.

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That's exactly what I'm looking for. Pricier than the LNs, but they look much more to my liking. Now I'm really going to have to get frugal in other areas of my life!
JP
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http://www.wkfinetools.com/contrib/cSchwarz/mortChisel/mortChis1.asp
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alexy wrote:

And from the same place:
http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/Merchant/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=toolshop&Product_Code=WS-MCCHIS.XX&Category_Code=TBMC
I've got a couple of these and they work great.
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Quarton Barr makes some of the best I have seen, google up Barr tools
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now. Does he have them periodically?
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Jay Pique wrote:

Jim Wilson made some that would meet your criteria - especially the beefy part. Steve Knight The Plane Maker used to sell them on his site.
http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/Boxes/BoxesMTchisels.html
Here's Jim's url. Have a feeling if enough people wanted him to make some more of his mortising chisels he just might get back to making them for sale again.
http://www.paragoncode.com/toolmaking/mortise_chisels /
These puppies are tough - the sides are squared so they register well and the sides of the bevel also cut clean sides for your mortise. Unless you hit a nail you've be hard pressed to hurt this chisels, especially the 3/4".
Note tht the square sides can cause the chisel to wedge in the mortise when you get deeper. When you're working on extracting it - DO NOT HAVE YOUR CHIN IN ITS EXIT PATH - you WILL see stars when the end of that handle makes contact with your chin. DAMHIKT.
charlie b
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snip

Boy, it's too bad he's not still making them. They look great. One concern I have with the Ray Iles chisels is that the sides are made not square. Is this likely to result in mortise sides that aren't very clean - or significantly less clean than those made by square sided chisels?
I emailed Jim to let him know that there's a potential customer out here - maybe if we gang up on him he'll get back at it.
Thanks for all the help. JP
Thanks much.
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Jay Pique wrote:

The slight taper on the sides of most mortising chisels prevent them from sticking in the mortise - a problem as you go deeper. But since the chisel can be turned slightly in the mortise as you go, you can make a curved sides mortise. With the square sides there is a sticking problem in deep mortises - and if you don't start off straight it'll be hard to straighten things out.

Can't hurt to ask. Might check with Steve Knight http://www.knight-toolworks.com / He used to sell them for Jim. Might have one left over somehow.

No problem. Pass it on when you can.
charlie b
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Jay, I agree with Charlie.
The Lie-Nielsen mortise chisels will handle everything you want to do up to 1/2 inch wide. Be sure to sharpen the beveled cutting edge to a higher angle (this is essential for a long life for the edge), especially if you are cutting hard dense wood. If you don't want to pay for the whole set, just buy one in the size you are most likely to use, to test it. If you do, you will surely buy the others you need in the sizes that L- N makes.
Regardless of the mortise chisels you choose, remember you don't need to lever out all of the wood at one bite. Small bites, say, maybe 1/8 by 1/4-to-3/8 deep, are a whole lot easier to control and you won't need to worry about torquing the life out of the chisel. Ian Kirby (see below) is a little aggressive about that, but I think smaller bites are better, just pay a lot of attention to aligning the chisel to the mortise cheeks when cutting and avoid twisting or misaligning the chisel as you lever out the waste.
Remember that if you are cutting ebony, rosewood, wenge, or even hard maple, you will need to be a slow, very small, and careful -- and expect to resharpen often.
Also see Rob Cosman's excellent DVD Hand-Cut Mortise and Tenon, which is also available directly from Lie-Nielsen. He takes a more angled approach when starting the mortise, which is a little easier to do that the straight vertical chop method usually suggested. He uses mahogany for the mortise demos, I think, so the wood you choose for your projects might be a little denser.
For cutting mortises wider than 1/2 inch, you can go to www.paragoncode.com and email Jim Wilson to ask to have your name and order put on his waiting list. $$$. His website currently indicates that he is not yet resuming mortise chisel production. You will need to grind these chisels carefully to the angle appropriate for the big work you are doing and you will, of course, also need to sharpen the chisels after grinding the primary angle.
For mortises wider than 1/2 inch, if you cannot wait, try www.barrtools.com. Barr Quarton has several large sizes, but remember that Barr's bigger chisels are mainly for timberframing, so they do not have the thickness of a mortise chisel and will require a different technique to get the square, flat, and deep mortises you want.
I would pass on the Ray Iles mortising chisels. If you watch carefully when a mortise chisel is driven into the wood and is used to complete the mortise, you will find the mortise chisel has 7 cutting edges. Having four of those cutting edges angled away from square or parallel surely guarantees ragged mortises.
You might also search for Ian Kirby's instruction on mortise and tenon work. It can be found best in Fine Woodworking soft cover book titled On Joinery (copyright 1985) which may still be available directly from www.taunton.com, or you can sometimes find it in a bookstore. Price is a super bargain at $9.95, with old articles by Kirby, Frid, Odate, Klausz, Boardman, and others. The same articles are also available if you are a member of Fine Woodworking's online service, which is also a super bargain, given all the extensive knowledge that is available for download and storage on your own computer or to a computer-storage device (CDs for example).
Jay, we have not yet determined why you were seeking beefier. What are you planning to mortise?
Great cutting to you,
tommyers currently in CA
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Being in the middle of a timber framing project right now, I'm a bit confused.
Why would you be looking at < 1" chisels for timber framing?
http://www.traditionalwoodworker.com/default.php/cPath/36_105_109
I have been using the 1-1/2" henry taylor and it has been working very well for me. I attending a timber framing seminar At LV a while back and I asked the rpoesenter what size chisel I should invest in for making 2" mortises. His reply was 1-1/2". Having chopped about 40 *big* mortises recently, I concur. You do not wat to be chopping a mortise 4 inches deep that is super-snug. This renders the "it has to be imperial" requirement moot.
If you want your chisels the do double duty (cabinet and framing) that's a bit of a differnt story, but I just can't see you using anything smaller than a 1" chisel for timber framing.
You will want at least one "big guy", not just for the heft, but for the reach. I have been really pleased with the HT 1.5. I have used it in some cabinet making unanticipated cabinet applications (imagine trimming a duchman flush requiring 5 inches of reach with the flat of the chisel to register against the workpiece).
That said it's probably not quite up to LN standards. I ground off the edges of both the rim of the ferule and the top of the socket just to make it a tad more comfy to handle. It does, however perform well.
-Steve
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wrote:

I'm not looking for chisels for timber framing. I'm looking for heavy duty mortising chisels. Lie-Nielsen makes the statement that their mortising chisels are meant for cabinetmaking, not timberframing.
JP

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http://barrtools.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=BST&Category_Code BC
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brian_j snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Someone else suggested that. But I understood that he was looking for mortise chisels, not framing or bench chisels.
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Jay Pique wrote:

can I say that they have ever fallen short in any way. http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/Merchant/merchant.mvc?Session_ID=0-&Screen=PROD&Store_Code=toolshop&Product_Code -500-20.XX&Category_Code=TBMC
Glen
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If I worked in metric I'd definitely be interested in those. JP
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