Paring Chisels...

Hi All,
I keep hearing about using a "paring chisel" on a TV show, that seems to be sharper than a scapel, able to shave end grain by the foot, etc. Never used with a mallet, just hand pressure. Is this just a chisel with a 25 degree bevel???
I have two sets, one from Lee Valley that I have at 25 degrees. I have another set that I'm thinking of grinding at 30-35 degrees for removing mortices and other heavier work. Then keeping the Lee Valley ones for "paring work"? Is this the way to go??? Or do I need to go looking for a specific "paring chisel"???
Any help will be appreciated.....
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rich wrote,on my timestamp of 27/12/2009 9:10 PM:

Paring chisels usually have a low angle - 25 degrees qualifies - and beveled sides in an almost flat triangular section. They are traditionally used with hand force only.
Firmer chisels are similar in size and proportions but have square sides with a rectangular cross section. You can use them with a low bevel angle like paring chisels or with a 35 degree angle for general trim work, hand powered or with the aid of a rawhide or wooden hammer/mallet.
Mortise chisels are traditionally of square section and built very strong to handle not only the whacking needed to sink the mortise but also to lever out the chipped bits without losing the edge. As such, they usually have a higher sharpening angle - 40 degrees or higher - and a very strong build and reinforced handle to sustain heavy hits with mallets.
Having said all that, there are no absolutes: with very small mortises or dovetails, it is perfectly possible to use small firmer chisels with small mallets, or even in some cases paring chisels, sharpened at a higher angle. In fact with dovetails it is almost mandatory to use a paring chisel! By the same token you can use a firmer as a paring after sharpening the bevel at the required angle.
So, pick your choice and what you're comfortable with. Just keep in mind the bevel angle: 25 degrees for paring, 35 for firmer, >40 for mortising. Then again: if you miss by a few degrees, your heritage won't be spoiled! Remember - no absolutes!
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On Sun, 27 Dec 2009 02:10:07 -0800 (PST), the infamous rich

Marples Blue Chips are paring chisels. (Thin, lightweight) They can be used with a chisel or by hand force in a shearing action. NEVER pry with a chisel (other than a mortiser.) Paring chisel tips will break right off, and that's super bad karma.
"Learn to Scary Sharpen(tm) hand tools and you'll never go hungry."(tmLJ)

Mortising chisels are beefy bastids. Paring chises are much lighter in weight and shape. Firmer chisels are firmer. <snicker> Try your local library (or Amazon/eBay) for hand tool books by authors such as Aldren Watson, Toshio Odate, and Alex Bealer for hand tool selection. http://fwd4.me/9Y0 , http://fwd4.me/9Y2 , http://fwd4.me/9Y3
I bought Odate's book for myself for Christmas and haven't yet read it. I'll sit down with his Shoji book sometime soon, too. My "To Be Read" book stack is down to fewer than 100 right now! (I caught up and read a lot while resting with the broken finger this year.)
-- "I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy." --Tom Clancy
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Thanks for the clarification! I have only used a 25 degree bevel, and those get used for mortices, dovetails, and whatever else I feel like. Wooden mallet applied as needed.
I think I will sharpen the secondary set at 35 degrees plus today, or whatever the guide will allow. I suspect I have been "mis-using" my chisels since I started woodworking. Like using a diamond scribe for a center punch in metal working.
Also time to review the books on basic woodworking I thought I didn't need any longer.
Santa is bringing a lathe from Grizzley, so I'll have to learn about that next.
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On Sun, 27 Dec 2009 08:29:02 -0800 (PST), the infamous rich

BTW, Noons put up a nice post about chisels. Save that!

I picked up one of the Shop Fox urethane mallets and absolutely adore it. (Hey, guys, I finally found a urinestain product I liked!)

We all need remedial reading trips on occasion. Keep those books!

That's a whole 'nother set of books and tool descriptions there, rich.
-- "I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy." --Tom Clancy
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Larry Jaques wrote,on my timestamp of 28/12/2009 12:07 PM:

Go easy on the mallet at 25 degrees, rich. Too low for any serious whacking.

They're good but the leather ones are still my "first-reach".

Ouch! That hurt! Almost like screeching chalk on the black board... Dang, both of you just reminded me to go back in the workshop and finish separating the metal working section completely from the woodworking one. Almost there but still a few things to sort out.
On the mis-use: there is no such thing, rich. If it worked for you, then probably you were OK. But it's an excellent idea to have some at 25, some at 35. I've ruined too many superb japanese 25s to risk it anymore. Now they're strictly for hand paring. A cheaper set at 35 does most of the grunt work.

Oh man! I still haven't opened my lathe from the box I got it from... Went to a wood turning intro class a while ago and it completely threw me inside out. There is some awful nice stuff to do with a lathe. Although mine was initially destined to make wooden lens opening tools! (Yeah, I know: sad...)
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About the diamond center punch... In school I worked at a research lab, and one of the scientists ( really smart dude! ) actually used the diamond scribe as a center punch. The guy in charge of the machine shop REALLY had a cow. The scientist went back to designing death rays that we had to try and build.
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On Mon, 28 Dec 2009 14:40:03 +1100, the infamous Noons

Yeah, tap, don't whack those.

Kinky! Leather mallet? Oh, you meant "rawhide", dincha?

Ayup. One doesn't want grinder sparks in the sawdust, EVER!

Shame on you, Noons! I never got the Japanese bug, preferring that I can use a U.S. chisel down to the nub, while a Jap cutter is only 1/4" long or so before you're into soft iron. I inherited one (12mm #3 gouge) and keep it safe.

I never did get the turning bug. I guess I can thank my astigmatism for that. I spent $10 on a lathe and $10 on a pair of 1/3hp motors once at a San Diego Fine Woodworker's swapmeet. I oil the lathe bushings before use, but it still makes noise.
At least I can make bow-saur <snort> and file handles with it. <g>
-- "I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy." --Tom Clancy
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Also, paring chisels are often longer in overall length to make the "pairing" more efficient.
-Zz
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On Sun, 27 Dec 2009 12:59:58 -0800, the infamous Zz Yzx

Can you say "James Swan slick"? I knew you could. <drool> I wasn't able to wrestle one away from a retired old salt, but I did manage to get a Satanley #10 in decent shape from him. Thanks, Dave (Fleming, an old Wrecker from a decade back.)
-- "I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy." --Tom Clancy
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