Re: Chisel dissapointment

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It surely sounds as though you encountered a knot or something equally as hard. Maybe you tried to cut off too much; try cutting from both sides instead of one.
wrote:

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No experience with Sorby except their lathe tools, which have always worked fine for me. I can imagine Douglas fir giving you a problem with a good chisel. I have one set of Stanley butt chisels [circa 1970], but I seldom use them. I prefer a set of Greenlee socket chisels from the 1930's that I bought at an auction. A couple of them are getting rather short, so I don't know which of us will wear out first. I also have sets of socket chisels by Witherby, Belmont, and Winchester -- all very old from auctions -- that seem to hold their edges better than new ones I have tried. harrym

notched
with
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to
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did.
about
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that
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Chris
I have two sets of good chisels. I use a set of Iyori japanese chisels for cutting dovetails and some mortices. I have them sharpened around 35 degrees for the smaller ones and around 30 degrees for wider chisels. If you get a chance, get ahold of Leonard Lee's book on sharpening. He explains how to go about choosing and appropriate sharpening angle depending on what you are doing with a chisel.
Oh, my other set of chisels is used ONLY for paring. They are sharpened between 20 and 25 degrees, depending on size.
David
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"Christopher" wrote:

sharpened at different

and
Thanks David. My sharpening angle certainly seems to be too shallow. I've got the book you suggest and just didn't follow the advice like I should have.
-Chris
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Chris,
the Sorby is not a mortising chisel and its lack of performance in this area is not entirely surprising. The right tool for the job applies here as chisels ain't just chisels.
Note that nowadays mortice and mortise are used interchangeably. The term originally came from the middle English "mortaise" which may have come from the Arabic "murtazz" (fastened) which was derived from "irtazza" (to be fixed [in place]) Go back in time to 1993, some of the original discussions on this topic were the best.
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=lang_en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&threadm 93Oct2.010834.15603%40davbon.uucp&rnum=1&prev=/groups%3Fnum%3D100%26hl%3Den%26lr%3Dlang_en%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26q%3Dbeveled%2Bvs%2Bmortise%2Bchisels%26sa%3DN%26tab%3Dwg
Or, for the cut & paste impaired: http://tinyurl.com/m1hh
To reduce the chopping required with bevel edge chisels, drill out as much wood as possible first, then clean up with the bevel edge. Steve Knight used to make the mother of all mortise chisels, he may still do so. Note that a younger Steve is involved in the thread referenced above, and Patrick Leach, and . . .
Bevelled, firmer, paring and mortising chisels discussed here:
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=lang_en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&threadm 951108.202917.57%40millard.demon.co.uk&rnum=1&prev=/groups%3Fnum%3D100%26hl%3Den%26lr%3Dlang_en%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26q%3Dfirmer%2Bchisel%26sa%3DN%26tab%3Dwg
Again, for the cut & paste impaired: http://tinyurl.com/m1iv
Middle English, from Old French cisiel, from Vulgar Latin *cisellus, cutting tool, from diminutive of Latin caesus past participle of caedere, to cut.
That's it, I'm done. Pardon the ramble, I do that sometimes.
And now a word from our sponsor:
"-------------------------------------------------------------------------- Patrick Leach Just say It's all in the way you beat your chisel. etc. --------------------------------------------------------------------------"
HTH
Greg
"Christopher" chipped in with:...

notched
with
board
to
where
very
the
from
did.
about
1"
that
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area
First, thanks for the links and the lessons. I learned from both. I thought when I bought these that the mortise chisels and firmer chisels were simply thicker to handle prying forces and heavier blows from a mallet than my bevel chisels. The links you posted seemed to support this in general unless I read something wrong. Is there something else about them that would help the edge stay sharp? I tried not to use the chisel as a lever too much while doing the mortises.
I've got a new Marples 1/2" bevel chisel also that I just finished lapping the back of but haven't done any work on the bevel yet. By the way, lapping the Marples back flat and mirrored was FAR more work than it was on the Sorby so there certainly is a quality difference in that respect. I think I'm going to try the Marples beveled at 25 degrees like I have the Sorby and see how it does and then redo the bevel at 30 to see how it cuts and how long the edge lasts there in the same type of wood I've been chopping with the Sorby. If the Marples chisel stays sharp as long as the Sorby did while doing the same type of work and being sharpened the same I am going to be pretty unhappy.
I'm already planning to return the 1" Sorby I bought over the weekend at Rockler and buy a Japanese Chisel from Woodcraft instead. I also ordered a couple of the Veritas Detail chisels from Lee Valley last night. I got a 1/2" paring chisel and a 1/8" dovetail chisel. They are supposed to come fully honed so it will be interesting to see how their sharpening job compares to the one I did. Anyway, I didn't mean to write so much in this one post. Just started typing what I was thinking.
-Chris
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If the Marples chisel stays sharp as long as the Sorby did while

Chances are that it will.
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Sounds like you used a bench, or paring, chisel instead of a mortice chisel to cut your mortices. A mortice chisel edge is designed for the kind of abuse inherent in morticing, the paring chisel edge isn't.
scott
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o> scott
Yes, I was using a standard beveled chisel. The edge started going away before I did any mortising though and I'm still not understanding how the thickness of the blade on a mortise chisel makes a difference in keeping the edge keen. I'll get out my Complete Guide to Sharpening book I bought a couple weeks ago and read some more though.
Thanks, Chris
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writes:

shape
where
very
the
from
As I have found recently (after acquiring a proper mortise chisel for the job), another advantage is that the immense thickness of the blade guides the cut and ensures that your mortise is cut nice and straight, with a lot less effort and deliberation than would be necessary with a bench chisel. Start your cut square and you're almost guaranteed a clean, straight mortise without the need to pare the sides.
For the OP - Geff Gorman's site (http://www.amgron.clara.net /) contains good instructions for chopping mortises without the need to drill out first, and once you get the technique it's a fairly quick and satisfying job.
Am now just awaiting delivery of a swan necked chisel which should speed up the job of cleaning the bottom of the mortise....
cheers Richard
-- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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On Wed, 03 Sep 2003 02:13:54 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) wrote:

Although that may be true where such chisels have been deliberately given different heat treatments, I'd expect the failures to be by chipping (too hard) rather than this sort of bending and burring.
Sorby are rubbish. They used to be good, but the quality has evaporated in recent years and they're just trading on the name. Sad 8-(
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On Wed, 03 Sep 2003 10:47:37 +0100, Andy Dingley

Andy,
Tell me why you feel they're rubbish!?
I like mine very much and use them all the time. Rubbish? Convince me, man!
James snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com http:// snipped-for-privacy@breck.org
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wrote:

Poor heat treatment (assuming they haven't changed the alloy). The edges seem inconsistent - lots of burring, occasional chipping. They're also (some of them) bad for forming wire edges when sharpening. The problem seems to be one of inconsistency and unreliability, rather than them all being made from something obviously duff.
Maybe this is over-aggressive grinding drawing the temper ? It's hard to tell without visiting the factory.
Very poor QA. Look through the boxes of new ones and look for lousy grinding on the odd one. They pop up with non-square edges, tapered faces, odd deep scratches.
If you want a good English chisel, look at Henry Taylors, not Sorby or Crown.
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<snip good points about Sorby non-quality)

I was so impressed with the power of the Sorby Heavy-Duty, that I felt they were the best thing in the world. You have some good points which come from experience I haven't had yet. I have begun to suspect that Marples (hey they're decent paring chisels) and Sorbys arrive with a slight off-angle bevel. Used to think it was my fault somehow. It's easy to correct though-. I see the wire edge, thought that might be normal?
OTOH I once bought a pair of Crown chisels, the ones coming in left and right-handed pairs, bent l. and r. to clean out mortises etc. They royally stank. I took 'em back to the store where the salesman gave me a line about "you always need to sharpen new tools" and when I pointed out the "square" cross-section was distorted and variable rounded at the corners, he said "new tools often need to be reground a bit before use". I threw them away.
I know the Lie-Nielson chisels will be heaven . I also know they will cost 60% of my soul, apiece :-(
James snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com http>// snipped-for-privacy@breck.org
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I sure hope this doesn't prove to be the case. I just can't imagine that Lee Valley, Woodcraft, Rockler and so on would stock so many of them if they don't give some value for the money.
-Chris
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I bought nearly a complete set of Sorby London pattern bevel edge chisels five or six years ago (some from WC and one or two from other sources) - all were disappointments, incapable of holding an edge in anything but basswood. They are now 'display' tools - good for looking pretty on the wall, but useless otherwise. Pretty much the same experience with the recent Blue Chips from Marples.
I ended up getting a set of Stanley 750s to supplement the old (circa 1979) Double Cherries metric width chisels - the 750s sharpen well, hold an edge, and can be had for about $10-$15 per chisel at old tools shows. L-N is supposed to be coming out with his version of the 750 - time will tell.
I have not tried the Sorby mortising chisels - might be a bit better.
Christopher wrote:

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five
were
They
from
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edge, and

supposed to

Thanks Todd. I'm going to take this 1/2 Sorby and sharpen it a few times as Rob Lee suggested and see if it holds up better after a bit of material has been removed. If that doesn't satisfy me I'll change my bevel angle to 30 or 35 and try it again. There is plenty of blade there so I don't see where having it end up 1/4" shorter when I'm done is going to matter. I'll just be careful not to get it too hot in the process. I certainly won't be buying any more Sorby chisels until I see if this one improves though.
-Chris
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I think you may have overlooked that although Douglas Fir is classified as a 'softwood', it's actually damn hard!! The problem may lie in the 25 degree angle being too fine. Try 30 to 35 degrees on the chisel with a very small microbevel. This should maintain more backbone at the edge and stop this happening. Also, straight grinding rather than hollow grinding may be better for harder materials.

where
very
the
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Thanks Rob. Gotta respect the opinion of the guy who wrote the book on sharpening!
-Chris
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That would be Leonard Lee but Rob doesn't seem to have fallen too far from the proverbial tree.
Cheers, Mike
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