Sorbey Mortise Chisel Review


I bought a one inch Sorbey Mortise Chisel. It came with two chipped corners because they do not protect the cutting edge. The back was not even close to flat and had a convex belly that took a long time to flatten. The width is 1-1/64" which seems like it is off a lot since this is a tool of relatively small size, made of metal and ground when manufactured. I will try another brand next time.
-Peter
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I have had similar problems with the Sorby chisels. My solution is a simple one but has allowed me to find some great chisels, with Sorby on the handle.
While I'm at the store looking at the chisels I grab a high quality square, and check the flatness, the grind and the edges. Usually in any given size they have one that I can't find a problem with, otherwise I find a different size. I have never thought to check the actual dimensions of the chisels, as it doesn't matter to me very often, I make the chisel choice based on what "looks right" not what the ruler says.
Sure maybe next time I will spend more money on a chisel, but for now I think this system is working alright for me.
Andrew
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Get a refund. I think R. Sorby is a major marketing company. Not supremely out to make a quality product so much as to make as much money as possible. I did recently read a user's webpage that he was impressed with how long the Sorby mortiser held an edge, never thought I'd read that.
When I get my 1st mortise set they will be Henry Taylor or Japanese ones. Maybe the older "pig stickers". I would like to hear someone's sinopsys of the Henry Taylor steel from experience, if anyone has it to say... ?
I bought a new Marples chisel with the boxwood handle on eBay, they have thicker blades so I thought to try it out on the drilled mortises of my bench legs. They are Douglas Fir which is not an impressive wood, not impressed with the steel, as it easily picks up curling to chipping pretty quickly. This did not happen using Stubai bench chisels, unless it was extremely minor, even with hitting them harder. And the blades are thinner than the Marples. But I do not know how these aspects apply with mortise chisels, the structure dynamics could be quite different.
Anyone experienced with Henry Taylor mortise chisels? Does the edge last long without curl_to_chip?
--
Alex - newbie_neander in woodworking
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
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On Fri, 22 Apr 2005 11:32:50 +0100, "Oldun"

The bicycle industry has truly embraced it for years.
The automotive industry seems to go back and forth.
My '99 Wrangler and '01 Subaru are 99% metric, and are both made in the USA. My '05 Toyota Tacoma has SAE sized tool callouts on all of the genuine Toyota accessories I installed. I was shocked to see that I'd need a 7/16" drill bit, 1/4", 3/16", and a T25 Torx socket, etc... I had brought all metric tools from the shop to the driveway, as my '85 Toy p/u was all metric. <G>
Most of the Toyota parts with SAE measurements were stamped "Made in Canada".
Barry
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Dave Hinz wrote: ...

Actually, it is one very good reason to switch...mixed is far worse than not, whichever system it is.
If a manufacturer wishes to export to almost anywhere outside the US, metric will almost certainly be required (or, in most cases, already is).
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I agree "not mixed" is a good reason to switch. "because products are being made in low cost countries" as a driver for that, is the part I consider not to be the good reason.

That wasn't true 5 years ago for medical diagnostic machinery, based on personal experience working for a very large company whose name rhymes with, er, let's say "G.E.".
Dave "A good place to be from..." Hinz
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I don't have other chisels to compare to but I've been using my Sorbey mortise chisel on hard maple. I've been squaring up drilled mortise holes for my work bench base. When chopping vertically down the end grain at the end of the mortise I can only go about 1" before there is quite a bit of edge failure. This is at the bevel angle that the chisel came to me. I've just been honing the whole bevel. Probably 30 degrees? Maple is hard but I'm thinking a mortise chisel should do a little better than that before edge failure. True?
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On 24 Apr 2005 21:45:11 -0700, the inscrutable snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com spake:

Hey, Petey, when will you stop misspelling "Sorby"? Or is it a palate cleansing chisel? (Oops, sorry. That's "sorbet", isn't it?)

I gring the whole bevel, too, and am not a fan of using a hollow-grind on chisels, either. To test the chisel hardness, give it a mild whack on a known hard surface. If it bends over or chips badly, you know it isn't proper. You'll have to regrind after that (hopefully on a wet grinder or belt sander to avoid overheating the tip), but it will tell you temper so you can adjust it if necessary. I have a lone Henry Taylor gouge which is waaaay too hard. It chips when you look at it funny. Some day I'll pull the handle and take care of it, but I don't use the little 1/8" veiner that much.

Yes, but grind it to a greater angle. Mortise chisels usually need a bit more meat at the end from what I've seen and owned. While my Stanley is about 30, my Knight is more like 37. The edge on my 3/8" Knight lasts a lot longer than the old 3/8" Stanley. And while they were fun to use, I now adore my Shop Fox mortiser. ;)
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Thanks Larry. My Sorby mortise chisel (I'm stopping now!) will have a new grind angle in about an hour.
Peter
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On 25 Apr 2005 10:04:23 -0700, the inscrutable snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com spake:

Great! ;)
P.S: What did you find when you tested the temper?
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Tested the temper?
I reground the chisel on my 6" grinder with very light passes and some soaking in water along the way. It was slow but the blade only got a little bit warm to touch. I changed the angle to between 35 and 40 degrees and now it works much better. I can chop straight down 4 inches of maple end grain many times and the blade edge does not crumple like it did before.
Now I realize that when I flattened the back I probably was resposible for making the back and front of the chisel out of parallel. When the bevel is at right angles it is wider at one side. I measured the thickness of the blade and it is about 0.01" thicker on one side. Maybe the chisel came out of parallel but I think that is unlikely.
Is there a company out there that is set up to efficiently grind chisels, plane blades? I'm sure any machine shop with a grinder could do it but probably they would require quite a bit of set up time.
Peter
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On 25 Apr 2005 17:07:42 -0700, the inscrutable snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com spake:

Great!
Oops! But front-to-back doesn't matter. It's that the cutting side is perpendicular to the 2 sides and the sides are parallel to each other.

Check with your local sawblade sharpener. The sharpening guys usually have a shop full of various tools do to most anything. One who does plane blades might be the one to talk to.
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Thanks Larry,
BTW, Funny T-shirts.
Peter
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On 25 Apr 2005 19:37:29 -0700, the inscrutable snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com spake:

Thanks. Now buy some, or buy a NoteSHADE(tm) glare guard, eh?
I'll have the Possum(tm) and ToolRoo(tm) Handy Pouches up for sale by the end of the week if all goes well. (My last sewing company strung me out for 2 weeks, then gave all my materials back to me saying she was too busy to make them. <sigh>)
The story on these tool pouches is that a metalworker posted his wish list of things he wanted manufacturers to build. I found it doable and interesting, then manufactured 3 for him. He loves 'em, so I'm going into production on the things. They're padded tool pouches which fit onto any corded tool's cord (or can ring onto a cordless), and they're large enough to hold all of the little wrenches/bits/adapters which go with each tool to keep you from searching all over the shop for them each time you use the tool. I'm padding them for long life, and making them out of the same heavy-duty materials the glare guards are made from. Polyester twill or waterproofed 420 Denier ripstop nylon sheeting, closed cell foam, and naugahyde or cotton binding. </sales pitch> <vbg>
Oh, I forgot the last tip for you: Learn how to do all that sharpening on your own. It is a skill you'll need and use for the rest of your life. A good book to get you started or bring your skill up a notch is Leonard Lee's "Complete Guide to Sharpening". http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p2991&cat=1,43072,43091 There's one copy on Ebay for $3.99 with 5 days to go. www.half.com has one for $10.59
Here are a dozen more: http://isbn.nu/1561581259
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in message
2005 08:07 pm:

Nope, a good surface grinder hand is likely to have the finished product back (front & back flat & parrallel in two directions, both bevels ground to just short of a polish) in your hand in 5-10 minutes per chisel / blade. A hand plane is just a chisel minus the tang for the handle. Due to their size, a planer or shaper blade might take a bit more setup, but not much.
That's what sine plates are for. And that's a lot simpler work than they are set up to do. Lay the chisel flat on the magnet to dress the front and back. Then, two seconds with a calculator to calculate the jo-block stack, a moment or two to wring the jo-blocks together, clean the table and sine plate, clamp the chisel, place the sine plate, flip the magnet switch, turn the grinder on & dress the wheel and go. Change the jo blocks for the second angle but leave the blade clamped up and touch it again. Unclamp and lay it flat on its back to knock the burr off against a bench stone.
Done.
Find a grinder hand. Slip him a green piece of paper and a bag of chisels, wait a day or two and take him a beer. Or slip him a more generous token of your esteem and ask him to cross-grind it for you. It'll be near-mirror and so flat they stick together when you squeeze the air out between them. Definitely overkill with no excuse for being done at all ... but bragging rights, my friend. Definite bragging rights.
If you want one face or two concave, tell him before he begins. He'll be able to provide a nice cupping directly proportional to the width of the blade with only slightly more thought. I know I could ... and I wasn't even officially a grinder hand.
Chisels don't come from the factory looking this good. They don't even look this good in the marketing photos.
It isn't likely that you can walk into the front door of a machine shop and get those chisels re-worked for anything less than a kings ransom. But walking up to the guys sitting around the picnic table in back might prove productive.
Bill
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Bill and Larry,
Thanks for the info. I called a machine shop who said they could grind a 7 x 16 inch magnetic grinder table full of plane blades for about $35 (1/2 hour shop time). The table will hold eight 2" wide stanley type blades. That's only $5 per blade and seems like a pretty good deal. If it is so affordable then why don't plane blade makers offer this as an upgrade. And the machine shop said I should talk to the sharpening shop across the street because they are always cheeper. I think I'll pay them a visit soon.
I do not want to avoid sharpening. Even though I have a poor selection of sharpening tools I do enjoy putting an edge on a blade. But flattening backs of blades seems like a real pain in the elbows, literally. Also I think a surface grinder will produce a flatter back. The geometry of the process is just better. Maybe I just need better sharpening equipment...like my own surface grinder. haha.
Thank again. I've learned a lot.
Peter
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On 26 Apr 2005 19:15:53 -0700, the inscrutable snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com spake:

Good idea. Be sure to note precisely what *really*sharp* feels like, then you'll know how to reproduce it when sharpening things yourself. I -thought- I knew for years, then I received a Pfeil gouge which was one-atom-sharp. My Scary Sharpening(tm) techniques improved that day.

Nah, all you need are a few sheets of Scarypaper(tm) and a diamond plate. I use a 1" belt sander with a 120 grit belt to take off lots of metal (flat grind, not hollow) or change angles, then go to the 2x6" DMT red diamond plate (600 grit), then to 1200 grit sandpaper, then to a chromium dioxide-charged leather strop for final polish. Total time for a blade (say an old Stanley #5) is about 10 minutes. I hone on the 1200 + strop in between sharpenings (about 3 minutes). If I spent more time working in the shop, I'm sure I'd do it quicker.

You're very welcome.
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