I feel your pain and frustration, Charlie. My solution? The Veritas MKII
power sharpening system. With this system I am able to flatten & hone a
bench chisel (and I'm seeing very little difference between a Marples blue
chip or a two cherries or even a Sears craftsman) in about 5-10 minutes.
Although there have been warnings about using this system with plane irons
(for flattening the backs), I've done it easily and successfully on about 7
irons thus far. So, to me, this is the ticket and well worth the price of
admission (and works a LOT better than the Tormek - for flat-edged tools,
not turning tools).
If you really think about it how many times in a lifetime will you be doing
such an operation. Obviously it saves the manufacturer money but at the same
time it forces the purchaser to get used to the idea that you will need to
maintain 'em from the get-go. Besides who is to guess what happens to those
tools before they get to there new home. I personally love my time
sharpening tools and know that a machined 600 grit and power polish would
pale in comparison to my scary sharp flattened backs . But I'm just a
hobbyist and don't mind spending the extra time as long as I'm in the
shop... But your point is taken where did we loose that quality along the
Nothing except maybe the Veritas power system can compare to the beginning
lapping method of 220 grit paper on glass or granite lubed with lamp oil.
Unless you have some cryogenically treated irons. Then nothing speeds the
process. Everyone seems ot forget that the property that keeps the edge means
it takes much longer to gett the edge.
My japanese bench chisels and plane irons arrived fully flattened and honed.
A shokunin blacksmith would never let go his product without sharpening and
honing it perfectly.
I think it's one factor why some people try wood working and then give
up. Everything I have purchased claimed in the advertisement to be
honed and ready for use "right out of the package". Probably okay
if your working with pine. But as soon as you hit a hardwood, your
in for a case of frustration.
Unless of course, you reach for the claw hammer and start bashing the
heck out of your new chisels. "I'm thinking of my brother here"...
End result, some will end up disappointed and give up. That seems
counter productive if your trying to encourage more people to but your
On Fri, 6 Aug 2004 00:06:40 -0400, "Claude Livernoche"
Well, Lie Nielsen seems to understand that making a quality tool,
preparing it so it can be used out of the box, is good business.
understands the idea as well, as does Steve Knight. I'd gladly pay
additional $5 to get a flat backed chisel or iron.
A flat back and proper honing of my Marples Blue Chip "Made a big
difference" even though I wasted a day giving them a tune up.
I bought the Marple's because I liked the feel in my hand, and the
handle fit well when using both of my hands. After the tune up, they
make a reasonably good paring chisel and for cleaning up joints, they
work just fine "for me". So I'll get my monies worth out of them,
and eventually buy a better set.
However, I would have gladly paid an extra $20 for a flat backed
chisel or Iron.
The handles on the Stanley sets I've seen, look more like screw
drivers, and that's why I had no interest in their product. The
higher end sets that looked like they had a nice comfortable handle,
were out of my price range.
Like my plane - someday I'll buy a better set. But I still would have
paid extra if the manufacturer had flattened the backs
lol... those two brands are already flat, but with grinding marks because neither
company will spend the $$$ it takes to polish them. If you buy Hirsch and Two
Cherries, those Germans go too far, polishing the backs to the point where they
are so rounded it takes a lot of work to flatten them (yes I read about it).
yep. polishing and grinding are two different things. if they'd grind
to 600 grit instead of 80 grit or so it would sure make my life
nowdays a lot of tool makers linish as the final step. it gets nice
and shiny, but rounds the corners...
The way to grind a flat smooth chisel back on a production basis would be
surface grinding. 80 grit would be as fine as you would want to go. 600
would clog, burn and produce a lousy finish. 80 will produce an extremely
fine finish. The dynamics of machine grinding are much different that the
off hand grinding most are familiar with.
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