Do any of you dress the sides of your chisels when new? I just finished the Seller’s coffee table and noticed how much cleaner Paul’s mortices look before pairing the walls.
When I twist the chisel to clean out the waste it chews up the side wall a bit. Not sure if it’s bad technique or the sharp edges of the chisel. I bought a set of Stanley 750’s before I found this site. While they hold a nice edge I really hate the sockets and the handles are too small. I did use a stone on the edges to remove the burrs but wondering if I need to do more refinement.
Hello, I dress the side of new chisels. Primarily just enough to take the sharp edge off to prevent the cuts on my hand when paring. At the same time I don’t see any impairment when mortising. Not sure if there is any other reason to or not to dress the edges.
Morning Joe. Sorry it’s a late reply. Don’t touch the sides of your chisel it will change the width. It’s good if the width is a standard size. Twisting in the mortise is a problem because when the chisel twists the chisel is wider between the edges than when its straight. It’s not much but does chew up the sides if you don’t control it. Try taking small cuts when things get tough. Don’t let the chisel twist in the cut or in clean out. That’s why Paul uses a smaller chisel to clean out.
The best video showing how the mortising works:
The cleanliness of the mortise depends of the wood and the grain direction versus the mortise length.
While the cutting edge severs the fibers, the wall of the mortise is the result of shearing the wood following more or less the grain direction.
Thanks for the reply folks. I’ve cut quite a few mortises with these chisels since the original post. The edges were very roughly machined when new. Some were also quite a bit oversized – somewhere in between imperial and metric. I smoothed off the sides mainly because they were very sharp and uncomfortable when pairing but also to get the sizes close to accurate. The handles were totally useless and required turning new ones that actually fit the sockets. A file could could remove the grind marks on a couple of the chisels. The cutting edge rolls over after a couple of chops with these ones. So much for quality control. My technique has improved and wood and grain direction are important as stated. But these chisels are an embarrassment to what’s left of Stanley Tool Works reputation. I guess I fell for the “Made I Sheffield” nonsense.
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