Pine endgrain and chisel bevel angle

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  • #679657
    Jukka Huuskonen
    Participant

    I saw Rob Cosman suggest using very low bevels with chisels when working on endgrain of soft woods like northern pine to prevent crushing endgrain. He said he is using primary bevel angles as low as 17 degrees.

    I’ve had quite bad experience with pine endgrain so far working with regular 25-30 degree bevels.

    Any thoughts on this, before I start creating a test chisel like that?

    -jukka

    #679662
    Darren
    Participant

    Do you have a block plane?

    I do most of my woodworking in pine, and I find a really sharp block plane to work well on end grain.

    How sharp are you getting your chisels, and how often are you re-sharpening / polishing? Pine needs a REALLY sharp edge.

    I go back to the strop regularly, and as soon as I see the chisel struggling.

    Also, how good are your chisels? If you are losing sharpness quickly it could be softer metal? Does the edge crumble?

    17 degrees would exacerbate problems I think.

    Lastly, what action are you using? With soft pine you might want to try a slicing motion rather than just trying to push the chisel through.

    #679665
    Colin Scowen
    Participant

    I also have a few chisels sharpened at a lower angle, I use rarely use hard woods. They do need regular sharpening though, more so than the 25/30’s.
    That being said, if you use a 25/30 that is sharp, you should not have too many issues, just keep them sharp.

    Colin, Czech Rep.

    #679667
    Jukka Huuskonen
    Participant

    I don’t have a block plane. I don’t think I need one. The angle difference with block plane and regular one is so small, that it shouldn’t matter.

    I’ve had problems with sharpening, but I just finished my new sharpening station:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/kJ5W5KZ4L1kkvvZa7
    That should help things. I am trying to learn the free hand sharpening which already gave me better edge than what I was able to do before getting that sharpening station ready, even when using my cheap honing guide.

    I’m using Narex chisels, so I don’t think the quality of steel is in question. They should be quite good. I just have to practise sharpening.

    -jukka

    #679673
    Darren
    Participant

    Hi,

    That sharpening station look awesome, better than mine!

    I know some people don’t do this, but can you shave your arm hair in (mostly) one pass after you have sharpened your chisels?

    If almost all the hairs don’t come off in one go you need to sharpen more.

    A good go on the strop at the end will get you there most likely.

    #679677
    Darren
    Participant

    Oh, and looking back at my first reply, I should have said Low Angle block plane.

    #679678
    Jukka Huuskonen
    Participant

    Hi,

    That sharpening station look awesome, better than mine!

    I know some people don’t do this, but can you shave your arm hair in (mostly) one pass after you have sharpened your chisels?

    If almost all the hairs don’t come off in one go you need to sharpen more.

    A good go on the strop at the end will get you there most likely.

    Thanks for the compliments!

    I am able to cut arm hairs with them, but the edge is definetly not razor sharp. It takes a certain effort to shave them. Have to work on sharpening, sharpened only 2 plane blades, 2 chisels, 2 scissors and my Stanley (Paul type) pocket marking knife so far with that new sharpening station. Each one has gotten an edge, probably not best possible one, but already as good as I’ve had before.

    #679692
    sanford
    Participant

    Well, this is one of those irritating questions! Some people say the angle you grind your chisel makes a significant and obvious difference on pine endgrain (Cosman) and some say that as long as your chisel is very sharp (extra sharp for pine) it makes little or no difference. The most helpful suggestion I can offer is that if you have an electric grinder so changing angles goes fast, and an extra chisel, try it! After all, if you do not like the 17-20 degree angle, it takes all of a few moments on a diamond stone to get back to a 25-30 degree angle at the tip. Just keep in mind that the grinder does create a curved bevel so that if you set it for some angle, say 20 degrees, the angle at the tip will be a lot different from and far more fragile than the over all angle of the bevel. I have messed around a bit changing angles on all sorts of things (including chisels, saw teeth and so on) and find that it is kind of fun and very instructive. And why not? Its not as if you can ruin these tools very easily.

    For what it is worth, here is my experience. (1) I do keep a few chisels with about 20 degree angles or less (though I do not actually measure the angle much). I use them for light paring and find they work well. I would never chop anything with them, not even pine, except maybe to take a last tiny bit off from a dovetail or whatever. (2) I originally got really bad tear out in pine when chopping dovetails. I tried chisels with very low bevels but the edges dulled and even crumbled, even in pine, and I still got tear out. So I went back to the usual bevels and just put up with the tear out. Then one day I no longer got much tear out. I guess my sharpening got better. (3) Though I do not find that pine is much of a problem any more, doug fir is a problem. It has ridiculously soft wood and very (sometimes very very very) hard grain. Your chisel or plane melts through the soft wood and then slams into the hard grain. The chisel is instantly dull and crushes the wood. If you can work at an angle to the grain things are better, but you do not always have a choice when chopping a mortise.

    #679717
    Jukka Huuskonen
    Participant

    Oh, and looking back at my first reply, I should have said Low Angle block plane.

    Oh man, forum ate my message again… I’ll re-type main parts:

    Low angle block plane has 12 degree bed angle, add 25-30 degrees for primary bevel and 2-5 degrees for secondary bevel and you end up at nearly same angle as normal bench plane or maybe even higher angle.

    Block plane advantages are as I see them:
    1. Small, fits in pocket and easier to use one handed
    2. Fits in smaller places
    3. Sharpening second iron with high angle could help with tougher grains

    When working on workbench, even a miniature like mine (https://photos.app.goo.gl/kJ5W5KZ4L1kkvvZa7), I don’t see much use for a block plane unless it has the blade that is as wide as the plane body. Note a low angle number 4 or 5 would be nice 🙂
    I do have one a small Japanese plane that could be considered a block plane or small smoother plane, but it’s quality isn’t too great and so far I haven’t managed to get good quality shavings with it, but it works fine for chamfering edges, but usually it’s easier to do that with my axminster number 4.

    And I do think I’ll need some practise on sharpening…

    -jukka

    Ps. Let’s see if this forum accepts my post this time….

    #679719
    Jukka Huuskonen
    Participant

    Oh and that workbench has my first ever dovetails in it. Ok, nearly first. I did make 2 for practice before those.

    I’m pretty happy how those turned out.
    -jukka

    #679729
    Darren
    Participant

    Those dovetails are sweet. I’m not posting photos of my first dovetails, let’s just leave it at that! 😀

    #679736
    Jukka Huuskonen
    Participant

    Those dovetails are sweet. I’m not posting photos of my first dovetails, let’s just leave it at that! 😀

    Oh, and found the pic of the first dovetail attempt. The length of the tail wasn’t a mistake, I just didn’t care about it at that time.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/hFZSGRoKVNt8Xc5e8

    But you should see how badly crushed that endgrain inside the joint is…

    Well, that’s why I started this thread 🙂

    #679743
    Sven-Olof Jansson
    Participant

    The pine (must be Scots Pine [Pinus sylvestris]) of your dovetail will have a hardness corresponding to very dense Southern Yellow Pine, and not being soft at all. The two attached photos show a similar piece, which has a a specific gravity (density in SI units) of 0.6, which is above black walnut and on par with maple.

    Paring chisels often have a bevel of 20°, and I think that when working on the mentioned type of pine edge retention will be difficult with smaller angles.

    Perhaps Mr. Cosman was referring to less dense conifers, which are after all quite common…

    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Boston, MA

    Attachments:
    #679753
    Jukka Huuskonen
    Participant

    The pine (must be Scots Pine [Pinus sylvestris]) of your dovetail will have a hardness corresponding to very dense Southern Yellow Pine, and not being soft at all. The two attached photos show a similar piece, which has a a specific gravity (density in SI units) of 0.6, which is above black walnut and on par with maple.

    Paring chisels often have a bevel of 20°, and I think that when working on the mentioned type of pine edge retention will be difficult with smaller angles.

    Perhaps Mr. Cosman was referring to less dense conifers, which are after all quite common…

    Yes, you are right about this pine. I’m very new to woodworking and I thought all pines are similarly soft wood. Especially as these are probably from modern fast growing farmed forests.
    I didn’t realize that other pines would be considerably softer, especially as in Finland this is pretty much the only type of pine available.
    -jukka

    #679945
    Jukka Huuskonen
    Participant

    The pine (must be Scots Pine [Pinus sylvestris]) of your dovetail will have a hardness corresponding to very dense Southern Yellow Pine, and not being soft at all. The two attached photos show a similar piece, which has a a specific gravity (density in SI units) of 0.6, which is above black walnut and on par with maple.

    Paring chisels often have a bevel of 20°, and I think that when working on the mentioned type of pine edge retention will be difficult with smaller angles.

    Perhaps Mr. Cosman was referring to less dense conifers, which are after all quite common…

    Asked from Rob about that scots pine, and he said he does consider it a soft wood.

    -jukka

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