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Now just in the interest of FYI, this is the ash mallet I made about 10 years ago and what I use to chop dovetails. It’s not easy in the photo to tell how much the head has been dented, but you can see how the light reflects differently on the head compared to the smooth handle. This mallet (and the Thorex hammer used by Paul) are about perfect for chopping because they are hard enough to transmit energy, but not harder than the chisels they are used with, which means the head of the mallet gets the brunt of the impact damage.
It’s not my intent to be argumentative, as only you know if you chopped hard or not. But I can say that chisel was abused, and it didn’t have to split to see that. The way the head of that handle is mushroomed is a tell-tale sign. I‘ve owned 4 of those Veritas bench chisels and one of the Veritas mortise chisels for years now, all in PM-V11 and none of them have a mushroomed head like yours. This one is the most beat-up one of the bench chisels. BTW, the Veritas mortise chisels do have a steel hoop to help protect the handles.
As others have mentioned, wrong mallet for the task and ideally I’d pick a mortise chisel to chop mortises, but I know that Paul does use a bench chisel to chop mortises.
That blade has a tang with a socket ferrule, so making a replacement handle is not going to be as simple as would be the case with a pure socket chisel such as the Lie-Nielsen. Probably would be best to contact Lee Valley, and also let them know which of their salespeople recommended that mallet for mortising.
The bevel angle has nothing to do with the machining process, this is addressed in the manual for the chisels, available on their bench chisel product page.
Our bench chisels less than 1/2″ wide have a primary bevel of 30°, with a micro-bevel of 32°; they generally require a steeper bevel angle because the narrower blade edge is subject to more concentration of force when driven by a mallet. Chisels 1/2″ and wider have a primary bevel of 25°, with a micro-bevel of 27°, delivering a good balance between edge retention and cutting action.
The bevel angle can (and should) be changed to suit the type of work being done and the wood being worked. Work that is predominantly mallet driven may require a higher bevel angle, while careful paring work may benefit from lower bevel angles. In most cases, opting for the lowest possible primary bevel and adjusting the cutting characteristics by changing the micro-bevel give the best results for the least amount of effort.
The shelf looks nice Tom-thanks for sharing. I’m also curious how you like your vice? I have a Jorgensen 41012, new in the box that I bought 3 years ago. I’m starting a new bench build in the next two weeks and I’m debating on using the 41012 or an older, Made in England Record 52-1/2D that has been nicely restored.