Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
Why Warren (and others) need tough chisels

Bill Tindall
In spite of my many discussions and pictures of what happens microscopically to the edge of a chisel used for mortising and dovetail waste removal, or any other operation where the chisel is struck however reasonably, some continue to believe that toughness is required only of crow bars, or at least abused chisels. It should be apparent that chisels used in these operations get dull vastly faster than what might be predicted by the relatively small number of feet the edge passes through compared to what a hand plane experiences before dulling unacceptably. The reason is that these chisels dull by a different mechanism than planes. The two dulled edges bear no similarities.

A tough chisel metal will yield a chisel that can be hardened to a higher value as well as one that can be sharpened to a more acute angle, both substantial benefits in practical applications. This benefit is not something that only enables the chisel to be used for prying off paint can lids but rather the practical benefit is at the very tip of the cutting edge where the edge of the dovetailing chisel dulls by micro chipping if it is not tough enough, or by deformation if it is not hard enough, as I have amply revealed in photographs of edges used for dovetailing, my main practical interest in chisels.

I don't know how carving chisels dull as I have not studied this process. But my data supports the premise that for dovetailing and mortise chopping the edge of very tough chisels that can therefore be made very hard, are superior. I might add that carbon steel is a very good compromise of hardness and toughness while M2, or A2, is not. It is no surprise to me that people are very satisfied with the highest quality carbon steel chisels, although they are not justified to conclude nothing can be significantly better.

While on a recent very wet, but beautiful, CA vacation I had occasion to listen on CD to a remarkably insightful book entitled "The Tipping Point" which explores that phenomena of why and how some things "tip", that is go exponentially from an isolated practice to one widely practiced. It was revealed that persons of widely different constitution are involved in developing a tipped practice. At first it is the "Mavens" that discover the practice and advertise it. These risk taking personalities are driven to change stuff if for no other reason than change's sake. If the new practice has the potential to be widely beneficial the next category of people, trusted in the "community", promote the new practice. (we are about here with diamonds and modern metal) The practice "tips" when the cautious "Early Majority" is sold on the benefit and adapts it. Eventually the Late Majority, risk adverse, adapt the practice. We are at this state with carbide cutting tools and yellow glue. There remains a small population that continues to resist the practice. Overall the velocity of change follows a bell shaped curve.

It is not surprising that this Forum, perhaps better named the Traditional Tool and Techniques Forum, has a large population of persons disposed to be the right tail of this distribution of technology adaptation. Excited discoveries from the Mavens, whether substantive discoveries or not, fall on the unreceptive ears of this conservative group who remain content to continue doing what they have always successfully done. This is not to disparage this group but rather to recognize the reality of the situation.

Recall that to "tip" the Mavens need to reach an audience of promoters who in turn reach the Early Majority personalities. Hence, to promote change I have come to realize this Forum is not a fruitful place for discussions of new metals and sharpening.

Messages In This Thread

Why Warren (and others) need tough chisels
Found it! Über steel hand tools at 66 HRC?
OK... A bit confused here (more than usual...)
(Message Deleted by Poster)
Re: Confused you say? This may not help.
Hey Thom...
Re: Hey Thom...
(Message Deleted by Poster)
Re: Fair analysis
Re: Fair analysis
Re: Fair analysis
Re: Fair analysis
Re: Fair analysis
Re: Hey Thom...
Re: Hey Thom...
Re: Hey Thom... *LINK*
Re: Hey Thom...
Re: Hey Thom... *LINK*
Talk about piston fit!
Re: Talk about piston fit!
(Message Deleted by Poster)
Re: Yabut...
Re: Yabut...
I'm Happy
(Message Deleted by Poster)
Re: Foiled again!
They call him...
Re: They call him...
Easy answer...
:) *NM*
(Message Deleted by Poster)
Re: Ah... can't tell the players without a scoreca
(Message Deleted by Poster)
Re: Batata Salada Maximo
What is your demon name? Curious minds... *NM*
Good grief! I forgot the *LINK*
Why Warren doesn't need tougher chisels
Re: Why Warren doesn't need tougher chisels
Re: Why Warren doesn't need tougher chisels
Re: Why Warren doesn't need tougher chisels
"Why Bill Tindall needs tough chisels"
Still thinking about your post, Bill
Re: Still thinking about your post, Bill
Yet another clarification
Re: Yet another clarification
It's spelled Wiesenthal. *NM*
Need?
Re: Need?
Re: Need?
Re: Need?
Re: Need?
Re: Need?
Re: Need?
Probably iyoroi is not ioroi. *NM*
Re: Probably iyoroi is not ioroi.
OK, my bad. *NM*
Re: Need?
Un met need
Good recipe for crow, anyone?
David Barnett said...
David Barnett was wrong...
Re: Un met need
Re: Un met need
Specialty steel chisels only available to
Re: oilstones?
Re: oilstones?
The lesson for me came from books
Even works on NastySteel™ *LINK*
Re: Even works on NastySteel™
Re: Why Warren (and others) need tough chisels
Tool familiarity
ADMIN! Remember to play nice
As far as our reactions...
Mortising
Re: If you had to use bronze...
Making the use of available technology
Re: Why Warren (and others) need tough chisels
You really put it in perspective
Re: Why Warren (and others) need tough chisels
Re: Why Warren (and others) need tough chisels
We're nearing the threshold, Bill
Concretized?
Forget metal altogether
Re: Forget metal altogether
Gettin' crusty
Re: We're nearing the threshold, Bill
I agree
Re: I agree
Two choices Thom
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