Hand Tools Archive

Re: Weaver grind v/s Japanese feathering

David Weaver
sort of.

I hope my name doesn't get permanently attached to this!!

odate's book (I don't have copy in hand) talks about using this on overhard blades or when planing teak, though there may be some suggestion of actually making the charlesworth back bevel (there....look how I made that your name!!).

I've been rolling over the tips on chisels for years so that I can make the rest of the bevel smaller, but haven't really gotten carried away with where this has gone now at this point. For bill, it was just as toshio states, but I never liked the fact that there's a lot more resistance and sometimes it's enough to lose the clean finish on a surface (inside dovetails, especially on ash or something, who cares about the finish - and the wood is strong and dense enough that it won't crush between the pins).

What I've become somewhat needlessly fascinated with now is the ability to use this to change the geometry behind the tiny round over so that the total outcome is a chisel that actually feels and behaves sharper and still holds its edge better than a flat facet.

The fact that a full resharpening takes 30 seconds is nice, too, but applying it as such is probably not easy to describe to someone who is new to the hobby.

My thinking behind this probably comes more from japanese vegetable knives. If you do a very deliberate single grind all the way down to the edge on a thin japanese knife, it'll be otherworldly through vegetables or soft meat - it's like power steering feels in a car. But it'll be not long before you have some damage to relieve. You can continue to chase the bevel up to a point that it doesn't chip,but then if the whole bevel or a large microbevel is like that, the power steering feel is gone.

if you eliminate only the very tip of the blade where the damage first occurs, and replace it with a tiny rounded part, the damage doesn't occur and the feel isn't different or is only very minimally different from the edge that doesn't hold up. This is sublime, sharper than any steeled knife could possibly be (they just aren't hard enough, and if they were, they wouldn't be able to be steeled), and maintenance is literally sharpening a tiny bit every several months.

So, maybe this has a place in chisels. Which comes up because years ago, there was some old wives tailing on sawmill creek about how a 6" grinder couldn't make an edge that could be used for woodworking. There were a couple of folks missing nerve endings who really went on with this. At the time, I was using a 6" grinder - still am. I thought to ask then if anyone had ever seen a properly used woodworking chisel with a 6" grinder hollow, a microbevel or flat honed at the edge, and damage that went into the hollow.

no. nobody even tried to fib about that. Of course you can pry with a chisel or drop one and break the edge up into the handle. I've whacked the tiny rounded bevel shallow chisel like I proposed here hard enough to knock corners off of the chisel above the tiny rounding, but I was being a bad boy deliberately to see where this would occur. the proposal to make a conceptually strong (but unnecessarily so) bevel was to round over the whole thing so that in practical work it was even steeper than a typical flat bevel. Making an actual compromise (a drawback) to deal with an imaginary problem.

So, what bill has taken from this is the odate type mod - take the chisel whatever it already is and round the tip (that's good - it works well - hard woods, substandard chisels - no problem), but I'm in a rabbit hole after being somewhat surprised that a 20 degree primary, small 25 degree secondary and then a tiny deliberately buffed tip feels sharper (for everything - with less cut resistance than any flat bevel angle that I've ever used that's held up) and holds its edge better. in short, I'm chasing what I've seen on the knives, where the idea of some perfect apex right at the edge isn't really that important. And, in fact, this is much like a straight razor, where our razor settles into a very nice standard of performance once the strop and linen have dealt with the very tip - without doing much of anything to the bevel. Those who use a more aggressive abrasive on a razor need to go back to a stone more often to remove abrasion that went further than it should have into the bevel.

I cannot deny that at this point, it's more effective than anything I've done on stones if the objective is to use the chisel to do things like pare or any significant chopping (not prying, and it's not applicable for mortise chisels when you want to ride the bevel - still need the bevel to ride there,but if they don't hold up well, even there a tiny rounding (the odate thing) greatly improves their performance.

The feel is super lovely for dropping a chisel into a marked line and then paring waste. And it works well even if the chisel is a little bit substandard. less wedging in the cut, less accidental compression of the wood at or behind the marked line.

So that's all of the bits and pieces at once (easier cutting, less damage, less time to sharpen, etc).

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