Hand Tools Archive

What are traditional methods?
Response To:
The rest of the story ()

David Weaver
I'd imagine that what we're doing here wasn't that uncommon historically.

The trouble about arguing what's historical and what's not is trying to write off anything shown on a huge number of professionally used tools if those tools were used or made during a period where information was thin on the ground.

About five years ago, I received two different tools from different places:
1) a plane that had a very long primary and a neatly done secondary. It was rust free (no prior rust) and there was some patina on the sharpening job. I wrote it off as having been a site tool, maybe the user just wanted to be able to sharpen a lot of times before dealing with the full thickness of the blade.

I sharpened the plane as it was already set up and to my surprise, in heavy use, no damage to the edge occurred.

It was a curiosity but went back out of my mind.

2) a set of english tyzack chisels (probably early 1900s) from someone who appears to have worked doing lighter work. All of the chisels had a very long thin primary bevel and a neatly done secondary bevel.

I wrote it off as a curiosity again, but I'd imagine it was someone making drawers or doing some kind of repetitive operation.

Having the English market opened up to us initially (when ebay started to proxy packages from England) allowed me to get a whole bunch of tools that hadn't been abused since they were used professionally. Not similar to a lot of the beaters that had been sold by dealers here at higher prices, tools you'd find at flea markets or domestic tools used here where most were made after woodworking had already become a factory enterprise, one that went to changing process to lower the cost and skill of labor as fast as possible.

What we're doing here isn't likely to be very original. The performance of the chisels as set, though, is well above a flat bevel. Nothing is absolutely needed, but this is better just as micron diamonds create a better edge than any natural stone (more uniform, sharper and longer wearing).

Some of the things that I'd written off as anomalies (chisels that arrive neatly cared for with long bevels, etc) probably aren't really anomalies, and the idea that anything that doesn't show up in nicholson or roubo is just due to unskilled users is probably wouldn't stand up well in a world of more complete information.

Separately, I noticed today that a set of sash mortise sorby chisels (boxwood handles) came from the factory with the top rounded over. It's easy to tell on the set that's listed because again, some of the chisels are rounded over and have the same wheel or leather belt with loose grit (factory finish) from the tang to the bevel, while one of the chisels was more well used and the refreshed roundover is noticeably done on a hand stone.

It wasn't more than a couple of days ago that we heard that chisels weren't made this way from the factory.

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