Hand Tools Archive

Re: Terminology?
Response To:
Riding the bevel ()

Steve Voigt
Wiley, I'm sure you're doing it right, but I can't tell because your terminology is confusing the heck out of me. I don't know what "bevel down" means when the chisel is vertical. I don't know what side of the chisel is the "face;" I've never heard that term before. I'm not even sure what direction "forward" is in this context. Not trying to be dense, just don't get it.
I think the way Warren explained it is super clear. If you start the mortise at the near end, the bevel faces away from you. If you start at the far end, the bevel faces towards you. That's riding the bevel. The bevel creates a 60°-ish ramp that the chisel slides down, like a kid on a playground slide.
I think anyone who mortises without pre-drilling will land on this method. Follansbee flips the chisel around, but he also holds it at around 60°, so he gets the same geometry by different means.
The technique itself is rather basic. More interesting is learning to master the lever-and-flick that pops the waste free.

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